Jackson law firm celebrates 150 years of service

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Jackson’s oldest continuously operated law firm, Marcoux, Allen, Bower, Nichols & Kendall, P.C. (Marcoux Allen), is marking its 150th year of service to businesses and families in Jackson and the surrounding communities.

The firm was founded in 1867 by Thomas A. Wilson, one of Jackson’s leading citizens of the latter half of the 19th century, for whom the T.A. Wilson Elementary School, now known as T.A. Wilson Academy, was named. Wilson began a long tradition of community service with the firm and served on the boards of several community institutions, including the then new W.A. Foote Hospital and The Jackson Patriot newspaper.

Wilson drafted the Last Will and Testament of Ella Merriman Sharp, which left her family farm to the City of Jackson, and which would later become the Ella Sharp Park and Ella Sharp Museum. Wilson also served as executor of her estate. More than 50 years later, firm attorneys would be instrumental in the creation of the Ella Sharp Museum and continue to serve on its board today. Firm attorneys have served on the boards of Henry Ford Allegiance Health, the Jackson Community Foundation, the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, the Michigan Theatre, the Ella Sharp Museum, the American Cancer Society, Boy Scouts of America, and a host of other community nonprofits and cultural institutions.

The firm grew to become Jackson’s largest business law firm and was instrumental in the creation and growth of many of Jackson’s leading businesses, colleges, universities, and cultural institutions. In 1939, Don T. McKone, one of the firm’s partners, assisted German immigrant Peter F. Hurst to set down roots in Jackson, raise capital, and form what would become known as Aeroquip Corp.

Many of the firm’s attorneys had distinguished careers in public service, including David W. Kendall, who served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and Special Counsel to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and legendary attorney Maxwell F. Badgley, who served as president of the State Bar of Michigan from 1962-63.

The firm is now informally known by the names of two former partners, William J. Marcoux, who joined the firm in 1953 and retired after 54 years of distinguished legal service, and William O. Allen, who died in 2016 at the age of 91, after a sterling legal career. Other noted attorneys who have retired from the firm include John H. Schomer and William B. Nichols Jr., who retired at the end of 2016 after 45 years of distinguished service as an estate planner.

Marcoux Allen President Diane Y. Bower was the first female attorney to join the firm, beginning her legal career at Marcoux Allen in 1981. A University of Michigan Law School graduate, Bower has led the firm for many years and represents area businesses, colleges, universities, and municipalities, providing a wide range of legal services. Firm clients include Consumers Energy and many area banks, manufacturers, farms, colleges, and universities. In 1999, the firm expanded through an “of counsel” association with the members of another storied Jackson law firm, Bullen, Moilanen, Klaasen & Swan, P.C. and later associated with the Jackson firm of Aymond, Lozier & Arora, PLC and the Hillsdale firm of Parker, Hayes & Lovinger, P.C.

The firm is headquartered in downtown Jackson and also serves clients throughout southern Michigan from its offices in Ann Arbor and Hillsdale.
 

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