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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