1919 : Barnes, Chilvers & Halstead Opens Practice

The firm that would eventually become Barnes, Richardson & Colburn was founded in New York City in 1919 as Barnes, Chilvers & Halstead.

The firm’s three founding partners were Albert MacC. Barnes, Jr., Mr. Chilvers, and Frank M. Halstead. Barnes and Halstead had significant experience in the trade arena.

We’ve learned they founded the firm after both holding leadership positions in the Federal government.

Chilvers, on the other hand, has not left a significant paper trail therefore we know little about him.

Original Office located at 2 Rector Street, New York.

1920 : First Case - Treasury Decision 38397
The earliest documentation of the firm in Customs or court records that has been uncovered (so far) is Treasury Decision 38397 (May 4, 1920) decided before the United States Board of General Appraisers, which was a distant predecessor to the Court of International Trade.

The case itself regarded the exaction of duties against the Niagara Ferry & Transportation Company by the collector of customs at the Port of Buffalo.

Unfortunately, Mr. Barnes was not successful in his efforts to secure a refund. However, the decision highlights a number of changes that have occurred in customs and trade law since our founding in 1919 that we will explore in future entries.

1933 : Samuel Richardson Joins Firm

Samuel Richardson joined the firm in July of 1933, having previously held the position of Solicitor of Customs at New York.

When Richardson joined the firm, the partners agreed upon the name Barnes, Richardson & Halstead.



 2 Rector Street, New York
1935 : J. Bradley Colburn Joins Firm
J. Bradley Colburn, born in 1903, attended law school at George Washington University.

He spent a year in the Consular Service in London in the 1920s and was assistant to the General Counsel at the U.S. Tariff Commission from 1924 to 1928  predecessor to the U.S. International Trade Commission).

Colburn entered private practice in 1928 and in January 1935, he joined the firm.

1942 : Firm Name Becomes Barnes, Richardson & Colburn
The partners adopted the name Barnes, Richardson & Colburn on October 1, 1942 and it has remained since.
1946 : Samuel Richardson Retires
Samuel Richardson remained a partner until his retirement in January of 1946.

During his time at the firm, Richardson was involved in countless legal matters, a and participated in at least two Supreme Court cases.
1948 : Barnes, Richardson & Colburn Expands to Chicago

Barnes, Richardson & Colburn expands to a Chicago office in the historic Monadnock Building in 1948.

The historic Monadnock Building in Chicago.

Currently located at 303 East Wacker Dr. >


1956 : Barnes, Richardson & Colburn Expands to D.C.
Barnes, Richardson & Colburn opens Washington, D.C. office in The Hay-Adams hotel in 1956.

< The Hay-Adams hotel

Currently at 1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW,
Washington, D.C.
1963 : Original Founder, Albert MacC. Barnes Passes Away
Founder Albert MacC. Barnes was the Deputy Appraiser of Merchandise at the Port of New York prior to resigning in 1913 to take a role in the Assistant Attorney General’s Office, which is the last position he held before founding Barnes, Chilvers & Halstead in 1919.

During his practice, Barnes handled innumerable customs and trade matters, testified several times before Congress in his capacity as an American Bar Association committee head, and was very involved with the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce.

In 1948 Barnes was awarded the Royal Order of St. Olav Knight First Class for his “exceedingly valuable work and great personal endeavors over a long span of years in matters relating to Norway.” Barnes also participated in at least three Supreme Court cases.

Barnes remained a partner in the firm until his death in 1963.
1979 : J. Bradley Colburn Passes Away
J. Bradley Colburn remained a partner with the firm until his death in 1979.


Front Row : Gunter Von Conrad, James H. Lundquist, Joseph Schwartz, J. Bradley Colburn, Hadley King, Thomas Honey, Andrew P. Vance
Back Row : Jim Caffentzis, Ed Christopher, Tom O’Donnell, Richard King, Mike Stramiello, Ed Rains, Peter Fitch, Rufus E. Jarman, Steve Sonnenberg, Robert E. Burke, David O. Elliott, Donald J. Unger, H. Henning Vent

2013 : Barnes, Richardson and Colburn Becomes LLP

On January 1, 2013 Barnes, Richardson and Colburn becomes a Limited Liability Partnership:

Barnes, Richardson and Colburn, LLP

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