Ice Miller merging with smaller Ohio firm

Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis’ third-largest law firm, said it is merging with Schottenstein Zox and Dunn Co. of Columbus, Ohio.

Ice Miller is the larger firm, with 224 lawyers. SZD, Columbus’ fourth-largest law firm, has 90. Phil Bayt, Ice Miller’s chief managing partner, will serve as chief managing partner for the combined firm. Jim Davidson from SZD and Rob Gauss and Brenda Horn from Ice Miller will serve as deputy managing partners.

The combined firm, which will operate as Ice Miller, will rank among the 150 largest law firms in the United States. The merger is effective Jan. 1.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to build on the strengths of the combined firm with a talented team of 314 lawyers and 358 other professionals and staff," Bayt said.

Davidson, SZD's president, added: “The combination creates a bigger platform and even deeper levels of service, knowledge and experience.”

The deal is the latest in a wave of mergers sweeping through the legal community.

Baker & Daniels LLP, Indianapolis’ second-largest law firm, said this month that it is in merger discussions with a Minneapolis-based law firm Faegre & Benson LLP and hopes to complete a deal in October.

Baker & Daniels has 308 lawyers, while Faegre & Benson has 500.

Ice Miller almost merged with a smaller Louisville law firm in 2009, but broke off talks with Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC after months of negotiations.

Nationwide, the number of law firm mergers and acquisitions increased in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2010. Through June, 28 deals had been completed, a 47-percent increase from the first half of last year, according to Altman Weil Inc. consultancy in suburban Philadelphia.

Founded in 1910, Ice Miller has offices in Indianapolis, Chicago, and DuPage County, Ill.  Ice Miller Strategies, a government affairs unit, also has an office in Washington, D.C.

SZD, founded in 1966, has offices in Columbus and Cleveland.


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