The founders of the firm, Jon Sebaly, Bev Shillito, and Jim Dyer, worked together in a large, regional law firm in Dayton in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That experience provided them with outstanding training and exposed them to a high-end corporate law practice. Each of them decided, independently, to leave that firm and pursue other career opportunities. Jon became managing partner of one of the offices of a national law firm. Bev became in-house counsel for an international, publicly-traded company. Jim joined a national law firm in Atlanta. Although each was enjoying a successful practice, they felt that something important was missing. They ultimately decided that the missing ingredient was the close, working relationship they enjoyed while practicing together.
In 1986, Jon approached Bev and Jim with a proposition. They would again join forces and create a unique law firm. While the trend at that time was to create a law firm structure that ensured control and exclusivity in the upper levels of ownership and management (e.g., multiple tiers of “partnership”), Jon, Bev, and Jim were committed to the proposition that the firm as an organization must at all times take precedence over the individuals who make up the firm. Their newly-formed law firm would engage in a fully-integrated practice and all individuals would play a vital role in the success of that firm. They spent countless hours formulating a recipe for success that incorporated the Core Values they envisioned for the firm. In short, they founded a firm without hierarchy. Their firm would recognize and reward the value and contribution of each individual, from the receptionist to the most senior partner. That firm would strive to make each client a “firm client” that could rely on each and every SS+D attorney for assistance and counseling.
Over the years, the firm has grown and prospered. At first, the growth was based upon lateral hires. In particular, attorneys from their original firm, such as Mike Moloney and Gale Finley, were brought in to broaden the practice base as well as the client base. Other lateral hires came from various large regional firms. Each was looking for the kind of unique practice experience offered by SS+D. Later the firm began to recruit and hire from the best law schools in the Midwest. The firm has now grown to 25 attorneys. New clients come to the firm almost on a daily basis. All of the firm’s clients know they can expect superior work product and responsiveness. They know that their attorneys will always be available to take care of their needs. They know that theirs is an attorney-client relationship they can always count on.