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. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

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  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

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