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Attorneys find fit with new firms after Stewart & Irwin shuts down

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Connie Lindman and her team of intellectual property attorneys at former Stewart & Irwin P.C. in Indianapolis found a new home with room to grow. So did several other lawyers who’ve made smooth transitions with their practices.

In the case of Lindman and fellow IP lawyers Eric Lamb and Dennis Schell, it truly is a new home. The three are now partners in the Indianapolis office of Chicago-based SmithAmundsen LLC that launched in May. Lindman is managing partner of the Indy office with five attorneys, all Stewart & Irwin alums. She also chairs SmithAmundsen’s firm-wide IP practice.

apb-katzkorin02-15col.jpg Katz and Korin P.C. attorneys, formerly at Stewart & Irwin P.C., in their Indianapolis office. Seated are Marc Menkveld and Michele Henderson; standing are (L to R) Donn Wray, Glenn Bowman, Nick Gahl and Jim Brauer. (IL Photo/ Aaron P. Bernstein)

“We did have other options and we deliberately chose SmithAmundsen,” Lindman said of the IP team after the lawyers met with staff in Chicago and a satellite office that opened in the last couple of years in St. Louis. “We thought this would be a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of the Indianapolis office of a great Chicago firm, and so far, everything has proven out to be that way.”

Keeping the IP practice together “made all the difference to us,” she said. “It was always understood that we would be going together as a team.”

As with SmithAmundsen’s St. Louis office, the company projects growth here and expects to quickly bring aboard additional attorneys. The St. Louis office previously had a focus on labor law, but that branch has evolved into a general practice.

Likewise, SmithAmundsen is concentrating its IP practice in Indianapolis, but Lindman believes the

local office will follow the lead of the St. Louis branch and diversify in short order.

Indianapolis seems suited to IP work, she said, and SmithAmundsen, ranked No. 248 in the National Law Journal’s 2013 survey of the largest U.S. firms, is well positioned to grow its Indy affiliate. “We do have a very robust IP community here in Indianapolis,” said Lindman, who has prior Chicago big-law experience with Kirkland & Ellis LLP, No. 11 in the survey.

“I think IP work is a growing area regardless of where you are, and we provide more excellent service at more reasonable prices than you are going to get on either of the coasts,” she said. “What’s nice about IP work is for the most part it is federal, so we can comfortably represent clients all over the country.”

In addition to the IP practice, corporate law attorney Alyssa Rogers and labor attorney Suzanne Newcomb moved from Stewart & Irwin to help SmithAmundsen plant its flag in Indianapolis. The firm is leasing temporary space in the Fifth Third Bank Tower until it identifies a permanent location.

Meantime, another group of former Smith & Irwin partners – Jeffrey Halbert, Ron Smith and Steve Sutherlin – moved to Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, where managing partner Jeff Gaither said they fit right in with Bose’s practice groups.

“We are always interested in discussing laterals, and conflict is one of the biggest barriers,” Gaither said. “There were very few conflicts with the three lawyers we ended up asking to join us.”

The partners at Stewart & Irwin entered Bose as partners, too. Halbert joined the labor and employment law practice; Sutherlin, a former head of the Indiana Securities Division, is a partner in the mergers and acquisitions practice; and Smith, who Gaither said “probably has represented more auto dealers than anyone in the Midwest in the last 30 years or so,” is chair of the automotive group.

“Their backgrounds and experience will be great assets to the firm and our clients,” Gaither said. He said other former Stewart & Irwin attorneys had joined Bose in recent years, making the transition natural.

smithamundsen04-15col.jpg Former Stewart & Irwin P.C. attorneys Connie Lindman and Dennis Schell (seated), and Eric Lamb, Suzanne Newcomb (center) and Alyssa Rogers are now practicing from SmithAmundsen LLC ‘s temporary Indianapolis office. (IL Photo/ Aaron P. Bernstein)

Katz & Korin P.C. added six former Stewart & Irwin attorneys to the firm, including new partners Donn Wray and Glenn Bowman. “It so happens the six of us here, almost to a person, have many, many longstanding friendships and professional associations here,” Wray said. “This has been a happy marriage from the get-go.”

Wray focuses on automotive and environmental representation, and Bowman is an experienced environmental litigator. Others who joined Katz & Korin – Jim Brauer, Michele Henderson, Nick Gahl and Marc Menkveld – bring environmental experience as well as medical malpractice and professional liability defense backgrounds.

“What I’m willing to do and wanted to do was work with a moderate-sized firm where we could become the environmental group,” Bowman said. “We can combine with what Katz & Korin already had and continue with the vision and goals that we as the environmental group (at Stewart & Irwin) had, and candidly, got sidetracked.”

Bowman said the move has been “wonderful,” noting that Katz & Korin recognized the value of Stewart & Irwin staffers and brought them aboard, too. Bowman and Wray also said their new firm has a far-superior marketing program.

newfirm-facts.gifIn another move, Cantrell Strenski & Mehringer LLP confirmed it added former Stewart & Irwin attorneys Cynthia Locke and Richard H. Riegner, but no additional information was available at IL deadline.

Katz & Korin partner Sally Zweig said the firm’s new additions will bolster its roster of litigators who will pair with existing transactional groups.

“Our firm has always been one where we have no aspirations to be the biggest firm in town,” she said. “When we bought the building, we did so with the idea of maintaining flexibility for opportunities as they might present themselves. This was an opportunity that presented itself, and (the former Stewart & Irwin attorneys) did offer some depth in practice areas that we didn’t have.

“This was a little bit of kismet, I guess I’d say.”

Zweig knows a bit about that, too, and what the former Stewart & Irwin attorneys may be experiencing. She was a partner at Johnson Smith, and when that firm dissolved in 2002, she joined some colleagues who moved to Katz & Korin.

“For a number of us here, obviously, it resonates,” Zweig said. “I always said about Johnson Smith, it was a great bunch of lawyers and everybody ended up in great places. Everybody was successful before and after, and it’s nice when that does work out.”

It was tough to leave a firm that dissolved “abruptly,” Zweig said, but for her and those who moved from Johnson Smith to Katz & Korin, “it was a good fit all the way around,” and she feels she gained from the experience.

“Personally speaking, I think it helps you think about from a career point of view and a personal point of view the kind of practice that would be most beneficial,” she said.

“It’s also the case that if you need to change, to know that you can is a good thing. And if you are just sort of thinking about changing, there’s not any stigma to it, and what would be a rewarding place to ply my profession?

“It was always my sense you should do what you like at a place you like doing it,” Zweig said.•

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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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