Vincennes 1853
Vincennes 1952
Lithograph displayed in reception area

A visitor to Kolb Roellgen & Traylor LLP is immediately immersed in the firm’s history. This is intentional. The first partner, Samuel Judah, began the practice in 1819 after walking from New Brunswick, New Jersey to Indiana. His picture, along with those of other partners, hangs on the wall facing the front door. On the same wall is the original letter of introduction of Samuel Judah, addressed to Judge Isaac Blackford of the Indiana Supreme Court, dated May 5, 1819. In 1819, this was the equivalent of a law degree. It is also proof of the law firm’s beginning date. Based on an article in the ABA Journal and an Internet search, the firm may be the fourth oldest continuing law firm in the country.

The beginning date is important, but the difficult part is continuity. The reception room wall displays the pictures of the partners who provided continuity. The firm’s 200 years of continuity up to the present primarily relies on six partners: Samuel Judah, James C. Denny, George G. Reily, James Wade Emison, Ewing Rabb Emison, and Ewing Rabb Emison, Jr.

The partners distinguished themselves in many areas. Six were judges. Four became State Attorneys or Attorney Generals. Several went on to begin businesses in banking, insurance and trust. Rabb Emison won the Spirit of Excellence award from the American Bar Association in 2003. Current lawyers are listed as Super Lawyers or Best Lawyers and have been rated as one of the ten best lawyers in Indiana. The firm itself has been an AV rated firm from the beginning of the Martindale-Hubbell rating system over 100 years ago.

In honor of the firm’s 200th anniversary, a history of the firm entitled “Lunch with the Partners: Historical Vignettes from a 200 Year Old Law Firm” was published.  The book details the firm’s role in saving Vincennes University (several times), opposing slavery, creating the Brevoort Levee, getting presidents elected and building the Clark Memorial.  Much of the legal work was done over many years with a never quit attitude.  It is a tradition we are very proud to continue.  Click the book cover below for a pdf version of the book.

Celebrated Wise Will Contest

Capt. Reily on far right next to Benjamin Harrison, soon to be President of the United States
Displayed in hallway

Rabb Emison Winner Prestigious
ABA Excellence Award – 2003

Displayed in reception area

Famous Print of Battle of Tippecanoe

Lt. Emison picture holding back General Harrison’s horse
Displayed in hallway

Firm Name Timeline

Samuel Judah

1819 – 1838

Judah & Gibson

1838 – 1842

Samuel Judah

1842 – 1852

Judah & Usher

1852 – 1854

Judah & Denny

1854 – 1860

James C. Denny

1860 – 1867

Denny & Reily

1867 – 1868

Denny Reily & Johnson

1868 – 1872

Reily & Johnson

1872 – 1881

Reily Johnson & Niblack

1881 – 1886

Reily & Niblack

1886 – 1889

Reily & Emison

1889 – 1899

James Wade Emison

1899 – 1901

Emison & Moffett

1901 – 1907

James Wade Emison

1907 – 1917

Emison & Hoover

1917 – 1931

Emison & Emison

1931 – 1969

Emison Emison & Doolittle

1969 – 1979

Emison Emison Doolittle & Kolb

1979 – 1986

Emison Doolittle & Kolb

1986 – 1990

Emison Doolittle Kolb & Roellgen

1990 – 2009

Emison Doolittle Kolb & Roellgen LLP

2009 – 2012

Kolb Roellgen & Kirchoff LLP

2012 – 2020

Kolb Roellgen Johnson & Traylor LLP

2020 – 2020

Kolb Roellgen & Traylor LLP

2020 – Present

Former Partners

Roellgen, Kolb Receive Awards

David Roellgen and Jeff Kolb, senior partners with Kolb Roellgen & Kirchoff, 815 Busseron St., were presented with Sagamore of the Wabash Awards on Thursday afternoon by Joe Heerens, general counsel to Gov. Eric Holcomb, during an open house celebrating the firm’s 200th anniversary. The firm is Indiana’s oldest, and believed to me one of the four oldest in the country.

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