Orr & Reno Celebrates 70 Years of Excellence

Dudley Orr and Bob Reno may have traveled along similar paths – both graduated from Dartmouth and went to prestigious Ivy League law schools – but the partnership they formed in 1946 did not seem like destiny at the time.

In a lengthy tribute to Orr following his death in 2003, the New Hampshire Bar Association Bar News recounted the response Orr gave Reno after the latter inquired about joining Orr’s nascent firm, saying Reno “ran a risk of starvation if it turned out that there should not be enough work in our office for two lawyers.”

As it turns out, this was one of the few things Dudley Orr underestimated. Orr & Reno not only survived, but emerged as one of the most respected law firms in the state.

The firm’s members have included some of the state’s best legal minds who have argued landmark cases and served their communities. Many of those attorneys returned on Friday, November 18 when Orr & Reno welcomed their current attorneys and alumni to their office at 45 South Main St. to mark the firm’s 70th anniversary.

Orr & Reno’s influence has been felt in legal, political and social arenas, in civic and state affairs.

Dudley Orr, for instance, served on boards of numerous institutions, including as president of the Spaulding-Potter Charitable Fund, which became the basis for the New Hampshire Charitable Fund. Malcolm McLane – the father of U.S. congresswoman Annie McLane Kuster – was a former mayor of Concord and Executive Councilor. David Souter would go on from his start at Orr & Reno to eventually become an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice James Bassett is also an alumnus of the firm. William Chapman, still a member of the firm, won a noted decision for the McDowell Colony and has served as counsel for the press in many significant First Amendment cases in New Hampshire.

“New Hampshire has a unique place in this country’s history and we’re proud that we have carved out our own spot in that history,” says Orr & Reno President Peter F. Burger. “We have promoted social causes, argued landmark cases and have helped shape legal minds who have impacted law at the highest level in this country.

“Dudley Orr and Bob Reno set a high standard when they founded the firm in 1946. It’s an honor to celebrate them and the people who have maintained that standard.”

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