Our firm came out of the early 1900’s law practice of Edward R. Baird, Jr., an admiralty attorney working in Norfolk and Portsmouth. Mr. Baird was born in Essex County, VA in 1867. In 1923, after about thirty years of practice, Mr. Baird joined with two other maritime attorneys, one from New York and one from Washington, D.C., and formed the new law firm Baird, White & Lanning, with an office in Norfolk. The main practice areas in the early years were admiralty and railroad law.
In 1950, the leading attorney in the firm was Mr. Baird’s son, Eddie (also known as Edward R. Baird, Jr.), who had joined the firm in 1933.
Three other UVA law graduates joined the firm as follows: Francis N. Crenshaw (1950), Guilford D. Ware (1952) and Walkley E. (“Johnny”) Johnson, Jr. (1960). During this time, the firm's offices were located in the National Bank of Commerce Building on Main Street in downtown Norfolk. The firm continued its maritime and railroad practice, but also did significant work for the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority. In 1962, the name of the firm became Baird, Crenshaw & Ware.
In 1968, the firm became one of the initial tenants in the new Virginia National Bank building (now Bank of America), moving onto the 16th floor under the new name of Crenshaw, Ware & Johnson.
In 1989, Johnny Johnson decided to retire to his family homestead on the Eastern Shore. At that time, the firm’s name was changed to Crenshaw, Ware & Martin.
In 1998, the firm celebrated its 75th anniversary. We remain grounded in the ethical principles that guided us throughout our history and are committed to the values, integrity and professional excellence that define our practice.
In July 2011, after forty-three years at One Commercial Place, the firm moved to its current home in the SunTrust Building at 150 West Main Street.
On September 26, 2013 Crenshaw, Ware & Martin celebrated its 90th anniversary with a special reception at the MacArthur Memorial Visitor Center in the heart of downtown Norfolk. The event featured displays about the firm’s history alongside the historical exhibits in the Visitor Center gallery.