The following is a speech from Patriot-News Editor, Publisher and President John A. Kirkpatrick given at Nauman Smith’s Open House on March 30, 2005.
Thank you Craig, Mr. Mayor.
This is a real honor to be here this evening on behalf of everyone at The Patriot-News.
Like Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall, we are another local institution — and there aren’t many of us — that began its life in the Civil War era. We started just as the nation was caught up in the growing confrontation between its two very different halves: one free and the other practicing slavery. The law firm started 17 years later just as the healing process of our country began. And now we both find ourselves at the beginning of this new century looking forward. And thanks in many ways to the Mayor, doing it in an increasingly vibrant and dynamic region.
The other reason I am so honored is actually very simple. Or at least simple to say.
In our ongoing efforts to promote open access and open records at all levels of government, and to help shed light on the conduct of state and local officials, our friends at Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall have stood by our side step by step, year in and year out.
We know first hand that taking stands in these areas is not always a good way to win a popularity contest. In fact, it is usually quite the opposite. That is especially true in a community of our size. I can’t imagine it is a big help to a law firm like Nauman, which offers such an array of services to go toe to toe with some of the most powerful people or institutions in the state from time to time.
Nonetheless, all the people we have worked closely with here — Jack Sullivan, Craig Staudenmaier, Ben Dunlap, and the many others — have stood by us no matter how hard the pushback. They have always provided first class legal advice, first class practical advice, and have never once backed down from a difficult stand.
You don’t become the oldest law firm in a place like Harrisburg without strong core values, a willingness to do the right thing, a commitment to finding and keeping first class people, and without having incredible strength of character.
When the folks at Nauman describe their firm they talk about being committed to the excellence in the practice of law, providing thorough analysis of their client’s situations and offering creative and effective solutions. They specialize in unique and difficult matters that require creative analysis and hard work.
In each and every dealing, we have ever had with the law firm in general and the people who make it up in particularly we have found that to be the case.
That is why we are always proud to say we are represented by Nauman, Smith, Shissler & Hall.
On behalf of everyone at The Patriot-News I’d like to offer our congratulations on this special moment. And to thank you for all you have meant to us and to the community.