Priced out of the market

February 11, 2009
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A handful of partners and attorneys are leaving Bingham McHale in Indianapolis to start their own insurance litigation firm because as one partner said, “We were pricing ourselves out of the market.”

The amicable split between the attorneys and the fifth-largest firm in Indianapolis raises a few eyebrows and questions. An article in today’s Indiana Lawyer Daily about the new firm quotes partner Jim Strenski as saying an increase in overhead costs and pressure to raise client rates contributed to the new firm’s creation.

If this is happening in one practice area in one firm, it must be happening in other areas and in other firms. Could this be contributing to the layoffs of legal support staff and rumored layoffs or departure of attorneys around town?

This is a smart move by these attorneys and support staff creating Cantrell Strenski & Mehringer. There seems to be a trend among businesses to take their business to smaller firms when economic times get tough because smaller firms are able to provide their services for a lower price. Why stay with a firm where you are struggling to keep or attract clients because of high rates and costs when you can start a small firm that may be more attractive to businesses? And if the firm is struggling economically, it wins too because it’s reduced overhead, salaries, and benefits without having to fire anyone.

I’m usually not a betting person, but I think this move may spur other attorneys in Indianapolis at larger firms to take a look at starting a new firm. With the economy how it is and with no signs of it getting better soon, smaller firms may be more attractive to clients and the wave of the legal immediate future.

Plus, if this same issue of having to raise clients’ rates and meet increasing overhead costs is happening elsewhere, larger firms are going to be struggling to maintain clients and attorneys. A struggling firm may lead to attorney cuts. Why not jump ship and start your own firm before things get really tough at your firm or you’re let go?
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  • This type of thing is really relatively old news within the insurance defense bar all across the country. Since the early 1990\'s larger firms literally kicked out their lower billing insurance defense attorneys as they grew fat on the profits of higher billing corporate clients. The larger firms felt that their insurance defense lawyers were literally taking up space that could be used by higher billing attorneys. The only thing that appears to be different about the Bingham-McHale situation is that this time, the insurance defense attorneys are apparently taking the initiative to leave.

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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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