What’s in our name?The 1,500 professionals of the international law firm of Shook, Hardy & Bacon share a long and proud tradition. For over 130 years, the people of the firm have been committed to legal excellence, involvement in the life of their communities and nurturing collegiality within the firm. These have been the firm’s core values since its beginning.
Beginning in 1889 as the Sebree Law Firm, Shook has been known by many names over the years, reflecting the names of those who have contributed to its growth. By about 1920 it had become Sebree, Jost and Sebree. In the early 1930s the Shook name was added when the firm became Sebree, Sebree & Shook. The Hardy name was incorporated around 1945, when the firm became Sebree, Shook, Hardy & Hunter. Bacon’s name was added about 1959, when the firm became Shook, Hardy, Ottman, Mitchell & Bacon (the longest name it has had). Finally, around 1973, the present name, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, was adopted. Most partners agree that has become and will probably forever be our “brand” name. Although they are no longer part of our name, there has never been a time in the 130-year history of the firm when there has not been at least one Sebree practicing law at Shook, giving the Sebree family a special place in Shook’s history. Shook founder Frank Payne Sebree I was admitted to the bar in 1877 and began his practice in Jefferson City. He later moved his practice to Kansas City, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Sebree was deeply involved in his community. He served as chair of the Jackson County Democratic Committee and ran for mayor in 1898, but lost. He then was appointed County Counselor and was on the Board of Police Commissioners. He served as Chair of the Election Board and as Chair of the Park Board of Kansas City, where he oversaw the development of the city’s famed park and boulevard systems. After World War I, Sebree served as Vice President of the Liberty Memorial Association. He died in 1940.
Samuel Sebree I, Frank’s son, joined the firm after he graduated from Harvard Law School. Sam, born in 1886, represented many of the railroads that served the city, including the Wabash Railway Company. Like his father, he served on the Park Board. He also served as Director of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. He passed away in 1958. The third generation was Frank Payne Sebree II, born in 1928. Frank also attended Harvard Law, joining the firm in 1952. Frank’s practice was primarily in real estate and business litigation. He was a member of the City Council of Kansas City, served as President and Chairman of the Board of Truman Medical Center and was Chairman of the Truman Medical Center Charitable Foundation. Frank also was a member of the Missouri Bar Advisory Committee. He died in 2015.
Frank Payne Sebree III and Samuel Sebree II are the family’s fourth generation of Shook lawyers. Frank Sebree III practiced at the firm for several years, while his brother, Sam Sebree II, is a partner in the firm’s London office. In addition to the Sebree, Hardy and Bacon families, many other families have served the firm and its communities, including: