Mergers end Indiana names

December 15, 2008
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Sommer Barnard – gone. Locke Reynolds – gone beginning next year. Yes, the attorneys and staff remain in Indiana, but the names have changed or soon will change. Their new names come from firms based outside of the state.

It’s just a name change, right? What’s the big deal? As Shakespeare wrote in “Romeo and Juliet”: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Yes, it may be just a name change and little else, but it feels like the Indiana legal community is shrinking. With these mergers and name changes, the firms may grow physically in size, but the names among those that dominated Indiana’s legal community for decades have disappeared.

Locke recently announced its merger with Frost Brown Todd of Cincinnati and Louisville.

When I hear the name “Taft Stettinius & Hollister,” I relate it to Cincinnati. It’s been seven months since Sommer Barnard became Taft, but my perception of it as an outside firm in Indiana’s legal market is still the same. I don’t know if it will take seven more months to change my mind or if I ever will think of Taft as an Indiana firm. The same will be true with Locke.

Do law firm name changes have any kind of affect on the attorneys who work for those firms or the legal community in general? How do you feel to see established Indiana firm names disappear from the legal landscape?
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  • As the last of the Lockes practicing law in Indianapolis, albeit not at the soon-to-be-gone Locke Reynolds, of course I am sad to see the family name disappear from the Indianapolis legal community. My grandfather, Theodore L. Locke, whose name the firm bears, was President of the Indianapolis Bar Association in 1946, among other accomplishments and my father, Ted, Jr., practiced with his father at the firm for many years. It was ironic some years ago when I started practicing at White & Raub, now gone as well, that Maureen Reynolds, granddaughter of the other Locke Reynolds founder, started at the firm at the same time and we were announced together on the same formal mailing -- Locke and Reynolds join White & Raub, so to speak!
    Cindy Locke
  • When I started practicing Bayh,Tabbert & Capehart, Johnson Smith & Densborn, Lowe Gray Steele & Hoffman,Bingham Welch Summer & Spielman, Barnes Hickam Panzer & Boyd and Dutton Kappes & Overman were some of the larger firms in town. Ice Miller had Donadio & Ryan attached at the end and Baker Daniels had a longer name that I cannot remember. Nile Stanton was the big name in criminal defense-of course Jim Voyles has been around since Calvin Coolidge was in the White House. The Law Office of Linda Pence had not yet opened and threatened the boys club and Judges Dillin,Steckler and Holder were on the bench. Writing
  • Holder still makes me quake but that is for another,later comment. The Where have all the law firms gone song has been sung for years. I suspect that law firm names in Indianapolis in 2038 will differ from those now in use but there will still be good people living in the community practicing law. What\'s in a name?

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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