Bingham merging with Dentons, bringing biggest global law firm to Indiana

denton Bingham
From left, Bingham Greenebaum Doll partner Keith Bice, Joseph Andrew, global chairman of Dentons, and W. Tobin McClamroch, managing partner of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, pose for a photo at Bingham Greenebaum Doll’s Indianapolis office. (IL photo/Marilyn Odendahl)

In a move that’s expected to transform the Indiana legal landscape, Bingham Greenebaum Doll has announced it will be combining with Dentons, the world’s largest law firm.

The combination, expected to become effective in January, is part of Dentons’ push to create a national firm with a presence in all the top markets in the country. With offices already in such cities as New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Denver, Dentons will be merging with Bingham as well as Pittsburgh-based Cohen & Grisby.

The addition of 176 attorneys from Bingham Greenebaum Doll and 140-plus from Cohen & Grisby will bring Dentons’ U.S. headcount to nearly 1,100 attorneys.

The combined firm will have offices in 33 U.S. markets, including nine of the 10 largest markets and 14 of the top 20. Its U.S. headcount will make it the 10th largest law firm in the country. Worldwide, the firm will have more than 10,000 lawyers in 181 locations and 73 countries.

Bingham’s offices in Indianapolis, Evansville and Jasper as well as in Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati will be renamed Dentons Bingham Greenebaum.

Bingham Managing Partner W. Tobin McClamroch said the decision to combine was propelled by the needs of clients and continuing technology changes. Clients are increasingly asking for help with legal work in foreign countries while technological costs are rising as the capabilities of computers and software advances.

Combining with Dentons gives Bingham the ability to offer more services to its clients.

“We’ll be able to connect our clients to the deepest reservoir of talented lawyers and, at the same time, connect our clients to a technology platform that’s been recognized as one of the most innovative platforms in the world,” McClamroch said.

The conversation between Dentons and Bingham Greenebaum started in late spring 2018 when Joe Andrew, former partner at Bingham, arrived in Indianapolis to make a proposal to McClamroch and partner Keith Bice.

Andrew, now global chairman of Dentons, said his firm looked at the United States and realized there is no national firm. The big law offices in the country are located in a few major markets, but no firm has a footprint in all of the top 20 markets. He said clients are everywhere, so law firms should be as well, just like big national accounting firms.

The unique aspect of Dentons’ national business model is that the local offices, like Bingham, will maintain their relationships with existing clients and will continue to set their own rates.

“The idea is that if you have familiarity with the dynamics of a given place, you’re going to be better, you’re going to get better service for your clients as well,” Andrew said, explaining that local attorneys know the nuances of their communities, which will help them get a deal done.

“This is an incredible opportunity to connect our clients to a national and global platform,with partners we trust to provide the best possible service to our clients in a variety of practice areas and markets,” McClamroch said. “We are excited to join the Dentons platform and to take part in a combination that allows us to retain local autonomy of rates and relationships.”

Bingham Greenebaum Doll was formed in 2010 when Indianapolis-based Bingham McHale merged with Louisville-based Greenebaum Doll McDonald. The firm is the sixth largest in Indianapolis, with 84 local attorneys.

Bingham McHale’s roots dated to 1919, and the firm formerly was known as Bingham Summers Welsh & Spilman. It merged with local competitor McHale Cook & Welch PC in 2001 to form Bingham McHale.

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