Law Firm Earns Recognition

The Battle of Little Big Horn, two U.S. presidents and state Commonwealth Court all have a historical link to Harrisburg, and it’s a business.

The law firm of Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall was founded in 1871 and has been deemed “the oldest law firm” in Harrisburg. That designation was made last night by Mayor Stephen R. Reed at the law firm’s offices at 200 N. Third Street.

Reed recognized the firm for its contributions to the region, as well as for its historical connections:

  • In 1879, the law firm successfully defended Maj. Marcus Reno in the court inquiry into the conduct at Little Big Horn, where Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer was killed three years earlier. Reno, and another commander, had been split off of Custer’s forces and lived to tell his story.
  • In 1881, a founding partner served as the U.S. attorney general under President James Garfield.
  • In 1912, President William Howard Taft appointed John B. McPherson, a partner in the firm, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
  • In 1968, partner James S. Bowman was appointed the first president judge of state Commonwealth Court.

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