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The firm began with its founder, Edwin J. Marshall's entry into the practice of law in 1895, and the formation the following year of his partnership with Harold Fraser. Over the next three decades Marshall and Fraser's "office" would become a leader in the practice of law in Toledo and northwest Ohio, in corporate, commercial and civil matters. In 1925 Marshall and Fraser dissolved their professional association, and with Donald F. Melhorn and other younger attorneys who remained with him in practice, Marshall then reorganized the firm which has since always carried the Marshall and Melhorn names.

In the 1930's and 40's the firm had an extensive practice in anti-trust matters affecting the U. S. glass and auto parts industries, and it saw the beginnings of its work in labor relations and employee benefits. The 50's, 60's and 70's brought additional growth in product liability and other personal injury defense work, and in the representation of hospitals and other non-profit entities. In 1985, a year after moving to its present Toledo quarters at Four SeaGate, the firm acquired an intellectual property practice by merger with a local patent-law firm.

Developments in the region's economy during the 1980's and 90's were reflected in a changing client base. No longer dominated by locally headquartered "Fortune 500" corporations, the firm's practice now extends to a broad range of commercial enterprises, non-profit institutions and public entities, as well as to individuals. In 2000, joining with lawyers already well established in medical malpractice defense representation, the firm acquired and has since further developed that practice. Other lawyers, specialists in business and tax law, joined at about the same time, adding to the firm's expertise in commercial and real estate matters as well as in estate and trust services for individual clients. An office in Michigan, where a number of the firm's lawyers are admitted to practice, was established in Monroe in 2002.

Writing, in 1934, to tell a client much affected by the Depression that he hoped his business would improve, Edwin Marshall added, "But until it does, please call on us for any legal service that you have any notion you may want . . . Our desire to serve our old clients is very, very much stronger than our desire for money." A hallmark of the firm, this commitment to loyal service has been passed down through successive generations of Marshall and Melhorn lawyers.