Joseph O. Procter 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. Despite a preference for “the comfort and congenial associations of home rather than the distractions of politics or monetary investments in enterprises which demand constant personal attentions,” Procter’s father built the family business into the largest handler of salt mackerel in the country.
A college classmate of Goodwin’s at Harvard, where Procter was class secretary, he went on to attend 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.
Both Goodwin and Procter had begun to establish themselves professionally when they reunited on State Street in 1912. They were certainly well-credentialed and had acquired valuable working experience, yet neither would be bringing an established practice or a roster of clients to the partnership. Both were venturesome men, though, and less than a month after their initial conversation, they opened shop on July 1, 1912 in a small suite on the fifth floor of the India Building at 84 State Street, with each contributing equally to the $1,000 start-up costs.
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