In 1966, the conception of TDH occurred at the most unlikely place: a bar in Quincy, Ohio called The Pines. Senior member of the Logan County Bar, Ed Thompson, sought the best young talent to join him in forming a new law firm. Thompson hailed Bob Dunlap and Tom Heydinger to a now legendary meeting at The Pines. West central Ohio’s pre-imminent law firm was born.
The evolution of the firm from that humble start is fascinating. But there has been one constant: TDH provides outstanding service to its clients. “We never lost sight of the objective: provide the best representation of our clients, no matter the challenge,” Heydinger recalls. “We wanted to be the best. And Ed [Thompson] kept us focused on that goal.”
The foundation of TDH was laid in the first decade. Thompson provided the opportunities for the younger lawyers through his high profile role representing and sitting on boards of local banks and other organizations. Dunlap and Heydinger provided the talent necessary to meet the firm’s clients’ ever growing needs. And Dunlap and Heydinger amassed their own respective client base.
Just like Thompson sought out the best talent a decade earlier, Dunlap and Heydinger pursued Indian Lake native, Rob MacDonald, who was first in his law school class, to join the firm in the mid-70s. MacDonald infused a new energy and optimism for the future of TDH. MacDonald expanded the firm’s real estate, estate planning & probate, business transactions and health care practices. A new generation was prepared to meet – and exceed – the challenges of a diverse and sophisticated client base.
“We didn’t always agree on how to practice law and manage the business,” MacDonald said, as he pondered those early days. “There were days that I couldn’t believe some of the things they [the founders] were doing or not doing.” The difference in personalities turned out to be a bonding agent for the future.
Ed Thompson died in 1977, and Mark O’Connor joined the firm in the late 70’s and was a partner until he became Logan County Common Pleas Court Judge in 1990 – a post he maintained for 26 years.
The 1980s saw continued success for the Firm and in the early 90’s Rushcreek township native, Dave Watkins, a partner with national law firm Arter & Hadden Ltd., joined TDH. Watkins brought a vision of growth and ambition. “It was clear to me that if we brought in the best young talent, we could grow the practice even more.”
New young lawyers were brought in to meet the growing demands of a successful law firm. Dane Hanna joined the firm to help stabilize TDH’s burgeoning real estate practice. Hanna said, “Rob was so busy in those days, and I seized the opportunity to meet the clients’ needs.”
In 1995, MacDonald was finally able to convince his best friend and longtime solo practitioner, Howard Traul, to join TDH. “I resisted for a long time,” Traul laughed, “but Rob pointed up the great advantages of joining forces.”
In 2000, TDH plucked another highly talented lawyer, Chad Ross, from a national firm. Ross is now Vice President of Operations at Mary Rutan Hospital.
In 2002, Terry Stolly left a national firm and joined TDH, ushering in the growth of the firm’s litigation practice. Stolly noted, “The growth was spurred by early successes, which resulted in many referrals, mostly in the construction law area.” That litigation explosion fortuitously led to adding John Bodin, Zeb Wagner, Connor Kinsey and Melissa Marino to the firm’s stable of highly talented lawyers, among others.
Stolly recalled, “John [Bodin] was the first lawyer to help meet the growing litigation challenge, and he helped expand other areas of the firm’s personal injury practice, including personal injury and insurance.” Bodin explained, “There was all this pent-up work and it was exciting to hit the ground running.”
In 2006, Gabe Wickline started in the litigation area and eventually migrated to real estate, title agent and general practice. Now Wickline leads the firm’s Indian Lake office.
Josh Stolly was the next critical addition to TDH in 2009. Josh solidified the corporate and commercial transaction group, led the firm’s foray into the domestic relations practice, and now works closely with MacDonald in the health care area. He also serves as Bellefontaine’s Law Director.
In 2012, longtime West Liberty solo practitioner, Chris Moell, joined TDH and brought his diverse client base and business savvy. “It is great to have access to all the talent at TDH to best serve our clients’ unique needs,” Moell said.
TDH obviously represents individual and business clients in Logan and surrounding counties. Incredibly, TDH has represented clients in more than a dozen states, as well as Canada, China, and The Netherlands.
TDH is celebrating its 50th Anniversary by opening an office in Urbana.
Throughout this incredible evolution, the lawyers of TDH have volunteered their time and talents to countless community causes, including leadership on various boards and campaigns. That’s why TDH uses the slogan: Local lawyers. Local leaders. Our story, while filled with decades of hard work and dedication, countless friends and colleagues, endless fun and laughter, is not finished. Please stay tuned for the next fifty years.