ILNews

Ohio law firm acquires Indianapolis firm

Scott Olson
March 17, 2010
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One of Indianapolis' oldest law practices has been absorbed by a Cleveland law firm.

Dann Pecar Newman & Kleiman became part of Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff March 1, and changed its name to Benesch/Dann Pecar.

The firm's new moniker will be used locally for a transitional period of up to 18 months before Dann Pecar ultimately is dropped altogether in favor of the Benesch name, said Jeff Abrams, Dann Pecar's former managing partner. Abrams is now a member of Benesch's executive committee, taking the title of partner-in-charge of the Indianapolis office.

Founded in 1911, Dann Pecar has 29 lawyers and is Indianapolis' 17th-largest law firm, according to statistics from the Indianapolis Business Journal, sister publication to Indiana Lawyer. Benesch was founded in 1938 and has 145 attorneys, 110 of whom are in Cleveland. It also has locations in Columbus, Ohio; Wilmington, Del.; White Plains, N.Y.; and Shanghai, China.

That range proved attractive to Dann Pecar, whose smaller size made it difficult to provide some legal services, Abrams said.

"We've had opportunities to obtain new clients and expand our work, but we didn't have the skill set," he said. "[Benesch has] a great amount of resources that we don't have."

Chief among them are Benesch's health care and intellectual property practices, neither of which are among Dann Pecar's strengths, Abrams said. Dann Pecar's real estate work, however, was attractive to Benesch.

Dann Pecar leaders had been searching for a merger partner for a few years and had discussions with a handful of other firms before coming to terms with Benesch.

Two of the four firms Dann Pecar negotiated with are based in Indianapolis, said Abrams, who declined to name them.

"For whatever reasons, the others didn't work," he said. "But this one definitely became more and more inviting."

Abrams acknowledged the past few years have been "a little challenging," but he maintained the firm is profitable.

Benesch's acquisition of Dann Pecar allows it to continue its growth plans, said Ira Kaplan, Benesch managing partner.

"Our strategic plan calls for growth in core practices, and Benesch and Dann Pecar match up very well in that regard," he said. "It also is important to us to expand our Midwest presence, which provides us with broader reach and depth to better serve our clients."

One year short of reaching its 100-year milestone, Dann Pecar becomes the third Indianapolis firm in recent years to be acquired by an out-of-state law firm.

In May 2008, Sommer Barnard became part of Cincinnati-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister. Sommer Barnard was founded in 1969 and had 103 lawyers, making it the seventh-largest in the city, according to IBJ statistics. Taft, whose roots date to 1885, has 200 lawyers in Cincinnati. Its other Ohio offices are in Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton.

In December 2008, Locke Reynolds, Indianapolis' eighth-largest firm, announced its 79 attorneys would join forces with Cincinnati-based Frost Brown Todd's roster of 370 attorneys spread among nine locations in five states.

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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