The Rest Of The Story
The legacy firms of Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC—Stoll, Keenon & Park and Ogden, Newell & Welch— have enjoyed more than a century as key contributors to legal and business communities in the state of Kentucky and beyond. The merger of these two highly respected firms in 2006 was a remarkable convergence of philosophies, cultures and practices that developed along parallel tracks since their inceptions.
Our history begins in 1897 when a recent Yale University graduate named Richard C. Stoll opened a solo practice in Lexington. The following year, attorney Bernard Flexner opened his practice in Louisville. Over the next two decades, both men established themselves as leading practitioners, honing their legal skills and broadening their clienteles. Then, in 1921, Stoll embarked upon what would be a distinguished ten—year career as a Circuit Judge. In Louisville, Flexner’s practice had grown to the point that, in 1923, a bright young Harvard Law graduate, Squire Ogden, joined him.
By the early 1930’s, Judge Stoll had retired from the bench and co-founded the firm Stoll, Muir, Townsend & Park. Squire Ogden was fast becoming one of the Louisville’s’s most respected legal counselors as a partner in Gordon, Laurent, & Ogden.
During those early years, professional ties were forged with some of the clients Stoll Keenon Ogden is proud to represent today, companies like Brown-Forman Corporation, Keeneland Association, Kentucky American Water Company and Kentucky Utilities Company. A mark of the staying power of our firm has been its continuing relationship with these and many other clients as we have grown side by side with them across the decades. The year 1948 was one of reorganization for both the Stoll and Ogden firms. The Ogden firm became Ogden, Galphin, Street & Abell; the Stoll firm merged with another Lexington firm to become Stoll, Keenon & Park, the name it held until 2006.
Expansion was the dominant theme of the next 20 years. Each firm grew in terms of office space, personnel, and areas of influence. In 1973, the Ogden firm moved to 1200 One Riverfront Plaza in downtown Louisville and, a year later, the Stoll firm relocated to the new First Security National Bank building at the corner of Main and Walnut in downtown Lexington.
In 1982, Stoll, Keenon & Park merged with the Frankfort firm of Johnson & Judy. The same year, the Ogden firm expanded its office space in One Riverfront Plaza. After another decade, the Ogden firm underwent a complete reorganization and took the name it held until the 2006 merger, Ogden, Newell & Welch. In 1993, Stoll, Keenon & Park established a presence in Louisville, opening a three-lawyer office that, by 2006, would grow to 25 attorneys. The latter half of the 1990’s saw both firms continuing their growth. In 1997, the Ogden firm moved its offices to the PNC Plaza building, where the merged firm’s Louisville offices are located today. In 2000, the firm Harper, Ferguson and Davis merged with the Ogden firm. One year later, the Stoll firm opened its Western Kentucky office in Henderson, giving it a true statewide footprint.
On September 30, 2005, the merger of Stoll, Keenon & Park and Ogden, Newell & Welch was publicly announced. This merger, successful due to the shared cultures and values of the two firms, would have been looked upon with approval and admiration by both Judge Stoll and Squire Ogden, whose commitment to the legal professional and their respective communities was unparalleled.
The lawyers who founded Stoll Keenon Ogden and its predecessor firms and those who maintained the stature of those firms over the decades were more than just great attorneys, though they were surely that. They were leaders who made a tangible difference in their communities, in our state and often far beyond. They cut a wide swath, much wider and more beneficial than if they had contented themselves with the mere practice of law. For example, over the years, ten of our attorneys either went on to become judges or practiced with the firm after leaving the bench. Among its members, the firm has counted nine legislators, one former governor, two former Cabinet secretaries, and a host of elected city, county, and school board officials. One of our attorneys served as Clerk of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, another as chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Kentucky for 30 years. Three were presidents of the Kentucky Bar Association; five were presidents of the Fayette County Bar Association; and five have served as presidents of the Louisville Bar Association.
One of our attorneys was a nationally recognized Abraham Lincoln scholar; another is credited as the creator of thoroughbred stallion syndications. One was the leader of a World War II OSS commando team. Another is the only American to win the prestigious International Grand Prix flying trophy. One of our attorneys had a career that included service, among other things, as a Kentucky State Representative, County Judge, County Attorney, Secretary of the Natural Resources & Environmental Protection Cabinet, Chair of the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals, Vice-Chair of the Public Service Commission, and Special Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court. In short, our firm history is not just one of service to clients, but one of distinguished service to communities in which we practice, the state and the nation.
Today, Stoll Keenon Ogden boasts more than 145 lawyers, practicing a spectrum of services from seven locations across Kentucky, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Our client list consists of major national and international companies, some of whom we have represented since the first half of the Twentieth Century. In the words of one of our long-time attorneys: “Two things have remained constant: The need of our clients for excellent legal service, and the ability of our lawyers to provide it.” In an ever-changing world, these constants represent the history of our firm and our commitment to the future.