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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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