Following Judge Loud’s death in 1935, W. B. Leavitt continued the firm as a solo practice, eventually partnering with James P. Lucas in 1951, and the firm’s name was changed to Leavitt & Lucas. At this time, the Leavitt & Lucas firm was located on the 700 block of Main Street, above Epstein's Dress Shop, more recently NZ Shoes, and currently Stockman Bank. Mr. Lucas recalls that there were 24 stairs to get to the Leavitt & Lucas office. W. B. Leavitt died while on vacation with his wife in 1956.
In 1889, Charles H. Loud came to Miles City, Montana from his native Weymouth, Massachusetts where he was a surveyor, after having worked briefly in the cattle business along Pumpkin Creek, Montana as manager and owner of The Hereford Livestock Co. In 1889, C. H. Loud was a member of the constitutional convention which framed the original Montana Constitution, and was elected to the Montana House of Representatives in the first Montana election, serving from 1890-1891.
While in Miles City, Loud read the law and was admitted to the bar in 1891. C. H. Loud engaged in an active private practice, was a Captain in the Army as a JAG officer, and was the Custer County Attorney from 1892 through 1896. Loud prosecuted the first criminal case in Custer County after statehood. In 1896, Loud was elected District Court Judge for the Montana 7th Judicial District, comprising of the counties of Custer, Yellowstone and Dawson. Judge Loud returned to private practice following his years on the bench, and was involved in what was known as a “circuit riding” practice, which was a horseback traveling law practice spanning much of Eastern Montana, including Miles City, Forsyth, Red Lodge and Billings.
Lucas & Tonn, P.C. has been trusted for over 100 years to provide professional legal services to our clients, their families, and the businesses of Southeastern Montana.
In 1958, Mr. Lucas partnered with attorney Bill Jardine, and the firm’s name was changed to Lucas & Jardine. Lucas & Jardine relocated their office to 513 Main Street, which is the building that Lucas & Tonn is located in today. Tom Monaghan joined the firm in 1968, and the firm name changed to Lucas, Jardine & Monaghan. In 1972, Jardine left the firm to open a separate practice. A. Lance Tonn joined the firm in 1978, and Gary L. Day joined in 1981. At this time, the firm’s name was Lucas, Monaghan, Tonn & Day. Gary Day was appointed as District Court Judge for the 16th Judicial District by Governor Marc Racicot in 1997 following the death of Judge Kenneth Wilson earlier that year. In 2000, Tom Monaghan died after succumbing to brain cancer, and after Monaghan’s passing, the firm name was shortened to Lucas & Tonn. A. Lance Tonn died in 2010 following a long battle with Leukemia.
For the first time since 1958, James P. Lucas was the only attorney in the firm. In 2011, attorneys Daniel Z. Rice and Bryant S. Martin partnered with Mr. Lucas. In 2015, Mr. James P. Lucas retired from the firm and is enjoying spending time with family.
Today the attorneys at Lucas & Tonn, P.C. continue to provide legal services to Miles City, carrying forward a practice which originated in the earliest days of Miles City with Charles H. Loud’s private practice in 1891.
Loud’s Billings practice eventually became what is now the Moulton Bellingham firm. C. H. Loud partnered with attorney William B. Leavitt in Miles City in 1913. The law firm of Loud & Leavitt specialized in the areas of corporate, commercial, real estate and probate law. The firm also ran a collection agency out of their office. In 1921, a national publication titled The Bar Register was released, and was “published in response to a demand from the leading law firms throughout the country for a list of lawyers of superior ability who may be retained with absolute confidence.” This publication contained only one listing of preeminent law firms for the area of Custer County and Miles City, being the law offices of Loud & Leavitt.
During the early years of Mr. Leavitt’s practice, when he had trials in Broadus, he and opposing counsel would often share a horse drawn buggy to make the trip from Miles City to Broadus along with their files. In those days, the lawyers would make it as far as Olive, Montana on the first day, stay the night, and then make their way to Broadus the next morning.