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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. A traditional parade of attorneys? Really Evansville? Y'all need to get out more. When is the traditional parade of notaries? Nurses? Sanitation workers? Pole dancers? I gotta wonder, do throngs of admiring citizens gather to laud these marching servants of the constitution? "Show us your billing records!!!" Hoping some video gets posted. Ours is not a narcissistic profession by any chance, is it? Nah .....

  2. My previous comment not an aside at court. I agree with smith. Good call. Just thought posting here a bit on the if it bleeds it leads side. Most attorneys need to think of last lines of story above.

  3. Hello everyone I'm Gina and I'm here for the exact same thing you are. I have the wonderful joy of waking up every morning to my heart being pulled out and sheer terror of what DCS is going to Throw at me and my family today.Let me start from the !bebeginning.My daughter lost all rights to her 3beautiful children due to Severe mental issues she no longer lives in our state and has cut all ties.DCS led her to belive that once she done signed over her right the babies would be with their family. We have faught screamed begged and anything else we could possibly due I hired a lawyer five grand down the drain.You know all I want is my babies home.I've done everything they have even asked me to do.Now their saying I can't see my grandchildren cause I'M on a prescription for paipain.I have a very rare blood disease it causes cellulitis a form of blood poisoning to stay dormant in my tissues and nervous system it also causes a ,blood clotting disorder.even with the two blood thinners I'm on I still Continue to develop them them also.DCS knows about my illness and still they refuse to let me see my grandchildren. I Love and miss them so much Please can anyone help Us my grandchildren and I they should be worrying about what toy there going to play with but instead there worrying about if there ever coming home again.THANK YOU DCS FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE. ( And if anyone at all has any ideals or knows who can help. Please contact (765)960~5096.only serious callers

  4. He must be a Rethuglican, for if from the other side of the aisle such acts would be merely personal and thus not something that attaches to his professional life. AND ... gotta love this ... oh, and on top of talking dirty on the phone, he also, as an aside, guess we should mention, might be important, not sure, but .... "In addition to these allegations, Keaton was accused of failing to file an appeal after he collected advance payment from a client seeking to challenge a ruling that the client repay benefits because of unreported income." rimshot

  5. I am not a fan of some of the 8.4 discipline we have seen for private conduct-- but this was so egregious and abusive and had so many points of bad conduct relates to the law and the lawyer's status as a lawyer that it is clearly a proper and just disbarment. A truly despicable account of bad acts showing unfit character to practice law. I applaud the outcome.

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