Faegre Baker Daniels and Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath on Tuesday confirmed they were merging after an affirmative vote by the partnerships of both law firms.
The announcement comes about a month after the firms told the Indiana Lawyer that they were in discussions about such a move.
The combined firm, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, will begin operations Feb. 1, with Faegre Managing Partner Tom Froehle, who is based in Indianapolis, serving as co-chairman alongside Andrew Kassner, chairman and CEO of Drinker Biddle & Reath.
Faegre Drinker’s headcount will rise to more than 1,300 attorneys and consultants in 22 offices across the United States, China and the United Kingdom, making it one of the nation’s 50 largest law firms based on both size and projected gross revenue of nearly $1 billion, according to a written statement.
Indianapolis will be home to the combined firm’s second-largest office following Minneapolis. It also will have large offices in Chicago, Minneapolis, and Washington, D.C. Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP will not have a formal headquarters.
Faegre Baker Daniels, which also does not designate a particular city as headquarters, is the second-largest law firm in the Indianapolis market, with 198 attorneys locally and 372 full-time employees, according to data collected by IBJ as of May 2019. Firmwide, Faegre has more than 750 legal professionals in 10 offices nationwide, as well as two offices in China.
The merger does away with the names of Baker and Daniels, which had been part of the Indianapolis law firm’s moniker for 130 years. Former Indiana Gov. Conrad Baker joined Hendricks Hord and Hendricks in 1873 and the firm became Baker Hord and Hendricks. After Edward Daniels joined as partner, the firm became Baker & Daniels from 1889 to 2011, when it merged with Minneapolis-based Faegre & Benson LLP.
Drinker Biddle & Reath is a national, full-service law firm providing litigation, regulatory and business services to public and private corporations, multinational Fortune 100 companies and startups, according to its website. Founded in 1849, the Philly-based firm consists of 575 lawyers across 12 offices nationwide in the Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and California.
The combined firm’s corporate and business litigation teams will maintain more than 200 attorneys, while the product liability and intellectual property attorneys will both number around 150, according to data provided by the new entity.
The merger will also offer new practice capabilities and increased regulatory expertise in areas such as employee benefits, finance and restructuring, government advocacy, health, insurance, investment management, labor and employment, private client, and real estate, the combined firm said.
Froehle and Kassner characterized the merger as a combination of equals.
“This strategic combination allows us to stay true to our shared values while leveraging the considerable resources of the new firm to deliver to clients the sophisticated solutions and exceptional service that they expect,” they said in a joint statement. “The broader platform will accelerate our investments in talent, technology and innovation to provide improved service and greater value to clients.”
Ultimately, the combination is about making sure the firm can better serve clients, Froehle said.
“From a client perspective we think this is a real positive in terms of capabilities to what we can offer to our clients,” he said. The combined firm’s niche, he added, is to deliver client services in a way that is different from its competitors.
“We believe that we have that excellence without arrogance, that we are focused on listening and trying to understand what the client wants,” Froehle said. “This is all about trying to be responsive to clients and their need.”
No consolidations will take place with either of Indiana’s two offices, he said.
“We have a long history of being involved, not just as leaders in the legal community but in the broader community, and that’s a part of our culture, as well,” Froehle said. “We want to make sure that we continue to do that and are committed to making that happen.”
The new firm’s executive leadership team will include Faegre Baker Daniels partner David Barrett, who is based in Indianapolis, and partner Jack Sperber, who is based in Denver, as well as Faegre Vice Chairwoman and Chief Operating Partner Gina Kastel, who is based in Minneapolis.
From Drinker Biddle, executive partners Bill Connolly and Judy Reich will also serve as executive partners, with chief operating officer Jane Koehl continuing as COO of the combined firm.
The merger is the third since the start of 2019 involving some of the largest law firms in the Indianapolis market. In October, Bingham Greenebaum Doll, the city’s sixth-largest firm, announced a combination with Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. Months earlier, Taft Stettinius & Hollister, Indianapolis’ fourth-largest firm, announced it would merge with Minneapolis-based Briggs and Morgan as of Jan. 1.