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Baker & Daniels, Faegre & Benson confirm merger

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Tom Froehle, chief executive partner for Baker & Daniels, and Andrew Humphrey, chair of Faegre & Benson’s management committee, held a joint news conference Oct. 12 to formally announce that the two firms will merge, effective Jan. 1, 2012. The new firm – Faegre Baker Daniels – will have 770 attorneys and 45 consultants in the United States and abroad, Humphrey said.

Humphrey will be the new firm’s managing partner, and Froehle will be chief operating partner.

“We quite intentionally view this combination as an opportunity to embrace a one-firm, cross-office approach,” Humphrey said. “We’ve intentionally decided that the combined firm will not have a headquarters location.”

Froehle said the firm had no plans to lay off lawyers or staff.

The consulting division of Baker & Daniels will become FaegreBD Consulting, with offices in Washington, D.C. The new firm creates a strong presence in the Midwest, with 13 offices across Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Colorado. The firm will also have offices in Shanghai, Beijing and London. Baker & Daniels opened its Beijing office in 1998; Faegre & Benson has been in Shanghai since 2001.

“Some of you may know that within the legal press, there is a definition often used by the National Law Journal that defines a national firm as not having more than 50 percent of their lawyers in one office,” Humphrey said. Under that definition, Faegre Baker Daniels will be a national firm.

Baker & Daniels announced in August that it was in merger discussions with the Minneapolis-based firm. Faegre & Benson, founded in 1886, has represented Boston Scientific Corp., Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Wells Fargo and others. Baker & Daniels, founded in 1863, offers services in more than 35 practice areas and industries.
 

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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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