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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. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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