Established in 1939 by Dutch Higgs and Ferd Fletcher, Higgs Fletcher & Mack is the oldest law firm in San Diego. Over a history that spans a lifetime, HFM has evolved into one of San Diego’s most respected law firms, providing consistent results and a commitment to the community. 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.
As the legal environment has changed over time, so has our expertise. Now with 23 practice areas and more than 75 attorneys we’ve not only grown in size, we’ve expanded our ability to advise on 21st century legal issues like healthcare and technology, immigration and intellectual property. Our lawyers lead landmark cases both locally and internationally, and are at the forefront their respective fields.
Everyday we are reminded of the hard work and passion that inspired our firm and confidently set our course. Our attorneys are committed to the vision of our founders to provide sound advice and comprehensive representation for your legal issues. We can’t wait to work with you.
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.
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.
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 on Point Loma.
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.
Mr. Fletcher volunteers for the Navy and becomes an intelligence officer.
Mr. Higgs, Mr. Glen, and Mr. Fletcher return from the service.
San Diego’s first freeway, the Cabrillo Freeway through Balboa Park, is completed.
After his discharge, Mr. Fletcher returns to defend property owners against the federal government in Kearney Mesa, Camp Gillespie, El Cajon, and Coronado.
Governor Earl Warren appoints Mr. Glen to the Superior Court, and the firm becomes Miller, Higgs & Fletcher.
Mr. Higgs serves as City Attorney for Chula Vista (1940-42 and 1946-47).
Mr. Higgs negotiates a deal by which Rohr Industries moves to Chula Vista as the aviation industry gives way to the aerospace industry.
The firm serves as special counsel to the Cities of Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, and Imperial Beach.
Mr. Fletcher represents the development of the Loma Santa Fe community, as well as the Ed Fletcher Company, Cameron Brothers Construction, and Tech Built Construction Company, as well as the Armed Services YMCA.
Ferd Fletcher is elected President of the San Diego County Bar Association.
Henry Pitts Mack, former Chief Deputy District Attorney for San Diego County, leaves Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye and joins the firm, which becomes Miller, Higgs Fletcher & Mack, and later Higgs Fletcher & Mack.
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.
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.
The firm builds its own building at 3rd and Juniper, which it occupies until 1963.
Mr. Higgs co-chairs Proposition 1 that brings Northern California water to Southern California.
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.
Home Federal Savings & Loan Association builds the Home Tower at 7th and Broadway, the first high rise constructed during the rejuvenation period of Downtown San Diego.
The firm moves to Home Tower after outgrowing its own building at 3rd and Juniper.
University of California opens its 1,000 acre campus in La Jolla.
Higgs Fletcher & Mack merges with the firm of Jennings, Engstrand & Hendrickson and becomes Higgs, Jennings, Fletcher & Mack.
Mr. Higgs becomes the first San Diegan appointed to the University of California Board of Regents, and serves 16 years.
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.
Also during the ’70s, Higgs Fletcher & Mack successfully represents approximately 35 insurance companies and their insured after the Pine Hills, Ramona, and Laguna Mountain fires.
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.
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.
The North County office relocates to Escondido Boulevard.
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.
Higgs Fletcher & Mack moves to the Columbia Center, our current home.
Craig Higgs becomes the fourth partner and fifth member of HF&M to be elected President of the San Diego County Bar Association.
Higgs Fletcher & Mack settles 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.
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 next year.
HF&M 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.
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.
The Firm celebrates 70 years in the practice of law in San Diego, renewing its lease at the Columbia Center for 10 more years. A major facelift of the reception area occurs, including replacing the spiral stairwell, and installing state of the art wall panels in the Large and Small Boardrooms that can be retracted into custom closets to allow 200-person plus gatherings in the lobby.
A complete rebranding of the Firm is undertaken to better communicate its unique strengths and capabilities in helping clients navigate the complexities and challenges of the modern legal and business environment.
Higgs Fletcher & Mack contributes over 7,500 hours of community service in celebration of its 75th Anniversary and commitment to San Diego.
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.
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. The initiatives also come with hands-on internship opportunities and mentorship programs for these individuals.
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. The Tier 1 rankings were in the Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation, Immigration Law, Insurance Law, Litigation – Tax, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants practice areas. Additionally, Higgs received Tier 2 rankings in six other practice areas covering Arbitration, Employment Law – Individuals, Family Law, Health Care Law, Mediation and Tax Law.
Steven J. Cologne Named Managing Partner.
John Morrell assumes the duties of Chairman Emeritus, the first ever to serve in this position.
In 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.
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.