It was September 26, 1932 when Paul Walter and Rusk Haverfield opened Walter, Haverfield & Poe in the Leader Building located on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. The two had just met at their swearing-in ceremony a few months prior, and after hearing high remarks about Walter, Haverfield insisted they practice law together.
Although it was the height of the depression era, the firm soon became well-known for its public law practice. It handled matters at all levels of government.
In 1938, the firm began labor law representation, and by the mid-1940s, the firm and its attorneys represented more municipalities than any other firm in Northeast Ohio.
Throughout the 1950s, Walter Haverfield continued to build on its dependable reputation and relocated to the historic Terminal Tower, a 52-story landmark skyscraper situated in Public Square in downtown Cleveland. This change brought about an expansion to the firm’s practice areas, adding business, tax and real estate law.
Today, the firm, headquartered at Erieview Tower downtown, offers nine practice areas and includes 153 employees and 48 partners. Among those employees and partners are a tightknit group, hired by the co-founders and proudly still members of the Walter Haverfield team. They fondly remember Walter and Haverfield as opposites.
“Rusk Haverfield was infamous for enjoying a cigar while working closely with internal staff on financial matters while Paul Walter was the ‘original rainmaker’ for the firm,” said Todd Hunt, a Walter Haverfield partner who began at the firm more than three decades ago. “It was also a normal day at work when national, state and local politicians appeared at Walter’s office for his endorsement and advice.”
Walter relished being at the forefront of political and charitable issues within the community. He was a prominent fixture of the nation’s capital and worked with several U.S. presidents such as Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy on prominent matters. He also co-authored the Taft-Harley Act of 1947, which set out financial and political activity rules for labor unions.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Office of Price Administration Control appointed Haverfield, a Harvard Law graduate, to be the acting Cleveland-area rent director for its programs in 1945.
In 1992, 60 years after forming their partnership, Walter and Haverfield died within months of each other.
From the start, the pair stressed the importance of teamwork, and while the firm has transformed and expanded over the years, Walter and Haverfield’s collaborative spirit remains steadfast.
“As we reflect on our deep-seated Midwest roots, we are thankful for our founders and the integrity they infused into this firm 90 years ago,” said Ralph Cascarilla, managing partner of Walter Haverfield. “We now look forward to expanding our footprint with a strong sense of the firm’s core values.”
Since 1932, Walter Haverfield attorneys have served as strategic counselors to private businesses, public entities and high-net-worth individuals, providing creative and customized solutions that deliver outstanding results. Our track record has allowed us to sustain year-after-year growth, and in the past decade, we have doubled our size. Today, our team of nearly 90 attorneys is focused primarily in the areas of business services, real estate, intellectual property, labor and employment, education, tax and wealth management, hospitality and liquor control, litigation and public law.