Mergers transform Indianapolis legal landscape

December 29, 2008
Indianapolis law firms finally jumped in a big way into the merger mania that's sweeping the legal profession.

The activity began in May when Sommer Barnard PC, the city's seventh-largest firm, merged with Cincinnati-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP and took its name.

In December, IBJ reported that Ice Miller, the city's largest law firm, is poised to merge with Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC, a smaller firm based in Louisville. Days later, Locke Reynolds LLP, the city's eighth-largest firm, announced it would be absorbed into Frost Brown Todd LLC in Cincinnati on Jan. 5.

If both deals close as expected, Indianapolis' legal landscape will have been transformed in a matter of months.

Nationally, the number of mergers and acquisitions has been rising for years, as partners look to add more talent and offices to remain competitive. Such deals spare law firms the exorbitant expense and time it would take to grow on their own.

For Locke Reynolds, its 79 attorneys will join forces with Frost Brown's roster of 370 spread among nine locations in five states. Frost Brown is one of the 150 largest law firms in the country.

Jim Dimos, a Locke Reynolds partner, said the merger will give his firm access to more resources and make it more competitive as a result.

Similar forces are driving Ice Miller's merger with Greenebaum Doll. Sources told IBJ the firms are working toward merg ing after the first of the year. Ice Miller has 263 attorneys, compared with Greenebaum Doll's 180.
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