Lawyers scatter after century-old Carmel firm closes

A 100-year-old law firm in Hamilton County has dissolved, and a majority of its attorneys have launched new practices.

Campbell Kyle Proffitt LLP, which was headquartered in Carmel but also maintained an office in downtown Noblesville, closed at the end of April.

andrew m barker mug Andrew Barker

The firm typically had between 10 and 17 practicing attorneys, and 12 attorneys were on staff when it closed, including six partners. The two former senior partners—Anne Hensley Poindexter and Andrew Barker—made the decision to dissolve.

“It’s almost like a divorce,” Barker said. “There’s no one event that causes people to not be together anymore.”

Barker said a “series of events” caused three partners—Russell Cate, Stephenie Gookins and John Terry—to leave in December. They then formed the Carmel-based firm Cate Terry & Gookins LLC.

“That shook the ground for us, but we were still going to survive,” Barker said. But then several other attorneys wanted to leave in March.

“Too many people decided they wanted to leave,” Barker said. “There weren’t enough people here.”

Anne Hensley Poindexter mugAnne Hensley Poindexter

Barker, who had practiced with CKP since becoming an attorney in 1988, said he’s “devastated” by the split.

“I would have finished my career here,” Barker said. “I was rocked.”

Since CKP dissolved, most of the firm’s attorneys have have joined other practices or started new ones.

Barker, along with fellow CKPers Keith Hancock and Travis Cohron, started Barker Hancock & Cohron LLC.

“I love my new law firm, but I miss Campbell Kyle Proffitt,” Barker said.

Poindexter started Altman Poindexter & Wyatt LLC with Hamilton County Commissioner Christine Altman and CKP attorney Scott Wyatt. They were also joined by CKP's John Proffitt.

Three attorneys founded their own practices. Casandra Nelson formed the Law Office of Casandra J. Nelson LLC; Rodney Sarkovics formed Sarkovics Law LLC; and N. Scott Smith formed Smith Legal LLC.

Deborah Farmer Smith and William Wendling Jr. joined Cohen Garelick & Glazier PC.

Poindexter said she doesn’t think losing the name recognition of CKP will negatively impact the attorneys now at different firms.

“It was a well established name,” Poindexter said of CKP. “But all of the lawyers to varying degrees were very active in the community and had their own name recognition.”

Poindexter said the decision was made in mid-to-late March, and clients were notified of the dissolution.

“I think for the overwhelming majority of our lawyers, I believe that clients chose to follow their particular lawyer to the next location,” she said.

The predecessor to Campbell Kyle Proffitt was founded in 1915 and went through a handful of name changes over the years. Its attorneys practiced several areas of law, including family and divorce, criminal, estate planning, real estate, land use and business.

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