In 1929, the prominent Indianapolis law firm of Miller Dailey & Thompson dissolved and three new firms were formed. William H. Thompson formed one of the firms with Albert L. Rabb and Thomas D. Stevenson. Mr. Thompson’s firm, known at the time as Thompson Rabb & Stevenson, is now known as Hackman Hulett & Cracraft.
Mr. Thompson began his legal career in 1902 in Muncie, Indiana. He moved to Indianapolis in 1908 to serve on the staff of the Indiana Attorney General. In 1911, Mr. Thompson joined the firm of Miller, Shirley & Miller, where he became a partner of William H.H. Miller. One of Indiana’s most prominent lawyers at the beginning of the 20th century, Mr. Miller had served as the Attorney General of the United States in the administration of President Benjamin Harrison. After Mr. Miller’s retirement, Miller, Shirley & Miller became Miller Dailey & Thompson until its dissolution in 1929.
With Mr. Thompson at its head, Thompson Rabb & Stevenson was recognized for its expertise in corporate and constitutional law, as well as utility law. The firm participated in several cases before the United States Supreme Court and, among its noteworthy achievements, won for the Ohio Bell Telephone Company the United States Supreme Court’s affirmation of a significant rate increase.
Thompson Rabb & Stevenson changed its name to Thompson & Rabb in 1937 after Mr. Stevenson left the firm and subsequently became General Counsel at Indiana Bell Telephone Company. The firm changed its name in 1941 after Mr. Rabb’s death; this time to Thompson O’Neal & Smith. The new name reflected the central role Perry E. O’Neal and Patrick J. Smith had assumed in the firm’s practice. Mr. Smith joined Thompson & Rabb in 1938 after Mr. Stevenson’s departure; and Mr. O’Neal, who previously had practiced with Mr. Thompson at Miller Dailey & Thompson, joined in 1940 after Mr. Rabb’s death.
Mr. Thompson died in 1945. It was not until after Mr. O’Neal retired from active practice, however, that the firm changed its name in 1966 to Smith Morgan & Ryan. This change not only reflected Mr. Smith’s continued active role in the firm’s practice, but also those of Robert D. Morgan and Russell J. Ryan, Jr. Both Mr. Morgan and Mr. Ryan had first become associated with Thompson O’Neal & Smith in the early 1940s.
While continuing a practice historically focused on corporate, litigation and utility matters, Smith Morgan & Ryan also became known for its expertise in real estate and probate matters. Mr. Morgan represented the interests of Fred C. Tucker, Jr. and his associates in developing several hotels, shopping centers and other Indianapolis landmarks, as well as in operating the largest real estate brokerage company in Indiana. In addition to practicing corporate and trust/probate law for over 54 years, Mr. Ryan played a central role in drafting Indiana’s current probate laws as the chairman of the Indiana Probate Study Commission.
Mr. Smith died in 1982, and by 1987 both Mr. Morgan and Mr. Ryan had ceased practicing law on a full-time basis. Thus, consistent with past practice, the firm changed its name. After two years as Hackman McClarnon & McTurnan, the firm changed its name to Hackman McClarnon Hulett & Cracraft in 1989 to reflect that the firm’s practice was in the hands of Marvin L. Hackman, James R. McClarnon, Robert S. Hulett and Michael B. Cracraft. Both Mr. Hackman and Mr. McClarnon became associated with Thompson O’Neal & Smith in the early 1960s. Mr. Hulett and Mr. Cracraft joined Smith Morgan & Ryan as associates in 1969 and 1973, respectively.
The firm changed its name to Hackman Hulett & Cracraft in 1998 after Mr. McClarnon’s death.
- Thompson Rabb & Stevenson 1929-1937
- Thompson & Rabb 1937-1941
- Thompson O’Neal & Smith 1941-1966
- Smith Morgan & Ryan 1966-1986
- Hackman McClarnon & McTurnan 1987-1988
- Hackman McClarnon Hulett & Cracraft 1989-1997
- Hackman Hulett & Cracraft 1998 to present