Our firm was founded in 1942 by William (Bill) McAllister. He was a graduate of Willamette University, admitted to the Oregon Bar in 1928, and began practicing law in Medford in 1931. In the early years of his practice, he was a partner of George Roberts, a prominent Medford attorney. In 1937, he was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives where he served until 1944, and as Speaker of the House in 1943. Bill served in the Army during World War II in the European theater before being discharged with the rank of Major. He returned to Medford to resume his law practice and was elected to the Oregon Senate where he served during 1949 and 1950.
In 1948, Bill was joined in the practice by Robert (Bob) Duncan. Bob was a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and had been a Navy pilot during World War II.
Carl Brophy joined the firm in 1949. A graduate of the University of Oregon Law School, Carl had served as a Marine officer during World War II.
In the 1940s, the population of Medford was less than 20,000. Even by the late 1940s, there were only approximately 40 attorneys in the entire County. The firm was engaged primarily in a general civil practice; however, that was prior to the system of public defenders in Oregon, so all attorneys rotated in the handling of court appointments in criminal cases. This ran the entire gamut from shoplifting to first degree homicide. Compensation for court appointed attorneys was minimal, but the Bar accepted and diligently carried out that responsibility as a necessary part of our system of justice.
In 1951, Dewey Wilson, a graduate of the University of Oregon Law School, joined the firm. Dewey served in the Navy in World War II. He was followed in 1953 by William (Bill) Duhaime, also from the University of Oregon Law School. Bill had served in the United States Coast Guard.
In the 1950s, the firm had an extensive corporate and business practice, and an active involvement in litigation, particularly insurance defense. There was much less specialization then and, as a result, the firm handled a broad range of legal business, including plaintiffs' personal injury cases, domestic relations, labor law (including the negotiation of union contracts), matters involving water and mineral rights, public stock offerings and many other fields of practice that are now handled primarily by specialists. Virtually all appeals in cases tried by the firm were then, and are now, handled by members of the firm, rather than being farmed out elsewhere.
A Bedrock of Public Service
In August of 1956, Bill McAllister was appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court by then Governor Elmo Smith. Bill served as Justice on the Oregon Supreme Court from 1956 to 1976 and from 1959 to 1967 he served as Chief Justice. He retired from the Court on December 31, 1976.
Bill had an outstanding judicial career. In 1964-65, while serving as Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, he was recognized nationally by being elected Chairman of the National Conference of Chief Justices. One of Bill's most significant achievements on the Supreme Court was the program he initiated as Chief Justice to shorten the extensive delay that existed in some counties between the time of filing and the time of decision. His program included gathering and reporting statistics of cases filed, the length of time from trial to decision and assigning judges to areas of the state where dockets were lagging. All of those efforts greatly expedited the administration of justice in Oregon.
During his 20 years on the Court, Bill wrote 389 opinions, including Rockhill v. Pollard, 259 Or 54, 485 P2d 28 (1971), the Court's first case allowing a plaintiff to recover damages based on a defendant's intentional infliction of emotional distress. He also wrote the opinion in Sadler v. Oregon State Bar, 275 Or 279, 550 P2d 1218 (1976), which held that the legislature could authorize the disclosure of State Bar records without violating the separation of powers provision of the Oregon Constitution.
In November of 1956, when Bill was campaigning to retain his seat on the Oregon Supreme Court, Bob Duncan was in a race for election to the Oregon Legislature. He, too, won his election and in January of 1957, Bob commenced an outstanding career as a legislator in the Oregon House of Representatives, where he served as Speaker of the House in 1959 and again in 1961.
In 1962, Bob Duncan withdrew from the firm when he was elected to the United States Congress from the then Fourth Congressional District, where he served several terms. After leaving Congress, he returned to practice law in Portland, and later was again elected to Congress from the then Third Congressional District. After completing his congressional service, he affiliated with a Portland law firm, first in its Washington, D.C. office. He ultimately retired from law practice and returned to Oregon where he served on appointment by the Governor as a member of the Northwest Power Planning Council.
After Bill McAllister left for the Oregon Supreme Court and Bob Duncan left for Congress, the firm continued its practice in Medford under the name Brophy, Wilson & Duhaime, with Carl Brophy, Dewey Wilson, and Bill Duhaime as partners of the firm. The practice flourished and the firm expanded to handle the increased volume.
Decades of Sustained Excellence
During the latter half of the 20th century, Medford and Jackson County continued a rather steady growth, and the nature of the economy went through a transitional stage from an economy based primarily on agriculture and wood products to a more diverse economy that involved Medford as a service, retail, medical and, to some extent, legal hub for Southern Oregon and Northern California, with an increasing number of small manufacturing facilities and a growing tourist industry featuring outdoor recreation, theater, and wineries. This growth and transition also resulted in changes in the practice of law generally in the area and within the firm. With the advent of the public defender system, most private civil practitioners no longer engage in the practice of criminal law, and with the extensive growth of the body of law in all fields of law, lawyers have excluded from their practices many areas of law in which they had previously been involved. Many lawyers commenced emphasizing limited practice areas. Our firm has continued its general civil practice, including an active and diverse trial practice in all state and federal courts, and has been involved in many of the significant cases tried in Jackson County in the past 50 years.
The firm added more attorneys during the 1970s. Lee Mills, a graduate of Willamette University Law School, joined in 1975. Douglass Schmor, a graduate of Harvard Law School, joined in 1976. Tim Gerking, a graduate of Arizona Law School, who had first practiced in Arizona, joined the firm in 1979.
The 1990s ushered in even more growth. In 1990, Timothy Brophy, a graduate of the University of Oregon Law School and the son of Carl Brophy, joined the firm after practicing in Portland. Todd Maddox, a graduate of Willamette University Law School, joined the firm in 1991. David Paradis, a graduate of Willamette University Law School, who also first practiced in Portland, joined the firm in 1993. Mark Weaver, a graduate of Willamette University Law School, joined in 1996. Dominic Campanella, a graduate of the University of Oregon Law School, joined in 2004.
Dewey Wilson, who was actively involved in civic and Bar activities and whose practice emphasized business, estate planning and probate, retired as a firm member in 1989 and continued as counsel to the firm for several years.
Bill Duhaime also served the community and Bar in many capacities. His practice emphasized civil litigation, and he was involved in the trial of many of the significant civil cases in Southern Oregon during his career. Bill retired in 1992.
Carl Brophy retired as a member of the firm in 1998, but he continued as counsel to the firm until 2002. Carl was a member and Chairperson of numerous civic and Bar boards and committees, including service on the OSB Board of Governors, the Board of Directors of the Professional Liability Fund, the board of the Oregon Law Foundation, and the Board of Bar Examiners. In 1998, Carl was one of 24 Oregon lawyers who received the E.B. McNaughton Civil Liberties Award for their actions as volunteer lawyers in the civil rights movement in the South. For his tireless work, in 1999 the Oregon State Bar awarded Carl the Award of Merit, its highest honor.
Lee Mills served as President of the Bear Creek Greenway Foundation, and for his many years of dedicated service, he received the Oregon Parks Association Distinguished Service Medal in 1997. His Bar activities included membership on the Executive Committee of the Bar Debtor and Creditor Section. Lee retired as a firm member in 2009 and continued as counsel to the firm until 2011.
Tim Gerking served the Bar as a member of the Board of Governors. Tim is a past president of the Medford Rotary Club and was the president of the Peter Britt Gardens Music & Art Festival Association. In 2011, Tim retired from the firm after he was appointed by Governor Ted Kulongoski to serve as a Jackson County Circuit Court Judge.
Standing On Broad Shoulders
The current members of the firm are proud and privileged to have served their clients, the Bar, and the community in many significant roles, which are described here. Few law firms have had as many present and former members in leadership positions in Oregon's highest appellate court, the United States Congress, the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Bar's Board of Governors, and countless other boards, committees, and civic and nonprofit organizations. From state and national politics to the Oregon Bar and community service, the firm's members, past and present, have represented their clients and constituents with honor and distinction.
As we prepare for the future, we are reminded that tradition, integrity, commitment to excellence, and dedication to the cause of equal justice for all are among the hallmarks that have defined our firm during its seven decades of existence.
Brophy Schmor LLP, a firm steeped in tradition, yet prepared for the future.