Law firm launches economic development consultancy

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Indianapolis’ largest law firm, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, announced Tuesday the launch of an economic development and financing consultancy called BT ProjectPoint LLC.

The new venture is located in its downtown headquarters at 11 S. Meridian St. and is managed by Douglass Dalton and Brian Wahl. Barnes & Thornburg said it has has no ownership stake in the company.

Dalton spent the past 10 years as vice president of the capital markets group at Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Securities Inc., where he focused on financing and incentives for corporate and not-for-profit clients. Wahl founded CFG LLC, an Indianapolis-based project-finance consultancy in which he served as president.

BT ProjectPoint will target small and midsize companies, real estate developers and not-for-profits seeking economic development incentives and project financing.

“Wading through economic development and project financing alternatives can be a daunting task for any company or group,” Barnes & Thornburg Managing Partner Alan A. Levin said in a prepared statement. “Our strategic alliance with BT ProjectPoint makes perfect sense and will help us ensure that clients have thorough and independent project-planning advice available to them from the earliest stage.”

Offering additional services to complement their legal work in an attempt to attract more clients is common among larger law firms.  

Similar to BT ProjectPoint is Indianapolis-based Bingham McHale LLP’s Bingham Economic Development Advisors LLC, which launched in 2007. There also is locally based Ginovus. It was founded in 2002 by Larry Gigerich, economic director under former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, as an affiliate of the former Sommer Barnard law firm.

Barnes & Thornburg also provides trial consulting, graphic design and opinion research services to law firms, businesses and government entities under its ThemeVision LLC subsidiary.

And, until August, the law firm had an ownership stake in the FlashPoint human resources consultancy. Its principals, Krista Skidmore and Andrea Cranfill, founded FlashPoint in 2002 and affiliated with Barnes & Thornburg the same year to provide human-resources consulting services to the firm’s clients.

The two, however, obtained sole ownership of FlashPoint in August after purchasing remaining shares from the law firm.

With 226 lawyers in Indianapolis, Barnes & Thornburg is the city’s largest law firm, according to the latest IBJ statistics. It has a total of 484 lawyers in 11 offices nationwide.


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