The buildings in the header above are the Bellingham National Bank Building and Mason Block (currently Sycamore Square) the only other locations of Belcher Swanson Law Firm. The photo of the Bellingham National Bank Building is by J. W. Sandison with all rights owned by the Whatcom Museum. The photo of the Mason Block is by Gooding and Johnson with all rights owned by Whatcom Museum.
The photo above is of a Bellingham Bells Baseball game played at Battersby Field which is located just steps from the current office of Belcher Swanson Law Firm, PLLC. In the early 1900’s Battersby Field was one of the civic centers in Bellingham hosting events including Bellingham Bells baseball, boxing, football, parades and debates. The photo of the Bellingham Bells baseball game at Battersby Field is by Jack Carver with all rights owned by the Whatcom Museum.
Belcher Swanson Law Firm, PLLC is one of the oldest law firms in Whatcom County. It was established in January of 1893 when Clinton W. Howard and Thomas G. Newman associated under the law firm name Newman & Howard. Newman & Howard was regarded as one of the strongest law firms in Western Washington, serving clients such as the Bellingham Bay Improvement Co., Bellingham Bay & British Columbia Railroad Co., and the Northern Railway & Improvement Co.¹
In the fall of 1912, Newman & Howard promoted law clerk Joseph W. Kindall as a third partner in the firm. The firm was renamed Newman, Howard & Kindall. Due to failing health Newman was forced to retire from the practice of law in 1924. Howard and Kindall continued the law firm under the name Howard & Kindall. Howard & Kindall had an extensive practice and were regarded as one of the strongest legal combinations in Bellingham.²
In 1937 Howard passed away so Kindall operated a solo practice until 1956 when Kindall made Lester C. Voris a partner. They practiced under the name Kindall & Voris until 1967 when Kindall passed away after 57 years of distinguished practice in Bellingham.
After Kindall’s death, Voris practiced law by himself under the name Kindall & Voris until he associated with James F. Flynn and Michael C. Lipscomb in 1968. Voris, Flynn & Lipscomb practiced together until 1969 when Flynn left to pursue his own legal practice. For the next five years, Voris and Lipscomb practiced under the name Voris & Lipscomb.
Between 1973 and 1977, the law firm brought in three new partners still practicing with the firm today: John C. Belcher, Jack O. Swanson and Chester T. Lackey. In 1978, Lipscomb left to pursue a solo practice. The four remaining partners practiced under the name Voris, Belcher, Swanson & Lackey. In 1981, James M. Doran was made partner and the law firm was renamed Voris, Belcher, Swanson, Lackey & Doran.
There were no changes in the law firm until 1988 when Voris retired and Terrance G. Lewis joined the partnership. For the next five years, the firm practiced under the name Belcher, Swanson, Lackey, Doran & Lewis. In 1995, Douglas K. Robertson was brought on as a partner and the firm was renamed Belcher, Swanson, Lackey, Doran, Lewis & Robertson.
Over the last 15 years, Belcher, Swanson, Lackey, Doran and Lewis have retired and Bradley Swanson, Peter Dworkin, Scot Swanson, Mark Lackey, Kristen Reid, and Josh Fox have become partners.
Under one name or another, the Belcher Swanson Law Firm, PLLC has served business and individual clients in Whatcom County for over 100 years. The attorneys and staff at Belcher Swanson Law Firm, PLLC are proud of the law firm’s heritage and distinguished history in this community.
¹ Bellingham Herald’s Chronological, Anecdotal, and Biographical History of Northwestern Washington (Illustrated) (1910); The Daily Reveille, New Whatcom, Washington, Supplement, Sept. 15, 1899.
² History of Whatcom County, Volume II, by Lottie Roeder Roth, 1926 (page 489).