The firm history can be traced back to the 1880s. William (“Billy”) N. Cronkite was born in Freeport and admitted to the Bar in 1884. He served as deputy county clerk from 1885-1894 when he opened an office at 145 Stephenson Street. In 1898, he was elected county judge but returned to private practice in 1902.1
Robert A. Hunter worked in his office and became a partner and then successor when Judge Cronkite died in 1918. Mr. Hunter continued to use the Cronkite office until it was destroyed by fire in 1957.
In 1931, Robert Capron (“Cape”) Hunter joined his father to form the firm of Hunter & Hunter. Gordon R. Hunter, born in 1912 in Freeport, was admitted to the Bar in 1940 and joined his father and brother in Hunter, Hunter & Hunter.
After the 1957 fire when the office burned with the First National Bank fire, the firm erected the building at 218 W. Exchange Street moving to it in February 1958.
James G. Madden joined the firm in 1960 after military service. The firm name was changed from Hunter, Hunter & Hunter to Hunter, Hunter & Madden.
Robert B. Plager associated with the firm in 1967 and H. Duane Hasting joined the firm in 1969. Upon Plager and Hasting becoming partners, the firm name was changed to Hunter, Madden, Plager & Hasting. Upon Madden’s departure in the early 1970s, the firm name became Hunter, Plager & Hasting.
Lyle A. Krug, an Orangeville native, associated with the firm in 1972 became a partner in the mid-1970s. On December 18, 1978, the firm name became Hunter, Plager, Hasting & Krug.
With the growth of the firm, the firm relocated to the Lincoln-Douglas Center, 10 N. Galena Avenue, Suite 300. On January 23, 1981, shortly after converting from a partnership to a professional corporation and upon Hunter’s departure in December of 1980, the firm name was changed to Plager, Hasting & Krug, Ltd.
During the 1980s, Robert E. Eden and Ralph E. Elliott were associated with the firm. Other associates from the 1980 through the 2005 included Mark E. Chipokas, Steven E. Brooks, Mark C. Benskin, and Beau T. Greiman.
Nicole M. Bauer joined the firm as an associate in 1996 and was admitted as a partner in 2000. On September 12, 2002, the firm name changed to Plager, Krug & Bauer, Ltd.
Jennifer L. Birkholz clerked with the firm and joined the firm as an associate in 2006 and later became a shareholder. The firm name was changed to Plager, Krug, Bauer & Birkholz, Ltd. Upon her spouse undertaking new employment responsibilities outside of Stephenson County, Jennifer Birkholz withdrew from the firm and the firm name reverted to Plager, Krug & Bauer, Ltd.
Charles B. Rudolph associated with the firm in 2010 and became a shareholder on
January 1, 2014. The firm name then became Plager, Krug, Bauer & Rudolph, Ltd.
On January 1, 2015, Robert B. Plager assumed the status “of counsel”.
Ryan R. Stodden became associated with the firm in 2016.
The firm currently has four attorneys and a staff of paralegals, legal assistants and administrative personnel totaling nine, including two CPAs.
1History of Stephenson County 1970