Solos / Small Firms

Attorneys watch as historic law office buildings go up in flames


Two name partners watched stoically from the street Sunday morning as the Bethlehem, Pa., law firm founded by their late father, a city solicitor, and housed in two historic 19th-century buildings went up in flames.

“I started there in 1983 when I graduated from law school, and my brother, who is three years older, in 1980,” William Leeson, who current serves as city solicitor, told the Morning Call. “My dad started it … in the mid- to late 1970s, in anticipation of his sons joining him.”

Also present at the scene was attorney Gail Weiner Shearer, who began working in in 1999 as a paralegal at the offices that house Leeson, Leeson & Leeson. She and others said they felt fortunate there was no loss of life and only physical damage to cope with. However, at least one of the buildings appears likely to be a total loss, following a roof collapse. Inside were not only documents and legal work that will have to be re-created but a pet frog and an heirloom secretariat from her grandmother that Shearer had recently brought into her office, following the death of her mother.

“It’s very emotional,” she told the newspaper as firefighters sprayed water on the flames.

There’s no word yet on what may have caused the fire.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Was Christmas fire that destroyed small law office a case-related arson?”

ABAJournal.com: “Firm’s surveillance video shows two men running away shortly before suspicious fire”

Independent Mail: “Fire guts Royston law firm”

WLHR: “Royston Man Charged in Law Firm Fire”

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