Firm History

Lathrop & Gage is considered the oldest continuously operating law firm west of the Mississippi River. Dating back to Lathrop & Smith, which opened in Kansas City in 1873, today’s Lathrop & Gage spans coast to coast, while maintaining a commitment to the Midwestern value platform that has driven more than 135 years of success.

Historical Timeline

1873 - Gardiner Lathrop and William Smith open an office in the River Market area of Kansas City, Missouri; at the time, the tallest building in town is three stories high. Both men have a deep commitment to public service, a trait that will become a core value of the firm; they were appointed to U.S. Commissioner and Deputy U.S. Marshall, respectively.

1903 - Gardiner Lathrop delivers the commencement address at Kansas City’s Central High School, where he hands a diploma to an 18-year-old John Gage.

1930 - John Gage opens Gage & Hillix in downtown Kansas City.

1940 - John Gage is elected mayor of Kansas City, following “Boss” Tom Pendergast’s admission to income tax evasion the year prior. Gage engaged the women voters of Kansas City with the slogan “WANTED: 75,000 women with pioneer courage…let us keep faith with those who blazed the trail.” Gage was widely praised for the reforms he enacted in the post-Pendergast era.

1980 - Gage’s firm, now known as Gage & Tucker, opens a Washington D.C. office.

1983 - Gage & Tucker expands into Kansas with the opening of an Overland Park office. The legacy firm of Gardiner Lathrop, then known as Lathrop & Norquist, follows a year later.

1996 - Lathrop & Gage is created through the merger of Lathrop & Norquist and Gage & Tucker. The combined firm has 140 attorneys.

1997 - Lathrop & Gage enters the St. Louis market through a merger with Schoenbeck, Schoenbeck & Associates.

1998 - The firm expands its Kansas presence, merging with Bennett, Lytle, Wetzler, Martin & Pishny. Lathrop & Gage also expands deeper into Missouri by opening offices in Jefferson City and Springfield.

2000 - The firm opens its Boulder, Colorado office and merges with Springfield’s Miller & Sanford.

2004 - Lathrop & Gage enters the New York market and completes two Missouri mergers: Craft Fridkin & Rhyne in Kansas City and Cunningham Harpool & Cordonnier in Springfield.

2005 - The firm opens a Denver office.

2007 - The firm opens an office in Clayton, Missouri.

2009 - The firm opens offices in Los Angeles and Chicago.

2011 - The firm combines with Kamlet Reichert in Denver and opens an office in Boston. 

2013 - The firm merges with Greenlee Sullivan in Boulder. Lathrop & Gage has more than 320 attorneys in 11 offices nationwide.

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For the 125th anniversary of Lathrop & Gage in 1998, the firm commissioned a mural detailing its history. The mural serves as a timeline, tracing our origins as Lathrop & Smith (far left) to national expansion (bottom right). Founders Gardiner Lathrop and John Gage both appear in the lower left-hand corner.

The original oil painting measures 5' by 10' and was created by Andy Thomas, an artist from Carthage, Missouri. The original hangs in the firms Kansas City headquarters.