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. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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