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The 1970s: A decade of prominence

The 1970s ushered in an era in which many prominent attorneys and those who are the namesake of the Firm today joined. Both Harry and Bill Pearce, and Pat and Tim Durick joined, as well as the Firm’s first female attorney, Christine Hogan. Also, during this time, the Firm relocated to its current offices in the Downtown Office Building.

Harry Pearce originally wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force but found his calling in the legal profession, he practiced as a Staff Judge Advocate before coming back to Bismarck, he was with the Firm for a number of years before General Motors, a client of the Firm, recruited him as associate general counsel. He went on to become vice chairman of GM and served on a variety of boards throughout his career.

William “Bill” Pearce had intentions of being an astrophysicist and holds a Ph.D. in the subject. Though after beginning a Fellowship at Princeton, he decided that law was his desired career. He has and continues to write articles for various legal publications.

Together the Pearce brothers had some interesting cases and those in the legal community took note, after writing a two-volume brief, new statutes were introduced to amend the approved length of a brief. They also got a statute changed via amendment by the North Dakota Legislature to add an emergency clause to the Century Code so they could bring evidence into court for a case they were working on.

Pat Durick crossed paths with Harry Pearce when they were both in the Air Force Academy. After completing his law degree and clerking for a District Judge, he joined the Firm as has been with us ever since. He has served on several committees and boards during his professional career.

Tim Durick was a special assistant attorney general with the State Tax Commission prior to opening a firm with three other Bismarck attorneys. He served as a municipal court judge in Bismarck for a time during his career. He later came to the Firm and was here until his full retirement in 2018.

Christine Hogan was a law clerk and court planner for the North Dakota Supreme Court before she joined the Firm. Additionally, she was Governor Link’s legislative assistant for a period of time, serving as a liaison between the governor’s office and the legislature. Hogan was a nationally recognized product liability attorney and argued in front of the United States Supreme Court in 2000 on the case Weisgram v. Marley Company.

The 1940s: A new partner joins the Firm

William R. Pearce joined the firm in 1944 as a namesake partner after a period of time as an assistant attorney general. Pearce did not attend law school, but rather read the law under A.P. Paulson of Valley City, ND. He was one of the first lawyers to argue before the North Dakota Supreme Court with no formal law education.

Pearce gave the Lincoln Day speech to the joint session of the Legislature for years and did so entirely from memory. He was a very talented orator and scholar, participating in debate when he studied briefly at the University of Kentucky.

Pearce was instrumental in the expansion of the Firm, identifying many candidates to join the Firm as well as adding the oil and gas practice during North Dakota’s first oil boom.

His sons all came to work for the Firm at a point during their career as well. Harry and William as attorneys and Murray as business manager of the Firm.

Pearce Durick PLLC celebrates 100 years

In 1919 when Herbert O’Hare and Edward Cox opened a small law practice in Bismarck, ND they had both come from different backgrounds but knew that together they could be a resource to the community. What O’Hare and Cox did not know was that they were starting a legacy which would still stand 100 years later. Throughout the years the Firm has had nearly 50 attorneys working for clients both big and small, local and across the nation.

It is with great honor that Pearce Durick PLLC celebrated this legacy by inviting attorneys and staff, both current and past, to an evening to reconnect and reminisce. Harry Pearce, former partner who went on to become vice chairman of General Motors, spoke of the legacy that the attorneys before him, particularly his father, built around the Firm and the dedication to integrity that is woven into the fabric of Pearce Durick PLLC.

Today, Pearce Durick PLLC still has a commitment to integrity in its dealings with clients. We draw on the strength of those who have made the Firm what it is today – strategic, responsive, and effective. We are a client-focused, innovative, and value-driven Firm and look to the next century to continue to build relationships and represent our clients in a way that would make O’Hare and Cox proud. Here’s to the next 100 years!