Surrounded by the natural beauty of one of Rochester’s most idyllic locations, leaders from Harter Secrest & Emery, Rochester’s largest law firm, were joined by City of Rochester officials to announce a special donation in celebration of the firm’s 125th anniversary.

Craig S. Wittlin, Harter Secrest & Emery Managing Partner, announced that the firm is donating $31,250 to the City of Rochester for the purchase of 125 trees to be planted at various sites throughout the city, along with one year of care for each tree. The announcement was made at Cobbs Hill Park, where a total of 40 trees will be planted around Lake Riley thanks to Harter Secrest & Emery’s donation.

“As a firm and as individuals, our attorneys and professionals are firmly rooted in this community,” Wittlin said. “So, in celebrating our 125th anniversary, we wanted to do something special for the City and the community that has been central to our growth – something that would live and grow and be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Wittlin presented a ceremonial check to Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Norman H. Jones, after which the two men planted the first tree by Lake Riley. Attorneys from Harter Secrest & Emery later joined City workers in planting five additional trees at the park.

“I would like to thank Harter Secrest & Emery for their generous donation,” Mayor Lovely A. Warren said. “The firm is a valued member of our city’s legal and business community, and I’m thankful that they are giving back in such a meaningful way. These trees will be planted in every corner of our city, beautifying our streets and increasing our quality of life, which helps us create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”

Harter Secrest & Emery’s roots date back to 1894, when prominent lawyers Nathaniel Foote and James S. Havens formed a law partnership in the Ellwanger & Barry Building in downtown Rochester. The firm’s founding coincided with the opening of the Seneca Park Zoo, the laying of the cornerstone at the Monroe County Courthouse (now the County Office Building), and the initial manufacture of Zeiss patented optical goods by John Jacob Bausch and Henry Lomb.

The firm became known as Harter Secrest & Emery in 1975. Throughout Harter Secrest & Emery’s history, the firm’s attorneys have played a leading role in assisting several well-known Rochester organizations, institutions, and projects, such as the development of Midtown Plaza and Midtown Tower, and The Strong, National Museum of Play.

Today, Harter Secrest & Emery has nearly 130 attorneys and professionals working in Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, Corning and New York City, representing a wide range of local, regional, national and international clients, from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, municipalities to human services organizations, universities, retail merchants, not-for-profits and more, from sole proprietorships to companies with over 150,000 employees. The firm is also an active supporter of several community, charitable and non-profit organizations focused on a variety of causes.

“Rochester has, in a sense, provided our firm the rich soil from which we have been able to grow and spread our branches over the last 125 years, and we hope to continue that growth well into the future,” Wittlin said. 

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