With a tradition that spans nine decades, Peacock Keller & Ecker, LLP continues to serve clients in Southwestern Pennsylvania and maintains its commitment to client satisfaction and community involvement.
It all began in 1925, with Ralph W. Peacock, a graduate of Muskingum College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. A Houston native and member of a prominent Washington family, Peacock maintained offices in Washington, PA, and in Houston, PA his entire career.
As was customary at the time, he was a general practitioner, which included a full range of trial and office practice. He served as a Deputy Attorney General of Pennsylvania and represented the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in condemnation matters for many years. As an Examiner for the Public Utility Commission (PUC) he pioneered the use of stipulations for uncontested testimony and evidence, a practice now uniformly used in most administrative law proceedings.
Although he maintained a healthy litigation practice, his true specialties lay in business, corporate, and mineral law. Due to his broad experience in a diverse family business, he brought efficient business practices into the law office. He was the first lawyer in Washington County to use dictating equipment, an electric typewriter, and copying equipment.
In 1948, a major coal company engaged Peacock to perform title work on over 100 tracts of coal. Striking a balance between Peacock’s established practice and the scope of the project, Peacock hired Charles C. Keller to assist on a part-time basis in 1950.
A year later, Keller joined Peacock as his first full-time associate. In July of that same year, Davis G. Yohe also joined as a full-time associate, having bonded with Keller over their shared experience as bomber pilots during the Second World War. Keller would go on to become one of the region’s best-known and successful litigators, and Yohe carved out a national reputation as a leading authority on mineral law and eminent domain. Both Keller and Yohe became name partners in 1956 and the firm name was changed to Peacock, Keller & Yohe. Later, Reed B. Day would join the firm and become renowned for his experience in School Law, serving as President of the PA School Board Solicitors Organization and publishing a guide to School Law.
The firm continued to grow from 1969 through 1981, and saw the addition of four associates: Roger Ecker, Ken Baker, Robert Crothers, and Wes Cramer - all of whom would be elected partner.
In 1981, the firm hired its first lateral: Mary Gail Korsmeyer. She became the firm’s first female partner, and the first female President of the Washington County Bar. Since that time, Rick Amrhein, Barb Graham, Doug Nolin, Mary K. Pruss (retired), John Rodgers, Jon Higie, Susan Roberts, Susan Mondik Key, Andy Chumney, and Steve Curry have gone on to become partners.
The firm has always valued having a team with diverse professional backgrounds. Peacock Keller’s attorneys have included former appellate-level law clerks, JAG-Corps officers, large-firm lawyers, and bank, trust company, and corporate personnel. Peacock Keller lawyers have also provided leadership in various professional organizations, boasting one past president of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, seven past presidents of the Washington County Bar Association, three past presidents of the Pennsylvania School Board Solicitors Association, three past presidents of the Pennsylvania Academy of Trial Lawyers, members of the illustrious American College of Trial Lawyers and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, as well as members of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Lawyer Disciplinary System Committee.
Peacock Keller originally operated with an office in Washington, PA and a part-time, second office in Houston, PA. Today, the firm’s hub is the Washington office which is accompanied by four satellite offices in Bridgeville, Claysville, McMurray and Waynesburg. What was once a local practice has become a regional practice covering broad and diverse areas of the law for clientele throughout Allegheny, Greene, Washington, and surrounding counties.
As the firm expanded so did its areas of practice with its attorneys developing considerable experience and achieving broad recognition for leadership in energy law, employment law, business law, estates and trusts, school law, construction law, and litigation. From the beginning, Peacock Keller lawyers have served as leaders in local, national and global organizations, such as the Washington County Chamber of Commerce, the Washington County Community Foundation, Rotary International, Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis, Zonta, the Boy Scouts of America and others. In 2008, Peacock Keller initiated a benefit event for area libraries known as “Off-the-Shelf,” which has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Washington and Greene County library systems.
As it approaches its centennial, Peacock Keller looks forward to the continued service to its diverse clientele and communities.
The current home of Peacock Keller & Ecker, LLP • July 1950