Celebrating 80 Years

Shaped by Our History

Focused on the Future

As San Diego’s oldest law firm, we consider ourselves to be 80 years new – with a rich history that has helped to define who we are and how we practice, and a continued evolution to meet the changing needs of our clients.

Built on a foundation of loyalty and integrity, we cultivate an environment of teamwork and responsiveness, establishing the trust of our clients and a reputation for excellence. We’re committed to providing hands-on, high-touch and comprehensive representation, regardless of the legal issue.

Core Firm Values

  • Our clients’ issues and challenges are made our own.
  • We are creative problem solvers committed to our clients’ success.
  • We are prepared. We are loyal. We are honest. We are responsive.
  • We are professional.

As the legal environment has changed over time, so has our expertise. Over the last eight decades, our firm’s practice areas have evolved to include emerging industries and we’ve developed expertise in areas of law that now have a tremendous impact on business, such as healthcare, technology, and intellectual property.

It is a great source of pride for the firm that our attorneys today are realizing the vision of the firm’s founders, working at the forefront of their respective fields and leading landmark cases in myriad areas of law. In tribute to the hard work and passion of the founders of our firm who set our course, we are continually renewing our commitment to providing unparalleled legal counsel, understanding and responding to changes that impact our clients and their businesses and industries.

Key Highlights from our History

  • 1938
  • 1939
  • 1940
  • 1942
  • 1948
  • 1950
  • 1952
  • 1953
  • 1954
  • 1957
  • 1960
  • 1962
  • 1963
  • 1965
  • 1966
  • 1971
  • 1972
  • 1974
  • 1981
  • 1983
  • 1984
  • 1988
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1999
  • 2009
  • 2011
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 1938

    Dutch Higgs and Ferd Fletcher become acquainted during a lawsuit in which they are on opposite sides. They begin playing golf together and on January 1, 1939 form their partnership, Higgs & Fletcher.

  • 1939

    The Firm begins in the Bank of America Building at 6th and Broadway, when there were only three main buildings in San Diego for attorneys: Bank of America, First National, and San Diego Trust & Savings.

  • 1940

    William A. Glen, a deputy district attorney with the county counsel’s office, joins the Firm which becomes Higgs Fletcher & Glen. Thanks to Ferd’s father, Senator Ed Fletcher, the Statue of Cabrillo is brought to San Diego from Oakland in 1940 and dedicated in Point Loma.

    Mr. Higgs serves as City Attorney for Chula Vista (1940-42 and 1946-47).

  • 1942

    During World War II, when Mr. Higgs and Mr. Glen departed for the service and Mr. Fletcher remained to manage the practice, Eugene Miller joins the firm which then becomes Miller, Higgs Fletcher & Glen.

    The next year, Mr. Fletcher volunteers for the Navy and becomes an intelligence officer.

  • 1948

    Governor Earl Warren appoints Mr. Glen to the Superior Court, and the Firm becomes Miller, Higgs & Fletcher.

  • 1950

    The Firm serves as special counsel to the Cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, and Imperial Beach.

  • 1952

    Mr. Higgs becomes the first San Diegan elected President of the Board of Governors of the California State Bar, where he had served from 1952-1955.

  • 1953

    Ferd Fletcher is elected President of the San Diego County Bar Association.

    Henry Pitts Mack, former Chief Deputy District Attorney for San Diego County joins the firm, which becomes Miller, Higgs Fletcher & Mack, and later Higgs Fletcher & Mack.

  • 1954

    Mr. Fletcher is elected President of the San Diego Society for Crippled Children, the organization that built Children’s Hospital, and serves on the board for 25 years.

  • 1957

    The Firm builds its own building at 3rd and Juniper, which it occupies until 1963.

  • 1960

    Mr. Higgs co-chairs Proposition 1 that brings Northern California water to Southern California.

  • 1962

    Ferd Fletcher is hired to assist in the development of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he later becomes General Counsel, Member of the Board of Trustees, and Secretary.

  • 1963

    The Firm moves to Home Tower after outgrowing its own building at 3rd and Juniper.

  • 1965

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack merges with the firm of Jennings, Engstrand & Hendrickson and becomes Higgs, Jennings, Fletcher & Mack.

  • 1966

    Mr. Higgs becomes the first San Diegan appointed to the University of California Board of Regents and serves 16 years.

  • 1971

    The Firm demerges from Jennings, Engstrand & Hendrickson and once again becomes Higgs Fletcher & Mack.

    Ferd Fletcher, as pro bono counsel, works with the Committee of 100 to rebuild and preserve the Casa Del Prado, Casa De Balboa, Organ Pavilion, and the House of Hospitality facade.

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack represents Chase Manhattan in bankruptcy litigation after the $50 million collapse of U.S. Financial Corp.

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack successfully represents approximately 35 insurance companies and their insured after the Pine Hills, Ramona, and Laguna Mountain fires.

  • 1972

    Mr. Fletcher serves on the board and as Chairman of the San Diego Economic Development Corporation, as well as serving on the board of the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce.

    The North San Diego County office is established in Escondido on North Grand Avenue by Merv Thompson and Charles Marvin, former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce.

  • 1974

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack co-counsels for plaintiffs in Metromedia v. City of San Diego over the city’s outdoor billboard ban. The suit is eventually resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court by a summary judgment on First Amendment grounds.

  • 1981

    Craig Higgs, son of Dutch Higgs, co-founds the University of San Diego Law Center and later the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program in cooperation with the Legal Aid Society.

  • 1983

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack moves to the Columbia Center, our current home.

  • 1984

    Craig Higgs becomes the fourth partner and fifth member of the Firm to be elected President of the San Diego County Bar Association.

  • 1988

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack settle the decades-old Indian water rights lawsuit regarding the San Luis Rey River, and the North San Diego County office moves to the Escondido National Bank Building on West Valley Parkway.

  • 1995

    Several prominent jurists begin a campaign to name the new courthouse the DeWitt A. Higgs Hall of Justice after his passing in 1994. The effort fails, but a bust of Mr. Higgs is placed in the foyer of the building in the following year.

  • 1996

    The Firm starts the new year as Higgs Fletcher & Mack LLP, a limited liability partnership, and decides to close the Escondido office at the end of February.

  • 1999

    Higgs celebrates its 60th anniversary by taking over the top two floors of First National Bank Building and merging with McInnis, Fitzgerald, Rees and Sharkey to become the 6th largest firm in San Diego County.

  • 2009

    The Firm celebrates 70 years in the practice of law in San Diego, renewing its lease at the Columbia Center for 10 more years.

  • 2011

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack undertakes a complete rebranding of the Firm to better communicate its unique strengths and capabilities in helping clients navigate the complexities and challenges of the modern legal and business environment.

  • 2014

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack contributes over 7,500 hours of community service in celebration of its 75th Anniversary and commitment to San Diego.

  • 2015

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack launches Privacy and Information Security Practice Group to provide comprehensive privacy and security risk assessments and compliance audits as well as employee education and training.

  • 2016

    Steven J. Cologne named Managing Partner.

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack’s Diversity Scholarship Program passes the $60,000 milestone in assistance provided to deserving students at both the University of San Diego Law School and the Cal Western School of Law.

  • 2017

    Partner Loren Freestone is elected to serve as President of the San Diego County Bar Association starting January 1, 2017 for one year.

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack achieves record-breaking “Best Law Firms” rankings by U.S. News – Best Lawyers.

    John Morrell assumes the duties of Chairman Emeritus, the first ever to serve in this position, after 20 years of leading the firm as Managing Partner.

  • 2018

    Higgs Fletcher & Mack was named a Tier 1 Metropolitan Best Law Firm in eight practice areas and Tier 2 in six practice areas by U.S. News Best Law Firms®. The “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

  • 2019

    Our Partner and friend Craig Higgs passed away on February 6th. Craig was the Firm’s longest-serving Partner. As an attorney he was admired for not only his work, but his kindness, character, generosity, and sense of humor. The impact of his loss for our Firm and San Diego’s legal community is immeasurable, but we know Craig’s influence and his standard of professionalism and decency will continue to guide the Firm for many years to come.