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From Indy, Ogletree Deakins goes global

Dave Stafford
December 5, 2012
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Kim Ebert can see about as far as anyone in Indiana from his perch on the 46th floor of the Chase Tower in Indianapolis, but the Ogletree Deakins P.C. managing shareholder’s vision is on far more distant horizons.

Ogletree this month joined the short but influential list of firms doing business in Indianapolis that also have branded international offices. A Berlin office opened Dec. 1 with a staff of seven attorneys, and the London office of four barristers should open by year’s end, pending regulatory approval.
 

ebert-kim-15col.jpg Kim Ebert (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

The firm represents companies from Fortune 50 giants to small, privately held companies. In announcing its international strategy, Ogletree said it will be the only U.S.-based boutique labor and employment firm with offices in Europe.

“We have come to the conclusion in discussions with our clients generally that there was some dissatisfaction with the offerings out there,” Ebert said in a recent interview. “We think the time is right to present an alternative.”

“A lot of our clients were telling us they feel like they’re paying a lot of money to international lawyers and they’re not providing the level of service they expect,” he said.

“We have all types of systems in place to make sure quality is consistent throughout.”

As managing shareholder, Ebert directed the development of overseas operations for Atlanta-based Ogletree, which opened its Indianapolis office in 2000. “The role I played first of all was to support the strategy of the international expansion, and then to help with the recruitment of the right lawyers to support the strategy,” he said.
 

castille Castille

“In labor and employment law, you find that when you have economic turmoil, there’s a lot of work for lawyers,” Ebert said.

The first offices opening across the Atlantic signal the beginning of a broader expansion that will continue next year. Ebert said Ogletree Deakins’ international growth is proceeding at a disciplined pace, and the firm knows the local attorneys it is hiring.

“We’ve had an opportunity to see how they handled work we’ve partnered up on them with,” he said.

As an example of the caliber of representation the firm hopes to extend, Ebert named Michael Webster, who will lead the London office. The founder and former joint managing partner of Webster Dixon LLP serves clients that include the second-largest bank in Nigeria, Ebert said.

An attorney in the Berlin office, for instance, represents Deutsche Bahn, the national railroad of Germany. The Berlin attorneys come from the firm of Salans LLP.

After the Berlin and London offices open, the firm anticipates establishing a branch in China. Ebert said that if approvals come as expected, that office could open within six months. Other offices likely will be opened in France and in Eastern Europe. The expansion strategy looks for possible locations in nations with stable economies, Ebert said, noting that Ogletree handled matters in more than 100 countries last year.

“There is no question that today we all operate in a global marketplace,” he said. “Our strategy is to provide international representation that is focused on value and first-class client service.”

From Indiana to Beijing

Among the handful of firms that have Indiana offices and branded offices in other nations is Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, which has the distinction of being the lone homegrown firm to have accomplished the feat. Predecessor Baker & Daniels opened its Beijing office shortly after China opened its market to foreign investment in the 1990s.

Angella Castille is partner and co-chair of Faegre Baker Daniels’ international practice group in the U.S.

“Most of our clients have long been global and had to be global,” she said. Representative clients include Bridgestone/Firestone, Jasper-based furniture and electronics manufacturer Kimball International, and Indianapolis-based software and machining developer Hurco Companies Inc. Faegre has helped with matters such as international material sourcing, production and distribution issues, and more.

Representing clients with international interests, Castille said, “It’s hard for me to understand how you could practice law without doing business in international work.”

When Faegre Baker Daniels formed, the firm could offer clients access to attorneys in Beijing, Shanghai and London.

“Our original reason for being in international locations could very well have to do with having a client who needed a source for parts and components,” Castille said. “As they become more familiar with doing business overseas, they start to see their own products may do very well overseas. … It evolves.”

Attorneys say London offices provide common language and access to European markets, because most U.K. attorneys have an understanding of common European Union law as well as the codes of other nations within the European community.

In China, the legal terrain is far different. Firm representatives said that American and international lawyers may open offices in Beijing or Shanghai, but in order to practice in court, an attorney must work for a Chinese-based firm.

Even when a firm doesn’t have a branded office overseas, its connections with international attorneys can open doors. Linda Dawson is an Anderson-based economic development consultant who’s working with Barnes & Thornburg LLP as director of Asian projects for Grant County.

“It is crucial to deal with firms that have overseas offices or relationships plus experience in related areas,” Dawson said. “This is especially true in China, where there is great apprehension of our legal system and regulations. The ability to communicate in their native language and understand the unique business culture that exists in Asia will help alleviate their unreasonable concerns.”

Benesch is another law firm with Indianapolis offices that has a presence in China.

“We had clients in the U.S. interested in doing business in China, and while we could have probably found Chinese lawyers to assist them … nobody was in a better position to serve them than us,” said Jeff Abrams, partner in charge of the Indianapolis office of Benesch.

“If we have enough clients that have an interest to be somewhere, we feel like we can service them with our attorneys,” he said.

From the Indianapolis office, for instance, attorneys from Cleveland-based Benesch are helping to facilitate potential Chinese economic development in Indiana.

“We have made connections with the city of Marion,” Abrams noted as an example. “They’re looking to bring Chinese investment to the area.”

Those connections could be significant, he said, because international clients looking to locate in the Midwest, and particularly Indiana, might be instinctively inclined to choose Indianapolis.

California-based Littler Mendelson P.C., the nation’s largest labor and employment firm exclusively representing management, is the other firm with offices in Indianapolis and overseas. After establishing offices in Indianapolis in 2006, Littler expanded to offices in Mexico and Venezuela.•

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  1. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) End of Year Report 2014. (page 13) Under the current system many local registering agencies are challenged just keeping up with registration paperwork. It takes an hour or more to process each registrant, the majority of whom are low risk offenders. As a result law enforcement cannot monitor higher risk offenders more intensively in the community due to the sheer numbers on the registry. Some of the consequences of lengthy and unnecessary registration requirements actually destabilize the life’s of registrants and those -such as families- whose lives are often substantially impacted. Such consequences are thought to raise levels of known risk factors while providing no discernible benefit in terms of community safety. The full report is available online at. http://www.casomb.org/index.cfm?pid=231 National Institute of Justice (NIJ) US Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs United States of America. The overall conclusion is that Megan’s law has had no demonstrated effect on sexual offenses in New Jersey, calling into question the justification for start-up and operational costs. Megan’s Law has had no effect on time to first rearrest for known sex offenders and has not reduced sexual reoffending. Neither has it had an impact on the type of sexual reoffense or first-time sexual offense. The study also found that the law had not reduced the number of victims of sexual offenses. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/publications/abstract.aspx? ID=247350 The University of Chicago Press for The Booth School of Business of the University of Chicago and The University of Chicago Law School Article DOI: 10.1086/658483 Conclusion. The data in these three data sets do not strongly support the effectiveness of sex offender registries. The national panel data do not show a significant decrease in the rate of rape or the arrest rate for sexual abuse after implementation of a registry via the Internet. The BJS data that tracked individual sex offenders after their release in 1994 did not show that registration had a significantly negative effect on recidivism. And the D.C. crime data do not show that knowing the location of sex offenders by census block can help protect the locations of sexual abuse. This pattern of noneffectiveness across the data sets does not support the conclusion that sex offender registries are successful in meeting their objectives of increasing public safety and lowering recidivism rates. The full report is available online at. http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/658483 These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of conclusions and reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. People, including the media and other organizations should not rely on and reiterate the statements and opinions of the legislators or other people as to the need for these laws because of the high recidivism rates and the high risk offenders pose to the public which simply is not true and is pure hyperbole and fiction. They should rely on facts and data collected and submitted in reports from the leading authorities and credible experts in the fields such as the following. California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 0.8% (page 30) The full report is available online at http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Research_Branch/Research_Documents/2014_Outcome_Evaluation_Report_7-6-2015.pdf California Sex Offender Management Board (CASOMB) (page 38) Sex offender recidivism rate for a new sex offense is 1.8% The full report is available online at. http://www.google.com/url?sa= t&source=web&cd=1&ved= 0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F% 2Fwww.cdcr.ca.gov%2FAdult_ Research_Branch%2FResearch_ documents%2FOutcome_ evaluation_Report_2013.pdf&ei= C9dSVePNF8HfoATX-IBo&usg=AFQjCNE9I6ueHz-o2mZUnuxLPTyiRdjDsQ Bureau of Justice Statistics 5 PERCENT OF SEX OFFENDERS REARRESTED FOR ANOTHER SEX CRIME WITHIN 3 YEARS OF PRISON RELEASE WASHINGTON, D.C. Within 3 years following their 1994 state prison release, 5.3 percent of sex offenders (men who had committed rape or sexual assault) were rearrested for another sex crime, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced today. The full report is available online at. http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/rsorp94pr.cfm Document title; A Model of Static and Dynamic Sex Offender Risk Assessment Author: Robert J. McGrath, Michael P. Lasher, Georgia F. Cumming Document No.: 236217 Date Received: October 2011 Award Number: 2008-DD-BX-0013 Findings: Study of 759 adult male offenders under community supervision Re-arrest rate: 4.6% after 3-year follow-up The sexual re-offense rates for the 746 released in 2005 are much lower than what many in the public have been led to expect or believe. These low re-offense rates appear to contradict a conventional wisdom that sex offenders have very high sexual re-offense rates. The full report is available online at. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/236217.pdf Document Title: SEX OFFENDER SENTENCING IN WASHINGTON STATE: RECIDIVISM RATES BY: Washington State Institute For Public Policy. A study of 4,091 sex offenders either released from prison or community supervision form 1994 to 1998 and examined for 5 years Findings: Sex Crime Recidivism Rate: 2.7% Link to Report: http://www.oncefallen.com/files/Washington_SO_Recid_2005.pdf Document Title: Indiana’s Recidivism Rates Decline for Third Consecutive Year BY: Indiana Department of Correction 2009. The recidivism rate for sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05%, one of the lowest in the nation. In a time when sex offenders continue to face additional post-release requirements that often result in their return to prison for violating technical rules such as registration and residency restrictions, the instances of sex offenders returning to prison due to the commitment of a new sex crime is extremely low. Findings: sex offenders returning on a new sex offense was 1.05% Link to Report: http://www.in.gov/idoc/files/RecidivismRelease.pdf Once again, These are not isolated conclusions but are the same outcomes in the majority of reports on this subject from multiple government agencies and throughout the academic community. No one can doubt that child sexual abuse is traumatic and devastating. The question is not whether the state has an interest in preventing such harm, but whether current laws are effective in doing so. Megan’s law is a failure and is destroying families and their children’s lives and is costing tax payers millions upon millions of dollars. The following is just one example of the estimated cost just to implement SORNA which many states refused to do. From Justice Policy Institute. Estimated cost to implement SORNA Here are some of the estimates made in 2009 expressed in 2014 current dollars: California, $66M; Florida, $34M; Illinois, $24M; New York, $35M; Pennsylvania, $22M; Texas, $44M. In 2014 dollars, Virginia’s estimate for implementation was $14M, and the annual operating cost after that would be $10M. For the US, the total is $547M. That’s over half a billion dollars – every year – for something that doesn’t work. http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/08-08_FAC_SORNACosts_JJ.pdf. Attempting to use under-reporting to justify the existence of the registry is another myth, or a lie. This is another form of misinformation perpetrated by those who either have a fiduciary interest in continuing the unconstitutional treatment of a disfavored group or are seeking to justify their need for punishment for people who have already paid for their crime by loss of their freedom through incarceration and are now attempting to reenter society as honest citizens. When this information is placed into the public’s attention by naive media then you have to wonder if the media also falls into one of these two groups that are not truly interested in reporting the truth. Both of these groups of people that have that type of mentality can be classified as vigilantes, bullies, or sociopaths, and are responsible for the destruction of our constitutional values and the erosion of personal freedoms in this country. I think the media or other organizations need to do a in depth investigation into the false assumptions and false data that has been used to further these laws and to research all the collateral damages being caused by these laws and the unconstitutional injustices that are occurring across the country. They should include these injustices in their report so the public can be better informed on what is truly happening in this country on this subject. Thank you for your time.

  2. Freedom as granted in the Constitution cannot be summarily disallowed without Due Process. Unable to to to the gym, church, bowling alley? What is this 1984 level nonsense? Congrats to Brian for having the courage to say that this was enough! and Congrats to the ACLU on the win!

  3. America's hyper-phobia about convicted sex offenders must end! Politicians must stop pandering to knee-jerk public hysteria. And the public needs to learn the facts. Research by the California Sex Offender Management Board as shown a recidivism rate for convicted sex offenders of less than 1%. Less than 1%! Furthermore, research shows that by year 17 after their conviction, a convicted sex offender is no more likely to commit a new sex offense than any other member of the public. Put away your torches and pitchforks. Get the facts. Stop hysteria.

  4. He was convicted 23 years ago. How old was he then? He probably was a juvenile. People do stupid things, especially before their brain is fully developed. Why are we continuing to punish him in 2016? If he hasn't re-offended by now, it's very, very unlikely he ever will. He paid for his mistake sufficiently. Let him live his life in peace.

  5. This year, Notre Dame actually enrolled an equal amount of male and female students.

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