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This is the first in a series of articles celebrating FOS’s 60th anniversary. This article highlights the firm’s origins and early years, including the pivotal role of FOS’s “big three,” including firm founder William Fitzhugh Fox. If you have any stories, pictures, or video regarding FOS’s history which you’d be willing to share, please send to or call 414-273-3939.


In June of 1961, young Bill Fox, who had just graduated law school, was hired as an associate attorney by John Cahill of the downtown Milwaukee Cahill & Binder law firm.  Fox quickly became an adept corporate attorney, serving businesses, their owners, and their families.

Soon after, Attorney Binder, the “Binder” of “Cahill & Binder,” unexpectedly died.  Fox then joined Cahill as partner of their newly-named firm, Cahill & Fox. The firm became a successful and well-regarded general practice business law firm, which it remains today.

As the firm’s reputation and client base continued to grow, its practice areas expanded to fit the needs of its clients. In 1968, the late Charles Carpenter joined the firm as its estate planner. The next year, the late former Milwaukee Assistant District Attorney Bruce C. O’Neill joined FOS as head of its commercial litigation and family law practices. In 1973, Thomas P. Shannon joined the firm as head of its corporate and real estate law practices. Shannon’s membership in the Illinois bar also provided the firm a vital presence in the Illinois courts. Cahill & Fox changed its name to Fox, Carpenter, O’Neill & Shannon.

Upon Carpenter’s death, the firm shortened its name to Fox, O’Neill & Shannon, and the “FOS” of Fox, O’Neill & Shannon was complete. Since then, FOS has increased both the number of attorneys providing legal services and the areas in which those services are practiced. From business law to real estate transactions, civil litigation to criminal defense, estate planning to tax matters, to international commercial transactions, FOS continues to provide first-tier legal services for its clients.

Much has changed in the six decades since the days of Cahill & Binder. Nonetheless, the critical elements of successfully practicing law remain the same: assess the client’s legal needs, apply the legal knowledge and practical experience of seasoned attorneys, and bring about a successful resolution which fulfills the client’s needs and wants. Fox and Shannon, of course, remain valued practicing attorneys, also serving as role models for the firm’s other attorneys.

As FOS rings through its 60th year, the firm remains committed and proud to provide high-quality, efficient, and cost-effective legal services for its Milwaukee, Wisconsin, national and international clients.  FOS is thankful for the legacy laid by FOS’s “big three,” as well as the legacies to be made by its current attorneys. Above all, FOS thanks you, our valued clients, for allowing us to serve you for the past 60 years. And far into the future.