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Quarles & Brady latest large firm to expand to Indianapolis

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The gutted 24th floor of the BMO building in Indianapolis offers panoramic views in every direction. Linden Barber visualizes the space taking shape, but he doesn’t see himself in a corner office.

“The corners are all democratic. There is no corner office in Indianapolis at Quarles & Brady,” said Barber, managing partner of the location that opened last month. Instead, those premium spaces will be remodeled as common areas where attorneys will collaborate and confer with clients.

“No one’s going to quarrel,” Barber said, pausing upon catching his pun, “over who gets which office.”

So far, nine attorneys have signed on at Quarles & Brady, and they’ll be working 10 floors down until renovations are complete, likely in November. They’ll share central space on the 24th floor, and Barber said the blank slate is being designed to accommodate more than 30 attorneys.

That’s a testament to what Quarles & Brady and other larger firms have seen in the legal market here – promise enough to set up shop in Indianapolis not through merger or acquisition, but by expanding with the launch of a branded office. And then expanding some more.

“We look at the vibrant economy of Indianapolis and what those areas of the economy are, and we really think they’re in intellectual property, they’re in health care, they’re in manufacturing,” Barber said.

“We saw this as a good fit to offer services in a more robust way to our clients,” he said. “We’re going to follow our clients and give them a legal firm that will enter into partnership with them to help them succeed.”

In terms of corporate size, Quarles & Brady is slightly smaller than large firms with Indianapolis roots such as Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. FaegreBD ranked 66th on The American Lawyer’s 2013 Am Law 200 list, while Barnes was 102nd. Quarles was ranked 129th.

Firm officials said some of Quarles’ Indiana clients include Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, Emmis Communications Corp., and Just Marketing Inc. The firm serves several other Hoosier clients, mostly in the financial services, manufacturing and health care sectors.

“The firm has taken a very strategic approach to what are our clients’ needs and where are we going to have offices,” Barber said. And the firm’s local office growth will come from recruiting lawyers who are a good fit with the firm’s collaborative culture. Those hires may come through lateral moves or by bringing on recent law school grads.

quarles Linden Barber, managing partner of Quarles & Brady’s new Indianapolis location, stands in the offices undergoing renovation in the BMO building. Opening last month with six lawyers, the firm is creating space for more than 30. (IL Photo/Eric Learned)

“You’ve got a lot of home-grown talent here,” said Barber, a native of northwest Indiana.

Other large out-of-town firms that have expanded to Indianapolis also have found room to grow.

Connie Lindman is managing partner of Chicago-based SmithAmundsen LLC’s Indianapolis office. It recently marked its first year in business, and it’s been a successful one.

“We’ve doubled the size of the group in a year, and in our new space we have room to double again,” Lindman said. The goal is to bring the number of attorneys practicing in the Indianapolis office to about 12 by year’s end.

Lindman leads SmithAmundsen’s firm-wide intellectual property practice from the Indianapolis location, but she said it’s been the intention since the launch of the location here to grow into a full-service firm.

“We would be happy to recruit in any area of business or commercial law,” she said. “I would like to move more quickly on that, and that is why we are actively looking for laterals.”

The Indianapolis legal market is competitive despite its lack of Fortune 500 headquarters, she said.

“I think companies of all size want to receive top-quality legal services, and they want to receive them at Midwest rates,” Lindman said. “We are operating at a world-class level, and we can do that from Indianapolis.”

With its expansion in Indianapolis, SmithAmundsen has grown to a firm of more than 150 lawyers across seven offices around the Midwest.

quarles-facts.jpgOperating the global firm Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart P.C. from its Indianapolis office, managing partner Kim Ebert said the firm’s overall growth since opening the Indianapolis location in 2000 has been remarkable.

The office started with eight lawyers and now has 35 in Indianapolis, according to Ebert. That’s representative of the firm’s overall growth – from 140 attorneys in 2000 to more than 720. The number of offices also has multiplied, from 12 to 45, including recent expansions in London and Berlin.

Ebert said Ogletree has posted average revenue gains of about 15 percent annually since 2007, and the Atlanta-based firm surged up the Am Law 100 from 97th place in 2012 to 88th in 2013.

“That may have been the biggest move on the list, other than through mergers,” he said.

The firm’s focus on labor and employment law provides insulation from some of the more cyclical areas of practice, Ebert said. At the same time, he added, there’s ongoing consolidation of firms with significant labor practices.

Another trend, Ebert said, is that of large national employers signing law firms to preferred provider agreements to handle all their legal needs.

“So we have a distinct advantage in that we have 45 offices. We’ve been successful competing for those types of proposals,” he said.

For Barber, the view of Indianapolis from the unfinished shell of an office is a market likely to continue to attract expansion from national firms that see opportunities.

“We’ve got a long-term commitment here,” he said.•

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  3. All these sites putting up all the crap they do making Brent Look like A Monster like he's not a good person . First off th fight actually started not because of Brent but because of one of his friends then when the fight popped off his friend ran like a coward which left Brent to fend for himself .It IS NOT a crime to defend yourself 3 of them and 1 of him . just so happened he was a better fighter. I'm Brent s wife so I know him personally and up close . He's a very caring kind loving man . He's not abusive in any way . He is a loving father and really shouldn't be where he is not for self defense . Now because of one of his stupid friends trying to show off and turning out to be nothing but a coward and leaving Brent to be jumped by 3 men not only is Brent suffering but Me his wife , his kids abd step kidshis mom and brother his family is left to live without him abd suffering in more ways then one . that man was and still is my smile ....he's the one real thing I've ever had in my life .....f@#@ You Lafayette court system . Learn to do your jobs right he maybe should have gotten that year for misdemeanor battery but that s it . not one person can stand to me and tell me if u we're in a fight facing 3 men and u just by yourself u wouldn't fight back that you wouldn't do everything u could to walk away to ur family ur kids That's what Brent is guilty of trying to defend himself against 3 men he wanted to go home tohisfamily worse then they did he just happened to be a better fighter and he got the best of th others . what would you do ? Stand there lay there and be stomped and beaten or would u give it everything u got and fight back ? I'd of done the same only I'm so smallid of probably shot or stabbed or picked up something to use as a weapon . if it was me or them I'd do everything I could to make sure I was going to live that I would make it hone to see my kids and husband . I Love You Brent Anthony Forever & Always .....Soul 1 baby

  4. Good points, although this man did have a dog in the legal fight as that it was his mother on trial ... and he a dependent. As for parking spaces, handicap spots for pregnant women sure makes sense to me ... er, I mean pregnant men or women. (Please, I meant to include pregnant men the first time, not Room 101 again, please not Room 101 again. I love BB)

  5. I have no doubt that the ADA and related laws provide that many disabilities must be addressed. The question, however, is "by whom?" Many people get dealt bad cards by life. Some are deaf. Some are blind. Some are crippled. Why is it the business of the state to "collectivize" these problems and to force those who are NOT so afflicted to pay for those who are? The fact that this litigant was a mere spectator and not a party is chilling. What happens when somebody who speaks only East Bazurkistanish wants a translator so that he can "understand" the proceedings in a case in which he has NO interest? Do I and all other taxpayers have to cough up? It would seem so. ADA should be amended to provide a simple rule: "Your handicap, YOUR problem". This would apply particularly to handicapped parking spaces, where it seems that if the "handicap" is an ingrown toenail, the government comes rushing in to assist the poor downtrodden victim. I would grant wounded vets (IED victims come to mind in particular) a pass on this.. but others? Nope.

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