SQUIRE, SANDERS AND DEMPSEY, born out of a partnership formed in 1890, is a Cleveland-based law firm with a national reputation in corporate and municipal law. One of the few major local law firms operating under its original name, in 1994 its practice included international, environmental, labor, and public LAW. Employing over 320 attorneys, it maintained offices in Washington, DC, New York, Columbus, Miami, Phoenix, and Brussels in addition to Cleveland, and had one of the largest group of trial lawyers of any American firm.
ANDREW SQUIRE, WILLIAM B. SANDERS, and JAMES H. DEMPSEY constituted the founding trinity of what is often referred to as Cleveland's oldest law-firm partnership, and Ohio's largest. Squire maintained numerous local and state political connections; Sanders drew prominence through his work with the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART and his opposition to Mayor TOM L. JOHNSON's plan for municipal control of Cleveland's traction lines; and Dempsey, Squire's partner in Estep, Dickey & Squire (the firm predating Squire, Sanders & Dempsey), managed the firm's everyday affairs.
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey experienced tremendous growth during the industrial age, when large corporations and giant mergers were the order of the day. At one time it handled nearly all of the municipal bond work in Ohio. In 1967 the firm merged with McAfee, Hanning, Newcomer, Hazlett & Wheller, making Squire Sanders the largest law firm in Ohio, with 115 lawyers. In 1976 it opened its first foreign office, in Brussels. In 1986 a single partnership united all offices, and the firm was directed by a 7-member management committee elected by the partners. Squire, Sanders & Dempsey became enmeshed in controversy in 1975 when, as bond counsel for the City of Cleveland, it faced a conflict-of-interest situation: it also represented CLEVELAND ELECTRIC ILLUMINATING CO. (CEI), which then had problems with the Cleveland Municipal Light Plant. As a result, the firm ceased representing the city as bond counsel.
In 1995 Squire, Sanders & Dempsey employed 150 attorneys locally and 350 worldwide. Offices besides those in the U.S. are maintained by the firm in Prague, London, Moscow, the Slovak Republic, Budapest, Ukraine, and Kahzakstan.
Gibbon, Ralph. A Century of Change: Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (1990).