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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Dec. 12, 201905:10 AM EST

Jacksonville law firm celebrates 120 years of practice

Marks Gray was founded in 1899 in Jacksonville.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

At a private reception in November at its offices on the Southbank, Marks Gray, one of Jacksonville’s oldest law firms, celebrated 120 years of service to Northeast Florida’s corporations and industries. 

The firm recognized some of its longest standing members, including James Rinaman Jr., who practiced at the firm for 56 years before retirement.

 He was influential in many events and cases that shaped Jacksonville, including consolidation of the city and county governments in 1968.

Retired members Vic Halbach was with the firm for 44 years and the late Frank Perritt was there for 46 years.

The firm also celebrated those who joined immediately after graduation from law school:

Jerry Weedon has been with the firm for 43 years. Nick Pulignano has been with the firm for 38 years. Bill Corley and Jep Barbour each have been with the firm 37 years. Giselle Carson has been with the firm 18 years and Tyler Oldenburg has been with Marks Gray for eight years.

Tracing its origin to 1899 when attorney Richard Marks opened his office in Jacksonville, the firm has become one of Northeast Florida’s comprehensive business and corporate law firms.

“We are proud to continue to serve as Jacksonville’s go-to firm for all things business,” said Frederick H. Kent III, shareholder and partner, in a news release.

“We are honored to continue the legacy of our founders who were instrumental in building Jacksonville’s early business community after the Industrial Revolution,” Kent said.

Richard P. Marks (1876-1942) was a U.S. attorney and a founder of Florida Title and Trust Co. He owned the only Duval County real estate records that survived the 1901 fire that destroyed most of Downtown. The files are preserved in Marks Gray’s archives.

Sam Marks (1885-1973) helped organize and served as general counsel for Winn-Dixie Enterprises. He was the executor of the estate of Charles E. Merrill, a founder of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., whose successor remains a client of the firm.

Harry Gray (1890-1975) was a leading commercial and tort defense trial lawyer. He drafted Florida’s first workers’ compensation law in the early 1930s and was general counsel for the Florida Board of Architecture and the Florida Medical Association for nearly 50 years.

Gray was president of the Jacksonville Bar Association in 1935 and the Association of Insurance Attorneys in 1963 and was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

During 120 years of practice, Marks Gray attorneys have been president of the Jacksonville Bar Association and president of The Florida Bar. Several have been appointed and elected judges. Since Richard Marks opened his office in Jacksonville in 1899, the firm has grown to more than 50 employees with more than 20 attorneys.

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