Frederick B. Snyder and Robert Jamison graduated together from the University of Minnesota in 1881. Since there was no law school at the University, they "read" law in different law offices and studied together in preparation for the bar examination, which at that time was an oral examination conducted in open court. After passing the bar on June 24, 1882, Snyder and Jamison "hung their shingle" in the Bridge Square area, the triangle formed by Hennepin and Nicollet Avenues on the west side of the Mississippi River above St. Anthony Falls, and the law firm now known as Bassford Remele, A Professional Association, was formed.
Jamison was appointed Hennepin County District Court judge in 1893, and Snyder continued to practice, becoming one of the leading lawyers in the State of Minnesota. In addition to his thriving law practice, Snyder also made valuable civic contributions throughout his career, serving as a member of the Minneapolis City Council, the Minnesota House of Representatives and the State Senate. His most notable civic contribution was serving as Chairman of the Board of Regents at the University of Minnesota from 1914 until 1951.
Edward C. Gale became Snyder's partner in 1889 after graduating from Harvard Law School. An early biography describes Gale as having "reached an honorable position in the bar and in the regard and confidence of the bench and the bar and the citizenship of Minneapolis generally." His well-recognized civic contributions included serving as president of the Minneapolis Society for Fine Arts, and director of the Minneapolis Public Library.
Bergmann Richards joined the law firm in 1918. Also a graduate of Harvard Law School, Richards became an outstanding trial lawyer known for his great presence in the courtroom, trying over 1,000 cases during his career. He was a founder and later president of the Hennepin County Bar Association and also served as mayor of the Minnetonka Beach for many years.
In 1943, the firm of Snyder, Gale & Richards merged with the relatively new firm of Hoke, Cobb & Janes, which had just split away from the firm of Cobb, Hoke, Benson, Krause & Faegre. Although the newly established firm did not have a managing partner, Frank Janes gradually assumed a leadership role within the law firm. In addition to being a trial lawyer of great skill, Janes was a man of exceeding charm and responsible for many of the firm's important clients in his day. Many recognized Janes as the glue that held the firm together in its early years.
"Colorful" is probably the best way to describe Nathan Cobb, who quickly became Janes' closest partner. Cobb was a descendant of both Ethan Allen and General David Cobb who had served on George Washington's staff when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1929 after earning one of the few scholarships that were available in those days. With an uncanny memory of the law, Cobb was a lawyer's lawyer and a mentor to countless aspiring trial lawyers both inside and outside the firm. He later served as a prosecutor of Japanese war criminals in the Philippines and Japan after World War II before returning to the law firm.
Melvin D. Heckt joined the firm in 1950. Heckt went through the South Pacific with the United States Marines in World War II, later becoming an outstanding lawyer specializing in surety law. Throughout his career with Bassford Remele and today, Heckt continues to make great contributions to the community by providing many hours of pro bono service assisting families with disabled citizens.
Charles Addison Bassford ("Charlie") also joined the firm in 1950 after becoming the first graduate of the St. Paul College of Law (now known as William Mitchell College of Law). With his distinguished voice and calm manner, Charlie was unflappable in the courtroom. He became one of the first trial lawyers in Minnesota to be admitted to the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers. More than anything, Charlie was known as a gentleman who treated everyone with civility and dignity, traits which have transcended the more than 50 years since Charlie joined the law firm. Charlie's gifts were recognized when he became the first recipient of the Hennepin County Bar Association's Professionalism Award. He also served as the law firm's first president and chief executive officer.
Greer E. Lockhart initially joined the firm as a law clerk in 1952 and became a lawyer with the firm upon graduation from the University of Minnesota Law School. After first working as an appellate lawyer, Lockhart's exceptional trial skills were later recognized and he became the second lawyer at the firm to be honored as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Like his predecessors, Lockhart has been active in community service, serving as president of the Citizens League of the Twin Cities, and as president of the University of Minnesota Law Alumni Association. In 1979, Lockhart became the second president and chief executive officer of the law firm.
Lynn G. Truesdell, III and Jerome C. Briggs joined the firm in the early 1960's. Although very different from each other in their approach to trial practice, their peers recognized them as outstanding trial lawyers - Truesdell as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and Briggs as an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Kevin P. Keenan was an excellent trial lawyer whose leadership was invaluable to the firm. Keenan made great contributions to the defense bar through his involvement with the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association. He was respected by his colleagues for his civility and trustworthiness. Keenan served as an enthusiastic teacher and mentor to lawyers inside and outside the firm, many of whom have gone on to accomplish great success as lawyers and mentors to the legal community's "next generation" of attorneys. Keenan had a unique knowledge of the law firm's financial operations and served as its chief financial officer.
Traditions of Excellence: Today
The traditions of legal excellence that began more than 125 years ago continue today as Bassford Remele sets the highest standards for quality legal service and professionalism inside and outside the courtroom.
Lewis A. Remele, Jr. served as the law firm's fourth president and chief executive officer. Remele's many accomplishments include serving as the president of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Rebecca Egge Moos served as the fifth president and chief executive officer. Moos' accomplishments include serving as the president of the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association and the Minnesota Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. John M. Anderson served as Bassford Remele's sixth president and chief executive officer, and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Gregory P. Bulinski served as Bassford Remele's seventh president and chief executive officer. Bulinski also served as the president of the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association Diversity Implementation Task Force and the Minnesota Supreme Court Civil Justice Reform Task Force.
Today, Edward F. Fox serves as the law firm's chief executive officer. Fox is a member of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel and a Master of the Warren E. Burger Inn of Court. Bassford Remele includes:
The firm's litigation practice has expanded since the firm's early beginnings and clients now include Fortune 500 companies, insurance carriers, healthcare providers, professional organizations, non-profits, businesses of all sizes, and individuals.
Despite the firm's growth and evolution, the principles which formed the foundation of the law firm in 1882 have not been changed. Just as Snyder, Gale, Richards, Bassford and others set the highest levels of excellence in legal service and professionalism throughout the growth of the law firm, those who have followed their lead into the firm's 133rd year continue to live up to those highest of standards.