Aitken, Schauble, Patrick, Neill, Ruff & Shirley was founded in approximately 1894 by Thomas M. Neill, great-grandfather of present partner, Howard M. Neill.  Thomas Neill was the Superior Court Judge for Whitman County for a period of approximately four years during the earlier years of the establishment of the county, in the days where travel was accomplished by the use of the horse and buggy.  Judge Neill was instrumental in the decision to locate Washington State University at Pullman, Washington, and he helped form the Pullman Foundation, later merged into the Inland  Empire Foundation.

Following the demise of Thomas Neill in the mid to late 1930's, deceased partner, Hugh J. Aitken, took over the firm’s practice until Thomas Neill’s grandson, Marshall Neill, graduated from law school the following year.  Hugh Aitken later joined Marshall Neill in the practice, and the team of Neill & Aitken continued in partnership for the next ensuing approximately 30 years.  In 1967, Marshall Neill was appointed to the Washington State Supreme Court.  Judge Neill continued to act as Supreme Court Judge until 1972.  At this time, Judge Neill was appointed to the Federal District Court bench for the Ninth Circuit, where he continued as a Federal District Court Judge until the date  of his death, in 1979.  Hugh J. Aitken passed away on October 10, 1997 at the age of ninety-two.  He was active in the practice of law p to a few years before his death.

Throughout the past approximate 115 years of its existence, the firm has continued its tradition of providing personalized service to its clientele in the spirit and attitude of a small town practice.  The firm continues to service many of its original clients’ descendants, and the firm’s partners often have been looked upon by some of its clients as long-time friends of the family.

Since the days of Judges Thomas Neill and Marshall Neill, the firm has continued to play a significant role in the continuing evolution of the law.  As a result of a case argued by Al Schauble in approximately 1962, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that parents were entitled to recover certain losses for the wrongful death of a minor child.  Robert Patrick has further received  distinction for having argued constitutional issues to the United States Supreme Court, resulting in a decision of the Washington State Supreme Court on remand, that more clearly defined an individual’s rights to privacy and identified proper police procedure mandating the use of search warrants where contraband remained in plain view.

The firm is also responsible for several landmark cases affecting wide spread changes in pre-existing law pertaining to agri-business issues.  As a result of a case argued by the firm, the Social Security Administration changed its regulations in order to permit social security recipients to carry over crop without loss of social security benefits.  Due to the ruling of the Federal District Court in another case argued by the firm, the Internal Revenue Service changed its position in all future cases regarding the taxability to the transferor of growing crops into a corporation.

In addition to its main office in Pullman, Washington, the firm maintains branch offices in Colfax, Washington and St. John, Washington.

The firm’s goal is to continue to provide effective personal and small town service to its clientele. 

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