In April 1906, Demas Bates & Vitus Jones formed a partnership, calling their firm Bates & Jones. In their early years, they represented several well-known local clients including Charles Chapin & Oliver Chilled Plow Works.
After several partner changes, the firm dissolved. Vitus Jones then partnered with Roland Obenchain Sr., forming Jones Obenchain.
In 1931, Frank Jones, Vitus Jones’ son joined the firm. Frank went on to represent the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Out of respect for any Sister who frequented the firm, a strict office decorum was implemented – a standard of professionalism that carries on to this day.
A Family Firm
Jones Obenchain continued to represent several well-known local clients including Bonnie Rockne, the widow of Knute Rockne, during the filming of Knute Rockne, All American. Mrs. Rockne was determined to use her late husband’s life as an inspiration to young men.
Roland Obenchain Jr. (Obie) joined the firm and grew into a fierce trial attorney. During his tenure, the firm participated in the federal court program that appointed lawyers to represent underprivileged defendants – stemming from the belief that everyone deserves justice.
Another father & son partnership was Burt Ford, who joined in 1949 & his son, John Ford, who joined his father in 1976.
In 1963, Thomas F. Lewis Jr. joined the firm. Tom was skilled in insurance defense & medical malpractice litigation. His success rate was so high that the judge stopped appointing him as a defense attorney.
John R. Obenchain, Obie’s son, joined the firm becoming the first grandson to follow in the Obenchain tradition.
Pam Gunterman became one of the firm’s early paralegals. Pam eventually rose to office manager making her only the third office manager at Jones Obenchain – a position she continues to hold to this day. Jones Obenchain was ahead of its time in recognizing women as knowledgeable and valuable staff members, and depended on their expertise in key office managerial roles.
Commitment To Excellence
Thomas F. Lewis Jr.’s son joined the firm making another father & son partnership at Jones Obenchain.
Jaqueline Sells Homann was hired by the firm to work in bankruptcy, corporate law & estate law. Jackie became the first female partner at Jones Obenchain in 1999. In 2003, Jackie was joined by Janet G. Horvath, who went on to became partner in 2009.
With 9 attorneys and staff, we continue to serve the Michiana area – always delivering on our promise of sensible legal advice.