History

Today

MacDonald Illig has remained steadfast in our commitment to our clients for more than 100 years. Thanks to our loyal clients, dedicated attorneys and outstanding staff, our Firm has grown to over 40 attorneys and more than 100 employees.

1989

The Firm purchased two floors in the newly constructed building at 100 State St and moved to its present office.

1970's

The Firm continued to grow with the economy and the general expansion of legal services that nearly doubled during the 1970's. Eventually it expanded to three floors in the First National Bank Building and its roster of attorneys continued to grow.

1972

The Firm outgrew the Masonic Building and moves to the sixth floor of the newly constructed First National Bank Building at 717 State St, across the street from where it had started 75 years earlier. At this time, the Firm admitted John D. Wilson, John J. Stroh and Norman Stark to the partnership and changed its name to MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton.

1960's

The economic expansion following World War II heavily influenced the Firm during the 1960's when several new lawyers joined the Firm, including John J. Potter, John D. Wilson, John J. Stroh, Norman H. Stark, T. Warren Jones and Edward G. Goebel.

1950's

Irving Olds Murphy and Peter G. Schaaf joined the Firm, filling up the offices on the sixth floor of the Masonic Building.

1948

John Britton joins the firm. Mort Graham leaves to become general counsel for Hammermill Paper Company, one of the Firm's largest clients.

1940's

Henry MacDonald, Orson Graham and his younger brother Mortimer Graham, Frederick Jones and William Illig joined the Firm. The partnership became known as Gifford, Graham, MacDonald & Illig.

1920's

Shortly after the move to the Masonic Building, Attorney Rilling was appointed to the Pennsylvania Public Service Commission and moved to Harrisburg. A.O. Chapin and W. Pitt Gifford joined the firm. The Firm name became Gunnison, Fish, Gifford & Chapin. Their clients at this time included Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, Nickel Plate Railroad, United States Steel, Second National Bank and the William Scott Estate. Henry Fish became a leading corporate attorney, representing Hammermill, American Sterilizer and First National Bank.

1910

Gunnison, Rilling and Fish becomes the first tenant to occupy part of the top floor of the new Masonic Building at 8th & Peach. The Masonic Building was the first building in Erie to have a passenger elevator and the top floor was designed with a library in the center for the common use of several law firms located in the building.

1907

Judge Frank Gunnison, a former president judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, joins the partnership. The Firm name changed to Gunnison, Rilling & Fish. Their offices were located on the 2nd floor of 708 State St.

1897

John S. Rilling, a well-established estate attorney, and Henry E. Fish, a newly admitted lawyer, form a partnership known as Rilling & Fish. Ahead of their time, these men realized that by pooling their talents, they could better serve their clients.