History

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A Strong and Viable Firm since 1903– Beier Howlett

Beier Howlett’s long-standing reputation as a leading law firm was first established by its founders. Beier Howlett evolved directly from Pelton & McGee, the two-lawyer partnership formed in 1903 by Carl Pelton and Clinton McGee, shortly after they graduated from law school. The office of Pelton & McGee was located across from the former Oakland County courthouse in downtown Pontiac, then the commercial center of Oakland County. In 1911 and 1912 Carl Pelton served as Oakland County Prosecutor and Clinton McGee served as Assistant Prosecutor. Both lawyers built successful private practices and established the reputation for excellence that has been, and continues to be, the hallmark of the firm. In their mature years, Carl Pelton was known as an insightful and decisive business lawyer and Clinton McGee was recognized as a brilliant litigation strategist and trial lawyer. The firm has balanced a general civil practice with a litigation practice ever since.

Dean Beier joined Pelton & McGee in 1942, but left soon afterwards for military service. In 1943, Carl Pelton died suddenly, stricken with a heart attack on the sidewalk in front of the office building. Harold Howlett, then a well-established sole practitioner, was recruited to continue the firm’s commitment to outstanding service to the business community. Soon after, William Hartman, also an established practitioner, joined the firm and the name was changed to Pelton, McGee, Howlett & Hartman. After World War II, Dean Beier rejoined the firm, Clinton McGee retired, and the firm was named Howlett, Hartman & Beier.

Howlett, Hartman & Beier built upon the tradition of excellence established by Pelton & McGee. Harold Howlett was a leading business and banking lawyer; William Hartman was an outstanding trial lawyer; and Dean Beier became a premier municipal and real estate lawyer. Each of the three served as President of the Oakland County Bar Association and was a civic leader. Their integrity, professional skill and exemplary public service earned the firm an honored reputation among colleagues and in the community.

In the 1970s, the firm moved from downtown Pontiac to offices in Bloomfield Hills. The firm has grown, both by adding individual lawyers and by absorbing other established law firms through mergers. In the last two decades, principals of the Davis Hayward firm of Royal Oak, the Daniel Devine firm of Bloomfield Hills, the Patterson & Patterson firm of Pontiac, and the Freud Markus Slavin & Galgan firm of Troy have affiliated with the firm and provided major contributions to its growth and stature. In 1989 the firm was renamed Beier Howlett, P.C.

The professional traditions of personal integrity, commitment to excellence, quality of work and effective service to clients established by Pelton & McGee in 1903 continue as the traditions and goals of Beier Howlett.