Where it all began
Edgar Liberty Wood and Lawrence A. Olwell graduate from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Wood is likely a member of the UW Law School Whisker Club.
The Chicago connection
William McIlvaine joins John P. Wilson in the Chicago firm of Wilson & Moore. (Wilson & McIlvaine would eventually merge with Quarles & Brady.)
Lawrence Olwell joins Quarles Spence Quarles (QSQ) in Milwaukee. The Quarles are Joseph and brother Charles. Joseph would become a U.S. Senator and federal judge; Charles is president of the board of the school directors of Milwaukee, as well as a highly-involved member of the Humane Society and the Yacht Club. Louis Quarles is Charles’ son.
Getting to work
Edgar Wood sets up his practice in Milwaukee. His first job as a newly minted attorney is drawing up a will for a local jeweler. The fee is 50 cents.
A prominent appointment
Edgar Wood is appointed by Mayor David S. Rose as a member of the Milwaukee City Service Commission. He is the youngest person appointed to this post at the time.
The win goes to
Edgar Wood represents Von Sprecklesen against Chain Belt Company (Rexnord) which is represented by Quarles Spence Quarles. The Circuit Court gives the win to Wood’s client.
Then there were five
Milwaukee has many justices of the peace but only 5 judges — one each for circuit, superior, county, district and municipal.
In the 1900s, there is no income tax, FDA, labor relations board, worker’s compensation, railroad or public service commissions.
A man of letters
Louis Quarles graduates with a degree in literature from the University of Michigan. He studies Greek, Latin, physics and chemistry. After graduation he works in the law office of his father and uncle, Quarles Spence Quarles, sitting for the Wisconsin bar in 1908.
Making the case
While working in his father’s office, Louis Quarles handles cases in Justice Court which does not require those appearing to be lawyers. Many of the early cases are between farmers and landlords over sharecropping agreements; the court limit is $200.
Louis Quarles branches out as Lines, Spooner, Ellis & Quarles. His brother, Charles B. Quarles, is part of the firm. In 1917 the firm becomes Lines, Spooner & Quarles.
A growing reputation
The office of Lines, Spooner, Ellis & Quarles is in the 710 Pabst Building, 110 E Wisconsin. The firm is counsel for Central Leather Co., Green Bay & Miss. Canal Co., Pabst Brewing Co., and Standard Accident Ins. Co.
A long alliance
Edgar Wood is named General Counsel and a director of Chain Belt Company (Rexnord) in 1912 and remains so until 1957.
Lines, Spooner, Ellis & Quarles successfully defend Horlick’s Malted Milk in an unfair trade practices suit regarding the “original and only genuine malted milk.” Local newspapers tout that the case promises “to develop into one of the hottest contested pieces of infringement litigation ever docketed in the United States tribunals.”
Brady sets his stamp
Bernard V. Brady attends Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee and is admitted to the Wisconsin Bar. In 1917, he is drafted into WWI.
Keeping it together
Olwell receives a patent for a one-handled briefcase that does not require a buckle to keep the flap in place, “thereby lightening the device, cheapening its construction, enlarging its stability and simplifying the method of opening and closing.”
Lawrence Olwell, Paul Durant and Bernard Brady form Olwell, Durant & Brady and take up residence in the Railway Exchange Building at the corner of Broadway & Wisconsin, in Milwaukee.
Sharp dressed men
At Wood, Warner & Tyrrell, decorum is emphasized. Edgar Wood requires that vests and coats be worn at all times, even in summer. Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon are “motion days” where motions are set and heard.
Formalizing the firm
Wood, Warner & Tyrrell is established. The firm operates out of the 404 Security Building at 209 Grand Avenue, in Milwaukee.
No gamble with Gimbel’s
Lines, Spooner & Quarles successfully represent Gimbel Brothers, the well-known department store, in a slip and fall case before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Louis Quarles secures a judgment of $600,000 for inventor Neils A. Christenson and Allis-Chalmers Co. in a patent infringement suit over an air brake design. The judgment halts litigation spanning 26 years.
Winner winner chicken dinner
President Roosevelt’s policies spur new business. The emphasis on workers’ rights propels one of the first Milwaukee strikes at Sperry Candy Company, a client of Edgar Wood and famous for their Chicken Dinner candy bar. Wood’s firm helps to bring company and strike leaders together and settle the dispute.
A notable honor
Bernard Brady is appointed to the Wisconsin Bar’s Board of Governors.
Louis Quarles “cleans up” for a client after a six-year soap science patent infringement battle, obtaining a $5 million settlement for Colgate Palmolive Peet, manufacturer of Super Suds laundry soap.
We go way back
Lines, Spooner & Quarles file the Articles of Association for W.H. Brady Co., now a multimillion-dollar company.
A chapter closes
Lawrence Olwell dies. Attorney William A. Hayes describes him as a “man of originality, a resourceful man, an energetic man peculiarly adapted to the law.” He is also remembered as “a man of dignified and courtly bearing and an immaculate dresser…”
Supporting the war effort
In an action reflective of wartime, Brady appears before the Wisconsin Assembly Judiciary Committee on behalf of Briggs & Stratton Corporation to support legislation offering tax incentives to Wisconsin companies building new plants for defense contracts.
Strengthening railroad ties
Wood, Warner & Tyrrell continues to forge strong partnerships. They serve as local counsel for respected companies including Pennsylvania Railroad Co.; Chicago Northshore & Milwaukee Railroad Co.; Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co.; and New York Life Insurance Co.
A case of foreshadowing
Louis Quarles of Lines, Spooner & Quarles and Bernard Brady of Olwell & Brady are co-counsel in a Wisconsin Supreme Court case involving a trust and estate issue. They win the case. It is their only appellate case together.
An eye for intel
Richard Cutler (who joins Brady’s firm in 1954 and remains through 1987) serves in WWII as a combat intelligence officer. Shortly after the war he works to recruit former German spies to gather information on the Russians as the Cold War begins.
Honest work, honest wage
Wood, Warner, Tyrrell & Bruce has no established hourly rates. Attorneys keep track of times and then decide the fee.
Five’s the charm
Olwell & Brady merges with Wood, Warner, Tyrrell & Bruce to become Wood, Brady, Tyrrell and Bruce. The firm has 12 attorneys. (Olwell & Brady had rejected offers from four other firms to merge.)
Quarles, Herriott & Clemons operate in the John Mariner building at 411 E. Mason, in Milwaukee. Wood, Brady, Tyrrell & Bruce are nearby at the Monroe Building at 756 N. Milwaukee.
Showing their muscle
Quarles, Herriott & Clemons successfully represent General Electric Company’s X-Ray Department in a labor and employment appeal before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
A continuing presence
Edgar Wood dies at the age of 89, but his often said phrase is long remembered: “You never can tell what you can do until you try.”
Quarles’ firm has the largest patent law section and municipal bond counsel group in Wisconsin.
Brady’s firm is well recognized for its estate planners, statewide municipal law practice and general corporate work.
Deeply committed to community
Louis Quarles is highly committed to the community and helps to establish the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) following the school’s separation from Marquette University (MU). Louis had been a director at the MU medical school since 1923. He continues in that role as it becomes MCW. Louis’ involvements also include serving as a trustee of Milwaukee-Downer College, trustee emeritus of Lawrence University and honorary director of Milwaukee Country Day School.
Earning his stars
Another of Louis’ passions is his 46-foot ketch, the Quaviver, built in 1936. At the Milwaukee Yacht Club, because of his long service there, he is known as “The Commodore.”
The firm evolves
Brady, Tyrrell and Bruce becomes Brady, Tyrrell, Cotter & Cutler.
Making his mark
Charles Quarles, Louis’ brother, dies in 1968. He served as president of the Legal Aid Society of Wisconsin for many years and was a past president of the Wisconsin Service Association. During his time at the University of WI, he held the record (albeit briefly) in high hurdles.
Harvey Streich is a founding partner in Streich, Lang, Weeks, Cardon & French, later to become Streich Lang. (Streich Lang would later merge with Quarles & Brady.)
Six decades of legal service
Louis Quarles dies at the age of 89, after a 64-year career in law. He served on 52 directorships during his career including Allen-Bradley (Rockwell), Northwestern Mutual Life, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee Road, Marshall & Ilsley Stock Corp., Oil Gear Co., and Kimberly-Clark Corp. He was also a director of the Allen-Bradley Foundation and the Allis-Chalmers Foundation.
Anne Unverzagt is the first woman hired at Quarles, Herriott, Clemons, Teschner & Noelke.
The new era begins
Quarles & Brady forms. Attorney Jim Urdan created the original Partnership Agreement for the merger of Quarles, Herriott, Clemons, Teschner & Noelke (45 lawyers) and Brady, Tyrrell, Cotter & Cutler (25 lawyers), although the two offices don't share one space until 1979.
John W. Daniels Jr., Harvard Law graduate, is the first attorney hired by the newly merged firm of Quarles & Brady. He is also the first African-American hired by the firm.
Bernard Brady dies at the age of 85, after practicing law for 53 years. His directorships included those with Ladish Co., Briggs & Stratton Corp., Wehr Steel Co., and Lakeside Bridge & Steel Co. He also served as general counsel for Old Line Life Insurance Company of America. He was known as a man who loved the law, intellectual challenge, and order.
Bringing water to the Supreme Court
Attorney Elwin Zarwell of Quarles & Brady argues a Clean Water Act case in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the City of Milwaukee and wins.
Making a move
The Milwaukee office moves to its present space at 411 E. Wisconsin Ave. The move includes 2,500 shelves of law books, 9,000 cartons of paperwork and 100 trailer loads of furniture.
Expanding to meet clients’ needs
The firm opens an office in Naples, FL. This is followed by the opening of offices in Madison, WI (1983) and Phoenix, AZ (1988).
Shining a light
Quarles & Brady unveils its present-day logo. The logo and its colors get press as they are seen as novel for a law firm.
A new house
Anthony Earl, former WI governor, joins the firm.
A strong bench
Quarles & Brady now has 211 attorneys.
The White House is calling
Quarles & Brady attorney Walter White, Jr., a former WI securities commissioner, is appointed by the White House to head the new Asian-American Enterprise Fund in Kazakhstan in Central Asia.
Quarles & Brady celebrates 100 years!
Welcoming the Windy City
A Chicago office opens following a merger with the 27-attorney firm Wilson & McIllvaine.
Merger in Arizona
The firm merges with Streich Lang PC, adding 99 attorneys and a Tucson office to the Arizona offices, and bringing the firm to 150 attorneys in Arizona (Arizona’s second-largest law firm) and a total of 450 attorneys nationally.
Valuing perspectives and experiences
Quarles & Brady’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee forms.
A new direction in leadership
Fred Lautz becomes the firm’s first managing partner following the unexpected passing of firm chair Pat Ryan. Ryan, who once tried out for the Chicago White Sox, was known as a top corporate lawyer and a man deeply committed to community service.
A sign of the times
Quarles & Brady sits high on the Milwaukee skyline with its new sign.
A proud milestone
John W. Daniels, Jr., a renowned real estate and business attorney, becomes chair of Quarles & Brady, the first African-American to hold that position at the firm.
Continuing to grow
The firm opens an office in Tampa, FL. This is followed by the opening of offices in Washington, D.C. (2012), Indianapolis, IN (2014), and Scottsdale, AZ (2014).
Leading the way
Kimberly Leach Johnson, a well-respected trusts and estates attorney, becomes chair of Quarles & Brady, the first woman to hold that position at the firm.
A legacy of service
Dedicated to community service, the firm logs over 23,100 pro bono hours.
The firm has over 500 attorneys and 500 staff members.
Positioning for the Future
Michael Aldana becomes Quarles & Brady’s new managing partner and immediately begins positioning the firm for 2025 and beyond.
New Leadership for Long-Term Growth
The firm announces a new national leadership structure, with Mike Aldana continuing as managing partner and Phoenix partner Brad Vynalek as president. The new structure is designed to enable the firm to build on its success in the years ahead.
Ranking high in 2019
Quarles & Brady is ranked #117 in the AmLaw 200 2019, gaining 10 spots since the 2015 ranking.
Among the best
Quarles & Brady is named among the “60 Best Law Firms for Women” by Working Mother and the ABA Journal for the ninth year since 2009, and is listed among the “Top 100 Law Firms for Women” by Woman Inc. in the magazine’s inaugural ranking.
Recognized as top tier
Quarles & Brady receives 10 recognitions as a 2020 “Best Law Firm” by Best Lawyers and U.S. News Media Group in the National Tier 1 category; and was named “Law Firm of the Year” in Franchise Law for the second year in a row.