Our firm began in 1910 when Clarence W. Heyl opened his law practice in Peoria, Illinois. Clarence quickly established a reputation as one of the premier trial lawyers in downstate Illinois. Although he handled many types of cases, Clarence built a strong practice in the field of insurance defense. Clarence also earned respect for his ethics and professionalism, eventually being honored as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and with election as President of the Illinois State Bar Association.
A large number of associates worked in Clarence's practice. One of these was Clarence's son-in-law, John H. Royster. John's specialty was transactional practice, which meshed well with the already existing trial practice of the firm. John became a partner and grew the firm's practice in areas of corporate, real estate, probate, and trust law, until his retirement.
Just after World War II, William J. Voelker, Jr. joined the firm, and in 1948, the firm of Heyl, Royster & Voelker was established. Bill was an outstanding trial lawyer and later took over management of the firm. Bill was elected President of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel in 1970, the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education in 1973-77, and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Lyle W. Allen joined the firm in 1951. Lyle had a broad practice and was one of the first lawyers in downstate Illinois to represent doctors in malpractice cases, gaining a particularly fine reputation in that field. In 1962, the firm changed its name to Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen. Lyle was elected President of the Illinois State Bar Association in 1972-73, and was a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
The expansion of our firm has been continuous since the early 1970's. Offices were opened in Springfield (1970), Urbana (1981), Rockford (1985), Edwardsville (1987), North Peoria (2004), and Chicago (2010). During this period, the number of lawyers in the firm grew substantially, as did the areas in which our firm regularly practices.
Today Heyl Royster has more than 100 lawyers and represents clients in all 102 counties in Illinois as well as in Missouri and Wisconsin. We are the largest firm in Illinois headquartered outside of Chicago and are one of the largest 50 firms in the state. With a national reputation in litigation, we also have a strong and growing transactional practice. Our more experienced lawyers are routinely rated as among the best in Illinois in their fields of practice and several have been elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers and College of Workers Compensation Lawyers. We remain active and prominent in professional organizations. Three of our lawyers have served as President of the Illinois State Bar Association and four of our lawyers have served as President of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel. One of our partners is the President-Elect of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys. Partners of our firm have also served as Presidents of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association, the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, Lawyers for Civil Justice, and many other professional organizations.
From 1910 until today, our philosophy remains the same as Mr. Heyl's - to put the needs of our clients first and to represent our clients efficiently and effectively.