History

BakerHostetler was founded in 1916, when our three founding partners each deposited $500 into a firm account. Today, we have more than 900 partners and associates contributing to the success of our clients. The values they share are the same ideals on which our firm was founded: love and respect for the law, respect for each other, and the courage to make hard decisions on the basis of what they know to be right.

Newton D. Baker made one of those difficult decisions when he decided to take a leave of absence from the firm that he co-founded and accept the request of President Woodrow Wilson to serve as Secretary of War during World War I.

Before Baker would return from the War, the firm initiated its representation of two long-standing media clients, The Plain Dealer Publishing Company and The E.W. Scripps Company. Notable clients that soon followed and continue to be served by our firm include the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, now operating as Major League Baseball. Also in our early decades, BakerHostetler not only attracted notable clients but also high-profile cases, including:

  • The "Chicago Water Steal Case" involving 13 states in a dispute over the diversion of enormous quantities of water from the Great Lakes by the Chicago Sanitary District.
  • Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty, a zoning case, that opened the way nationally for widespread zoning.
  • The reorganization of the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs.
  • Nearly 20 years of involvement with litigation on behalf of various groups of private utilities attacking the New Deal legislation which established public power projects, the most famous of which was the TVA case.
  • The first newspaper joint operating agreement (JOA), which was between two Albuquerque, N.M., newspapers.

Included among the “firsts” for media companies later represented by BakerHostetler is the international licensing of popular United Feature Syndicate property PEANUTS® in more than 100 countries. Lawyers with our firm have not only counseled media companies on such global matters, but also represented clients attracting worldwide media attention in "Watergate," "Pentagate," and Iran-Contra cases.

Today, we help our clients navigate increasingly complex issues such as defending challenges to their international trade rights, safeguarding intellectual property, and maintaining corporate compliance standards. Please take a few moments to tour bakerlaw.com and learn more about our firm's commitment to the continued success of our clients.