The story of McGinnis Lochridge is a multi-generational tale stretching back 90 years. It’s a true Texas legend, telling of client relationships that stretch back decades, developed through hard, honest work by dedicated attorneys. Our longevity speaks volumes about the quality of legal services we offer and the depth of the commitment and trust between our lawyers and clients.
After 90 years in business, our story is far more than just a list of notable cases.
In 1927, Judge Ben Powell opened his Austin law office. A few years later, he joined forces with Texas State Senator Alvin Wirtz. The two shared a sincere devotion to their clients, dedication to the highest ethical standards and enthusiasm for mentoring younger lawyers. Their earliest clients were involved in oil and gas, water, electric power, governmental relations and construction. All these years later, these original practice areas are still a vital and strong part of the firm. While running the firm, Judge Ben Powell served as President of the Texas Bar Association and oversaw its evolution into the State Bar of Texas. In a key early case, Senator Alvin Wirtz successfully defended Maury Maverick, then mayor of San Antonio, against criminal allegations that he was buying poll taxes for Democratic voters.
As World War II was winding up and Alvin Wirtz took a leave of absence to serve as President Roosevelt’s Undersecretary of the Interior, the firm was left with a void in associates as well as leadership. Our next generation of leadership included Ben Powell, Jr. (Judge Powell’s son) along with masterful litigator Robert C. McGinnis and longtime South Texas attorney Lloyd Lochridge. Together, these esteemed attorneys re-invigorated the firm and solidified our reputation through matters such as the Prudhoe Bay case (McGinnis) and a dispute with the notorious oilman Clinton Manges (Lochridge). Gifted administrative lawyer Bill St. Clair and former partner Shannon Ratliff trained the firm’s growing pool of new associates, laying the groundwork for our future strength.
As our clients’ needs evolved through the 1950s and 1960s, the firm added experienced attorneys in many different practice areas. Former U.S. Congressman Joe Kilgore joined the firm, bringing along deep roots in South Texas and an unmatched combination of political contacts, business connections and legal skill. In the 1960s, Wade Spilman extended Kilgore’s work in the Texas legislature, representing our clients’ interests before the House and Senate and assisting the rest of the firm with any legislative matters.
In the early 1970s, Bill Bingham’s representation of the Austin Independent School District put the firm at the forefront of school desegregation in numerous matters. The cases were eventually settled to the satisfaction of all parties — preserving the quality of education in Austin and helping the city evolve for a new future. Our education practice continues to this day.
Through the rest of the 1970s and 1980s, the firm continued to expand. These years were marked by a substantial growth in complex business litigation. The firm handled many substantial and complicated cases for a variety of clients, from start to finish. As Austin boomed, the firm also developed a significant commercial real estate practice, a natural fit with our long involvement with municipal and state governments.
Over recent decades, we have continued to work in our core areas and have added new practice areas along with celebrated attorneys. The firm’s multi-generational leadership continued with arrival of Pat Lochridge, Campbell McGinnis, Shawn St. Clair and Dean Kilgore, whose fathers blazed the trails they walk in today. In the 1990s, we opened our Houston office to better serve the needs of our clients in oil and gas and other industries. Our litigation practice now includes plaintiff’s practice, driven by the work of Ray Chester, Carlos Soltero and Pat Lochridge.
Today, the attorneys of McGinnis Lochridge are more prepared than ever to help our clients meet the ever-changing needs of the new millennium. Whether a client has been with us for days or decades, they can rely on the depth of our experience and expertise. And we’re excited to see what’s next.