A long legal legacy in Central New York
Walking into the bright, modern lobby of the law firm of Hancock Estabrook, LLP, it’s easy to forget that the firm traces its Syracuse business roots as far back as 1889. That is the year that Theodore E. Hancock founded the firm of Hancock, Beach, Peck, & Devine, located in the White Memorial Building on East Washington Street.
Hancock, who was born on May 30, 1847, was raised in the town of Granby in Oswego County. Educated first at the Falley Seminary in Fulton, he graduated from Wesleyan University, then received his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1873. After his admission to the bar, Hancock moved to Syracuse and established his first law firm, Gilbert & Hancock, with William Gilbert. The firm was located at the corner of Montgomery and East Fayette Streets, the future site of the Yates Hotel.
Hancock dissolved his partnership with Gilbert sometime in 1876, going into practice for himself. In 1878, he became a justice of the peace of the Third Ward, then joined with J. Page Munro to form Hancock & Munro, with an office located in the Syracuse Savings Bank. Parting ways with Munro after several years, Hancock joined Harrison Hoyt and William A. Beach to establish the firm of Hoyt, Beach, & Hancock, moving to 27-30 White Memorial Building. In 1889, the law firm added Walter James Devine, becoming Hoyt, Beach, Hancock, & Devine. This set the foundation for the firm that would one day become Hancock Estabrook, LLP.