Dec 11, 2018

Eastburn and Gray Since 1877: From Solo Practitioner to Leaders in the Field

The Legal Intelligencer, December 11, 2018

By: Thomas F.J. MacAniff

Eastburn and Gray’s origins date back to Aug. 14, 1877, when Hugh B. Eastburn was admitted to the Bucks County Bar. Hugh B. Eastburn served as district attorney of Bucks County from 1885 to 1888 while he continued his private practice. His son, Arthur M. Eastburn Sr., graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1911 and subsequently, the father-son team practiced law together until Hugh’s death in 1915. Arthur Eastburn Sr. would serve as district attorney of Bucks County from 1926 to 1938 while maintaining his legal practice.

In 1938, Samuel S. Gray Jr. joined Arthur Eastburn Sr. and the firm name changed to Eastburn and Gray. In 1941, Gray left the office for active duty with the 28th Infantry Division, eventually rising to the rank of colonel. He saw combat in the European Theater and served as a military governor until 1946 when he returned to Doylestown to practice law. Gray would go on to serve as the solicitor of Bucks County from 1960 to 1970.

After serving in World War II, Arthur M. Eastburn Jr. joined his father and Gray at the law firm in 1946. Eastburn Jr. became a preeminent trial lawyer. He also specialized in estate planning and trust and estate administration. By 1972, the firm doubled in size and the firm and its members practiced in the five-county Philadelphia area Court of Common Pleas including County Orphan Courts and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Eastburn Jr. and Gray continued to practice together until they both retired in 1977.

Between 1977 and 2008, Bucks County saw substantial population growth and Eastburn and Gray grew with it. During this time, the firm grew from 11 to 27 practicing attorneys. William H. Eastburn III led the firm’s growth, and became chairman of the firm’s management committee in 1977. He was skilled and comfortable both in and out of the courtroom, and represented national and local corporations and individual clients. He was well known in the central Bucks community. One of the most significant changes that occurred during this time was a shift from a general practice to a more focused, specialty-based practice.

Today, Hugh’s great-grandson, D. Rodman Eastburn, serves as the president and chief operating officer of Eastburn and Gray. Hugh’s great-great grandchildren Sarah A. Eastburn and Mark D. Eastburn, practice with the firm, making it a 141-year old institution. Many of the firm’s current shareholders have made substantial contributions to the vitality and growth of the firm including John A. VanLuvanee, Thomas F. J. MacAniff, Derek J. Reid and Marc D. Jonas. In 2017, the firm celebrated its 140th anniversary and the firm continues to thrive because of the next generation of attorneys who are preparing to see the firm into the future.

A solo practitioner founded Eastburn and Gray. Today, the firm has grown to an operation that includes 33 practicing attorneys, 24 support staff, more than 15 different areas of practice, two office locations in two different counties, and a team of lawyers who routinely represent clients throughout the commonwealth and New Jersey. Attorneys from Eastburn and Gray have represented clients in federal and state courts across the country. The firm’s current roster of clients includes local, regional and national corporate clients, limited liability corporations and partnerships. Many of the firm’s individual clients are multigenerational; likely a result of the firm’s commitment to fostering longstanding client relationships. The firm has significant experience in business and corporate law and related transactional representations, land use and zoning, real estate, trust and estate administration, estate planning, taxation, litigation, employment law, construction law, bankruptcy, municipal law, school law and family law.

Eastburn and Gray has always encouraged participation of its attorneys in the affairs of the communities where they live and work. The diverse interests of our attorneys are reflected in their leadership positions in Bucks and Montgomery counties cultural and civic organizations and significant community institutions. Many of the firm’s practitioners currently or previously served in leadership positions in local and state bar association activities. Eight Eastburn and Gray attorneys previously served as president of the Bucks County Bar Association during their tenure with the firm.

The Legal Intelligencer has served this firm well. For many years, The Legal Intelligencer was a primary resource for the dissemination of legal industry news to the five county Philadelphia metropolitan area. The newspaper is critical in providing news from the commonwealth’s major legal markets including Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. For 175 years, legal practitioners have depended on the published information for the benefit of their own practices.

Eastburn and Gray is grateful for the opportunity to share the story of our firm’s history and progression. Our firm is also especially thankful to the managers and reporters at The Legal Intelligencer for all that you afford your readership. Eastburn and Gray better serves our communities and our clients because of The Legal Intelligencer’s reporting on judicial updates, continuing legal education seminars, insightful information on law firm management, niche practice areas, practice management, trending practice areas and case law updates. We proudly congratulate The Legal Intelligencer on the publication’s 175th anniversary and wish the publication continued success for many more decades to come.

Reprinted with permission from the December 11, 2018 issue of The Legal Intelligencer. (c) 2018 ALM Media Properties, LLC. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

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