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HeplerBroom Celebrates Its 125th Year as a Law Firm

On July 1, 2019, HeplerBroom LLC held a celebratory luncheon honoring its 125 years of continuous existence.

The firm traces its history to 1894, when George D. and William G. Burroughs opened Burroughs & Bro. law firm in Edwardsville, Illinois. When current senior partners Larry Hepler and Gordon Broom joined the firm in 1971, 98-year-old Mr. George (as he was affectionately known then) still came to the office every day.

HeplerBroom’s co-founders, brothers George D. and William G. Burroughs

Gordon Broom noted that beginning in 1900 and continuing until 1969, George Burroughs kept a pocket diary in which he made a daily entry of his major activities of the day, his expenses, and his income. Burroughs’ daughter Josephine gave those diaries to Broom about 25 years ago, and they have been a rich resource for a written history of the firm that is slated to be published later this year.

From its two-lawyer beginning, the firm has grown to become one of the larger law firms in Illinois. Its nearly 110 attorneys offer legal expertise in 40 practice areas, with offices in four locations in Illinois—Edwardsville, Springfield, Chicago, and Crystal Lake—as well as an office in downtown
St. Louis, Missouri, and one in Hammond, Indiana. After numerous name changes over the years, in 2007 the partners decided to “brand” the firm by changing the name to HeplerBroom LLC, marking the first time in well over a century that the name “Burroughs” did not appear in the name of a law firm in Madison County, Illinois.

Over the years, the expertise and skills of the firm’s attorneys have been recognized in numerous ways. One of its early partners, Jesse Simpson, became a Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. In more recent years, two of its attorneys have served as national president of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, and one served as the national president of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel. The law firm has had ten of its members serve as state presidents of defense trial attorney associations in Illinois and Missouri, and a number have been chosen as fellows in highly selective national trial attorney organizations such as the American College of Trial Lawyers. One of its current partners was a former Director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, many of its attorneys are also regularly included in regional, national, and international lists of best attorneys. The law firm has received highest ratings from companies such as Martindale-Hubbell and U.S. News & World Report.

Many things in society and the law have changed in the last 125 years, but the law firm’s commitment to providing quality legal expertise and effective client service has remained a constant. As Troy Bozarth, current managing partner, stated, “These have been a great 125 years, and the future is good — because we care. I think George and William would be proud of what they started 125 years ago.”

Senior partners Larry Hepler (left) and Gordon Broom Managing partner, Troy Bozarth