Baker & Daniels in talks to merge with Minneapolis firm

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Baker & Daniels LLP, one of Indianapolis' largest and oldest law firms, is in merger discussions with a Minneapolis law firm and hopes to complete a deal in October.

Tom Froehle, managing partner of Baker & Daniels, said he announced to partners on Thursday that the firm is in talks with Faegre & Benson LLP.

With 221 local attorneys, Baker & Daniels is the Indianapolis area's second-largest law firm behind Barnes & Thornburg LLP, which has 228 attorneys. Overall, it boasts 308 lawyers in seven locations, including Chicago; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.

A merger with the 500-lawyer Faegre & Benson would create the largest law-firm combination involving an Indianapolis firm. More importantly, it gives Baker & Daniels a larger regional presence and greater access to more work.

“As the world gets more complicated and specialized, it really takes more breadth and depth of expertise to serve clients,” Froehle said. “We really think this is an opportunity to capitalize on that concept.”

The combined firm would have 13 offices. Besides Minneapolis, Faegre & Benson has Colorado locations in Boulder and Denver. It also has an office in Des Moines, Iowa, as well as international outposts in London and Shanghai. Where the merged firm will be headquartered has not been determined, Froehle said.

The Baker & Daniels name, which has stood since 1889, likely would change to reflect a combination of the firms, Froehle said. The firm was founded as Hendricks & Hord in 1863.

Baker & Daniels’ leadership had been searching for a partner the past few years before deciding on Faegre & Benson.

“Both have quality practices and there’s no overlapping of geography,” Froehle said. “We want to give this thorough analysis and careful consideration to do what’s best for our clients and people.”

Baker & Daniels saw revenue rise nearly 6 percent in 2010, to $152.5 million, while profit per partner increased 2 percent, to $520,000, according to The American Lawyer trade publication. The firm had 119 partners at the start of 2011, according to Indianapolis Business Journal research. The IBJ is the sister publication of Indiana Lawyer. Faegre & Benson’s revenue, meanwhile, declined nearly 10 percent last year, to $256.5 million, but profit per partner increased 5 percent, to $530,000. The firm has 203 partners.

Baker & Daniels is a full-service law firm with strong corporate, litigation, bankruptcy and real estate practices. Its high-profile local corporate clients include Eli Lilly and Co., WellPoint Inc., Clarian Health and Simon Property Group Inc.

If the merger is completed, it would be one of the largest law firm mergers in the United States this year, trailing only Chicago-based DLA Piper’s (3,448 attorneys) acquisition of affiliate DLA Phillips Fox (600 lawyers) in Australia, according to the Altman Weil Inc. consultancy in suburban Philadelphia.

The trend of mid-size firms growing through mergers or acquisitions has picked up steam in Indianapolis in the past few years.

In 2008, Sommer Barnard PC became part of Cincinnati-based Taft Stettinius Hollister LLP. Later that year, Locke Reynolds LLP hooked up with Frost Brown Todd LLC, also in Cincinnati.

And, last year, Dann Pecar Newman & Kleiman PC became part of Cleveland-based Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP.

Having a regional presence has benefited the former Sommer Barnard, said Robert Hicks, managing partner of the Indianapolis Taft office.

“For us, our daily life has not changed at all,” he said. “We’re still the same culture. It’s just that we have a much bigger, broader tool box, and we love it.”

Nationwide, the number of law firm mergers and acquisitions increased in the first six months of the year compared with the same period in 2010. Through June, 28 deals had been completed, a 47-percent increase from the first half of last year, according to Altman Weil.



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  1. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  2. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  3. Paul Hartman of Burbank, Oh who is helping Sister Fuller with this Con Artist Kevin Bart McCarthy scares Sister Joseph Therese, Patricia Ann Fuller very much that McCarthy will try and hurt Patricia Ann Fuller and Paul Hartman of Burbank, Oh or any member of his family. Sister is very, very scared, (YES, I AM) This McCarthy guy is a real, real CON MAN and crook. I try to totall flatter Kevin Bart McCARTHY to keep him from hurting my best friends in this world which are Carolyn Rose and Paul Hartman. I Live in total fear of this man Kevin Bart McCarthy and try to praise him as a good man to keep us ALL from his bad deeds. This man could easy have some one cause us a very bad disability. You have to PRAISAE in order TO PROTECT yourself. He lies and makes up stories about people and then tries to steal if THEY OWN THRU THE COURTS A SPECIAL DEVOTION TO PROTECT, EX> Our Lady of America DEVOTION. EVERYONE who reads this, PLEASE BE CAREFUL of Kevin Bart McCarthy of Indianapolis, IN My Phone No. IS 419-435-3838.

  4. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  5. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.