On July 1, 1912, two promising young lawyers and former Harvard classmates opened a small law firm in the heart of Boston's financial district. Despite its modest beginnings, Goodwin Procter is now a leading national firm with nine global offices and more than 50 areas of legal expertise.
As Goodwin Procter approaches its centennial, join us as we celebrate the firm's founders.
Robert Eliot Goodwin was destined for a great legal career. The grandson of New Hampshire's 27th governor, and son of a dedicated lawyer and Boston University Law School professor, Goodwin was a precocious student who graduated from high school at age 17. As an undergraduate student at Harvard University, Goodwin was coxswain of varsity crew, earning him the nickname "Coxy." He received his law degree from Boston University, graduating summa cum laude in just two years.
After law school, Goodwin took his first job with Carver & Blodgett, a leading Boston admiralty law firm. After two years, he set out on his own, though he continued to work closely with his mentor, Eugene Carver. In 1907, Goodwin rejoined Carver as a junior partner in a new firm, where he practiced until co-founding Goodwin Procter in 1912.
Joseph Osborne Procter, Jr. hailed from Gloucester, a fishing town on the north shore of Massachusetts Bay. His father, and grandfather before him, owned and operated the Gloucester Mackerel Company, the largest handler of salt mackerel in the country.
Following his undergraduate studies at Harvard, Procter continued on to Harvard Law School, making law review in his second year. Upon graduating, he joined the firm that would eventually become Nutter, McLennan and Fish, later practicing at Fish, Richardson, Herrick & Neave. There he worked closely with Robert Herrick, a prominent and well-connected business leader in Boston, and traveled the country extensively on legal matters.
By 1912, Goodwin and Procter had impressive credentials and valuable experience, but neither man had established a solid practice or an independent book of business. Nonetheless, they were venturesome men who established a new firm just one month after a chance encounter on a Boston sidewalk.
Contributing equally to the firm's $1,000 start-up costs, Goodwin and Procter opened their firm on the fifth floor of the India Building at 84 State Street. Today, Goodwin Procter's Boston office is located only a few steps away from its original location.
Stay tuned throughout the year to learn about centennial events and initiatives across the country that will be open to Goodwin Procter alumni.