History

Overview

As one of the oldest law firms in Ohio, we are extremely proud of how our founders helped influence and shape our state’s government and economy. Over more than a century, the industries we serve have changed with shifting business trends. Throughout the years Marshall Melhorn lawyers have always valued one thing over all others: our clients success.

Our firm was founded when Edwin Marshall, newly graduated from Cornell Law School, returned to Toledo in 1895 to establish what would become one of the premier law firms in Northwest Ohio. Competence and loyalty were the hallmarks of his practice. “Our desire to serve our clients is very, very much stronger than our desire for money,” he wrote in 1934 as he sent a modest invoice to a construction company whose business was devastated by the Depression. While the ensuing years have brought great changes to our practice, both in the diversity of our clients and the matters for which they engage our services, we maintain the same values of competence and loyalty in all that we do.

Our Story

The firm started with Edwin J. Marshall's entry into the practice of law in 1895, but the formation of his partnership with Harold Fraser in the following year remains a pivotal moment in the firm’s development. Over the next three decades Marshall and Fraser's "office" would become a leader in the practice of law in Toledo and northwest Ohio, in corporate, commercial and civil matters. In 1925, Marshall and Fraser dissolved their professional association, and with Donald F. Melhorn and other younger attorneys who remained with him in practice, Marshall then reorganized the firm, which has since carried the Marshall and Melhorn names.

In the 1930's and 40's the firm had an extensive practice in anti-trust matters affecting the U. S. glass and auto parts industries, and it saw the beginnings of its work in labor relations and employee benefits. The 50's, 60's and 70's brought additional growth in product liability and other personal injury defense work, and in the representation of hospitals and other non-profit entities. In 1985, a year after moving to its present Toledo quarters at Four SeaGate, the firm acquired an intellectual property practice by merger with a local patent-law firm.

Developments in the region's economy during the 1980's and 90's were reflected in a changing client base. No longer dominated by locally headquartered "Fortune 500" corporations, the firm's practice now extends to a broad range of commercial enterprises, non-profit institutions and public entities, as well as to individuals. In 2000, joining with lawyers already well established in medical malpractice defense representation, the firm acquired and has since further developed that practice. Other lawyers, specialists in business and tax law, joined about the same time, adding to the firm's expertise in commercial and real estate matters as well as in estate and trust services for individual clients. An office in Michigan, where a number of the firm's lawyers are admitted to practice, was established in Monroe in 2002, and the firm has since added offices in Findlay, Ohio and Southfield Michigan.