Black McCuskey Celebrates 100th Anniversary
June 8, 2022
Black McCuskey is celebrating the firm’s 100th anniversary. For 100 years, the firm has been located in Stark County and has been committed to its economic development and enriching the quality of life of the community. Over the decades, many members of the firm have served as leaders of civic and charitable organizations. The tradition of service to the community established by the founders of the firm has continued through today.
“Witnessing this historic event is an honor for me,” says Bruce Soares, Managing Partner. “As we celebrate this year, we remember the founders of the firm and the attorneys and employees that have come before us. We continue to build on their success and thank our clients, partners, and friends who have supported us throughout the years.”
History of Black McCuskey:
The firm was founded in 1922. Clarence G. Herbruck, Homer E. Black, Emery A. McCuskey and Walter S. Ruff, all established practitioners, formed a new law firm under the name of Herbruck, Black, McCuskey & Ruff. Located in the George D. Harter Bank Building, one of the firm’s major business clients was Harter Bank as well as other companies in the steel, brick, and ceramic tile industries. After Mr. Herbruck’s sudden death in 1925, Loren Souers, also an established practitioner, joined the firm and it was renamed Black, McCuskey, Ruff & Souers.
In the 1920s, a six-member law firm in a city the size of Canton was quite unusual. Firms of that size were more common to large business and financial centers like New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. The size of the firm remained constant through The Great Depression of the 1930s. During this time, the viability and “staying power” of many commercial and professional institutions was severely challenged. The Harter Bank, a major client of the firm, was forced to close. Attorneys Homer Black, Emery McCuskey, Loren Souers, and Donald Merwin developed a plan to reopen the bank which became the subject of major litigation. The Ohio Supreme Court approved Black McCuskey's plan and the success of The Harter Bank Holding Company case was a benchmark in the recovery for Canton and Ohio.
The firm continued to grow during the 1940s. Four of the attorneys, Richard McCuskey, Loren Souers, Jr., Dan Belden, and E. Robert Schellhase entered military service during World War II. At the conclusion of the war, Souers, Belden, and Schellhase returned to the active practice of law with the firm. McCuskey remained in Europe and served as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg war crimes trials before returning to the firm. The firm name changed to Black, McCuskey, Souers & Arbaugh in 1940 after the death of Ruff. This change recognized the contributions of Albert Arbaugh, who was an attorney with the firm from its beginning.
By the early 1950s, the corporate practice area began to grow and by the 1970s Black McCuskey was an established corporate law firm. In the 1980s and 1990s, the firm merged with two other law firms to expand the commercial and real estate practice areas and extend its footprint into Tuscarawas County.
Today, a full-service corporate law firm, Black McCuskey continues to serve Stark County as well as national and international clients as it celebrates its 100th anniversary.