By Kendra Hartsell
After 45 years of practicing law in Monticello, Greg Smith has decided to retire from the only law firm he has ever worked at – the same firm he first founded in 1968 with colleague Gary Pringle, known today as Smith, Paulson, O’Donnell & Associates.
Smith began his career as a lawyer on Oct. 18, 1968, when, just two days after being sworn in by the Minnesota Supreme Court and admitted to practice law in Minnesota, he and Gary Pringle opened a law office in Monticello at 107 N.Walnut St. under the name of Smith & Pringle.
The next day, the partners opened a checking account with a $25 cash fee they had received.
“Quite a shoe-string beginning,” Smith said, laughing. Before opening their own firm, Smith had been working as a probation officer for Hennepin County and Pringle was a clerk to the Honorable Harry Blackmun, U. S. District Judge for the 8th Circuit, who later served eleven years as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
But the partners both valued living in a small town and considered themselves very fortunate to be able to open their own firm and raise their families in Monticello.
Smith remembers the city being very different 45 years ago.“At that time, there was no real development south of where the freeway is now,” Smith recalls. “There was no freeway yet – just Highway 52 through town. There was only one intersection controlled by a signal light at Broadway and Highway 25, and that would blink yellow and red after hours.
“The present location of The Station, even before it was Maus Foods, was a dandy pheasant hunting spot,” Smith added. “The Monte Club and the River Inn were very popular supper clubs; people came from many miles away.”
According to Smith, his new firm continued to grow along with the town.
See the Oct. 17 print edition of the Monticello Times for the complete story.