GKH founding partners Mel Hess, John Gibbel and Elvin Kraybill
This year Gibbel Kraybill & Hess LLP, one of Lancaster’s oldest law firms, celebrates its 40th anniversary.
The firm, founded in 1977 by partners John Gibbel, Elvin Kraybill and Melvin Hess, initially had office space in a three-story row home at 113 North Lime Street in Lancaster city. John Gibbel also maintained an office at 10 South Broad Street in Lititz.
When the office space at 113 North Lime became crowded, the growing firm purchased the buildings on either side. Connecting doors were cut into the walls on all three floors, providing adequate space as additional attorneys and support staff were hired.
In 1987 the partnership purchased the Berks Optical building at 41 East Orange Street to replace the increasingly inadequate North Lime Street space. The partners intended to keep and restore the original façade, with all-new construction behind it. As construction progressed, however, the façade collapsed, leaving only a decorative sunburst intact. The sunburst was salvaged and integrated into the lobby décor of the newly constructed building.
40th anniversary open house
In the summer of 2014, with the loss of half the Lancaster office parking lot to the City Hall expansion and the Lititz office bursting at the seams, the partners once again recognized a need for additional and more efficient space. The former Manheim Township School District offices at 2933 Lititz Pike were on the market, and after a lengthy discernment process, GKH purchased the condo unit in December 2014.
After an extensive rebuild, the Lititz and downtown Lancaster offices closed on August 13, 2015, and GKH reopened the following week in its current 2933 Lititz Pike location. This space provides increased efficiency, more opportunity for collaboration between attorneys and staff, plenty of client parking, and an attractive and spacious facility that combines modern comfort and accessibility with the best aspects of GKH’s 40 year history of legal service to the residents, businesses, churches and nonprofits in Lancaster County and beyond.
Since its founding, GKH has grown to 16 attorneys and a dedicated and experienced support staff. Its attorneys represent clients in a broad range of legal matters. In addition, the firm maintains by-appointment office space at 135 North Duke Street in downtown Lancaster, and Suburban Square in Ardmore.
John Gibbel, the firm’s poet laureate, summarized GKH’s 40 year history this way: “It has been a wonderful journey, not always a piece of cake, but always fruitful and a blessed time of walking together for purposes greater than our own individual efforts.”
On October 6, attorneys Mel Hess, Peter Kraybill and Justin Bollinger rappelled 11 stories down the side of Ruoff Tower in Lancaster to raise funds for SouthEast Lancaster Health Services (SELHS).
Sponsoring the SELHS Over the Edge fundraiser entitled GKH to one rappeller. Attorney Hess accepted the challenge, quickly raising enough money to allow two more rappellers for Team GKH. Attorneys Hess, Kraybill and Bollinger raised a combined total of $5,305.00 in support of a hardworking nonprofit that provides a wide range of health services to 22,000 of our neighbors here in Lancaster every year. Mel Hess was the event’s second highest fundraiser, with his supporters contributing a total of $3,715.00.
“Until a year ago I wasn’t attuned to the scope of services and the numbers of persons SELHS serves,” said Mel. “It is truly remarkable when one considers how little money is provided the Health Center for its services. And in this day and age when due to the political chaos in our nation the right to health services is so uncertain, SELHS’s continuing presence in the Lancaster County community is more important than ever.”
Friends, co-workers and clients may continue to support Mel, Peter or Justin by contributing via their fundraising pages by the end of the day on Monday, October 16. Contributions help promote and ensure the continuing health of the greater Lancaster community.
Mel Hess (left) and Justin Bollinger (right)
Many thanks to all who contributed, and to those who came out to cheer them on as they made their descent.
Jonna E. Stratton
Attorney Jonna Stratton served as a panelist and presenter at “First Steps To Starting Your Business” on October 6. Attorney Stratton discussed the legal structures available to Pennsylvania residents who wish to form businesses in Pennsylvania.
The business workshop was sponsored by the Small Business Development Center of Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. The workshop allowed for an open dialogue with the participants on critical issues for entrepreneurs. In addition to attorney Stratton, other professional presenters included an insurance agent, an accountant, and representatives from various local agencies dedicated to supporting business owners.
Gibbel Kraybill & Hess LLP has once again been voted one of Lancaster’s favorite law firms in the 2017 LNP Readers’ Choice Awards. GKH was also named as one of Lancaster’s best law firms by Lancaster County Magazine.
GKH is grateful for this unique honor. It has been our privilege to serve the people and businesses of our community for 40 years. By forging strong relationships built on trust, we always represent our clients’ interests with excellence and integrity.
Thanks to all who cast a vote for GKH. We are honored by your confidence in us. In turn, we honor the many clients we have worked with for decades and welcome new clients seeking legal expertise.
Attorney Ann Martin presented a workshop on Advance Planning at Ridgeview Mennonite Church on Saturday, September 23. During the session, attorney Martin discussed the importance of advance planning, including wills, financial and health care powers of attorney, living wills, Out of Hospital Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders and Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). Advance planning provides loved ones and medical caregivers with clear instructions on how to respond in the event of our physical decline and death.
The September 23 session was the second of a three-part series on end-of-life planning, using material from Everence. Believing that peace of mind often results from knowing that our wishes are understood, Everence created the End-of Life curriculum to help people think and talk about this difficult but important issue.