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Late one snowy evening in February 1979, Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue partner Brian Elmer returned from work to find the power knocked out in his Arlington, Va., home. When he walked in the front door, he saw his wife, three children, and dog huddled together for warmth in the dark living room. Elmer, who had just come from a meeting where his D.C. partners decided to risk everything and break away from their Cleveland parent, recalls having just one thought at that moment: “What have I done?”

“We’d invested a lot in the Jones, Day office and now we were going to have to start from scratch. We really had no experience to tell us whether clients would come with us or not,” Elmer explains.

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