Firm History

Petefish, Immel, Hird, Johnson, Leibold & Sloan, LLP traces its history to before World War I. In 1915, C.C. Stewart established his legal practice in Lawrence. Stewart’s practice thrived, and by 1935, he was seeking a partner at his firm.

Lawrence MapOlin Petefish was a Lawrence native. Born in 1912, Petefish grew up in Lawrence and Douglas County, and attended the University of Kansas. After receiving his law degree from KU, Petefish joined Stewart’s firm in 1935. There, he soon established a reputation for his legal skill, combined with a deep love of Lawrence and a desire to give back to his community and his country.

Several years after Petefish began practicing law, world events intervened. The attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the nation into war. Petefish joined the Army, where he served as a procurement office throughout World War II.

After the war, Petefish returned to Lawrence and the practice of law. He also continued serving his community, dedicating his efforts to charitable, religious and civic organizations, and instilling his values of service in those who worked with him.

In 1973, John Immel joined the firm after serving as a U.S. attorney. The firm expanded again in 1989 with the addition of Jeffrey Heeb.

Olin Petefish continued practicing law until 1996, when he retired, ending a distinguished career of more than 60 years as a Lawrence litigator. That year, Petefish was honored as the Citizen of the Year by the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, one of many honors Petefish earned during his life for his community service. A street on the University of Kansas campus, Petefish Drive, bears his name today.

Petefish Law OfficeOlin Petefish passed away in 2001, but the firm he built continues to grow and thrive. In 2007, Richard Hird joined the firm, and current partners Thomas Johnson and Terence Leibold, soon followed. In 2016, Edward Sloan joined the firm as a partner and Matthew Donnelly joined as an associate.

Today, over 100 years later, the firm has not forgotten the values that its founders instilled. Our dedication to legal excellence is matched by our commitment to Lawrence and our community—just as Olin Petefish would have expected.