The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


September 27, 2013

Famous Clinton Lawyers

Picture: Eugene Burke with Presidential Candidate Adlai Stevenson at the 1956 Convention. Gene Burke was a friend of both Stevenson and his father. The young man is Jack Wolfe, a protégé’ of Burke's and now a prominent lawyer in Clinton.


Clinton lawyers in our history are a group of hugely contributing citizens. One veteran lawyer, Prentice Shaw, recently said, “Years ago, you could really count on the word of your fellow attorneys.--- Yes, Paul Holleran and Ed Halbach might have words about a case and not speak to each other for a while, but then they would go off on a vacation together and be friends again.”


You can see all the Clinton County Lawyers since 1880, pictured and framed, on the wall between the second and third floor of the newly decorated and restored Clinton County Courthouse. It is a worthwhile trip, both to review the history of the law profession and to see the beautiful rooms of our courthouse.


One multi-talented Clinton lawyer was Eugene Burke, who passed away quietly June 13, 1972. He was, like many, a big man in a small pond, who did his best to help in any given situation. Burke was an attorney and had been practicing law in Clinton since 1916. His Clinton Herald obituary mentioned that he was one of Clinton County’s most prominent Democratic Party members. He died at 78 years of age, while residing at the Wyndcrest Nursing home.


Eugene Burke and Homer Smith were both honored at a Bar Association dinner in 1966, as being lawyers worthy of note for having completed 50 years of service. It should be

mentioned that Mr. Smith was also a World War I flying ace, who returned to “hang out a shingle” in Clinton. Mr. Burke was an avid and knowledgeable Clinton historian, as well as a practicing attorney. He could scarcely stop and chat with someone on the street without giving a mini-lecture on the history of Clinton. His talents were also put to use as President of the Clinton Public Library Board.

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