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Nutter Recognizes the 100th Anniversary of Founding Partner Louis Brandeis’s Nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court

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Today, January 28, 2016, is the 100th anniversary of the nomination of Nutter’s co-founder, Louis D. Brandeis, to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Woodrow Wilson. Brandeis took his seat on June 5, 1916, serving with distinction until February 13, 1939. One of the most influential legal luminaries in history, Brandeis practiced law at our firm for 35 years and is renowned for his commitments to justice, pro bono, and civil liberties.

The origins of Nutter trace back to the close friendship between Brandeis and Samuel D. Warren at Harvard Law School. Both were members of the Class of 1877. Brandeis graduated at the age of 20, achieving the highest grade average ever recorded despite never attending college. Warren achieved the second highest average in the Class of 1877. Upon graduation, Brandeis spent a year studying at Harvard and subsequently began practicing law in St. Louis. Warren wrote Brandeis multiple letters urging him to return to Boston and establish a law office together.

On July 29, 1879, Brandeis was admitted to the Massachusetts bar and formed the partnership with Warren, originally called Warren & Brandeis. Together they wrote “The Right to Privacy,” one of the most famous law articles in history. Their firm advised clients in the mercantile and manufacturing industries. As the firm’s reputation grew, it became necessary to augment their capabilities. By the end of 1890, the firm had five lawyers, including George R. Nutter, whom Brandeis called “my first lieutenant.” The firm continued to expand in the 1890s and became known as one of the foremost law offices in Boston.

January 1, 1897 marked a new chapter in the firm’s history, for on that date its name was changed to Brandeis, Dunbar & Nutter. During this time Brandeis became dedicated to issues of reform. Hailed as the “People’s Attorney,” he served as unpaid counsel on behalf of numerous causes, including championing minimum wage and maximum hour laws, bringing legal protections to industrial laborers, helping to create the Boston subway system, and leading the opposition to the New Haven Railroad’s monopoly of transportation in New England. The “Brandeis Brief,” which he introduced when defending an Oregon law establishing wages and hours for women laborers in 1908, pioneered combining law and scientific evidence. Brandeis took on fewer regular office cases during this time, with the Brandeis, Dunbar & Nutter era coming to a close when he was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Louis Brandeis epitomized the highest standards of professional excellence, dedication to providing clients the very best legal counsel, and commitment to public service. Nutter is privileged to uphold his esteemed example. This distinguished history sets the tone for how we practice law and serve our clients to this day.

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