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Indianapolis firm dissolving as some attorneys go to Bose McKinney

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Most of the lawyers at a civil litigation firm in Indianapolis are departing for one of the city's largest law firms at the end of the year, dissolving a firm with a rich history that's been evolving since the early 1980s and has included some high-profile attorneys such as Birch and Evan Bayh.

Five partners and four associates from Tabbert Hahn Earnest & Weddle are joining Bose McKinney & Evans at the beginning of the year, both firms have confirmed with Indiana Lawyer. Another partner left last week to create her own family law practice on the north side of Indianapolis, which means only four active members will remain once the move happens Jan. 1.

Those lawyers leaving for Bose are: named partners Gregory Hahn and Robert Weddle, partners Matthew W. Conner, Mary M. Ruth Feldhake, and Chad T. Walker, and four associates David J. Duncan, Joel T. Nagle, Kevin M. Quinn, and Elizabeth Schuerman.

"I'm very excited about this," said Hahn, who’s been with the firm for a little more than 20 years. "They're great lawyers and have a great reputation, and this combo will help everyone go to a bigger plateau."

Both Hahn and Weddle said they've been discussing this possibility since mid-October, and they recall it moving very quickly and staying out of the public eye until now to allow the attorneys to notify their clients of the changes and avoid speculation. Both firms were looking at lateral hires, but began exploring the long-established relationship and whether a merger of sorts might be possible. All the Tabbert Hahn Earnest & Weddle partners decided to move ahead with conversations, and it evolved from there.

"It's kind of like dating - they do a little and then you do," said Weddle, who's been at the firm for 14 years. "It just kept evolving, and we tried to move fast enough so that all the rumors don't start materializing and, if it doesn't work out, everyone isn't left feeling weird and awkward."

Bose managing partner Jeff Gaither said this symbolized the union of ‘two like-minded teams” sharing a “collaborative creative culture that fosters partnerships” among the respective lawyers for added value to clients.

Both Hahn and Weddle said that it was both the public affairs and medical litigation fields that drew the firms together.

On its website, Tabbert Hahn Earnest & Weddle lists companies in the medical, insurance, and gaming industries as some of its clients, as well as the city of Indianapolis. The departing attorneys practice in varying fields, from medical malpractice and product liability to gaming and insurance defense litigation. Now, they will join those practice groups within a larger law firm that the Indianapolis Business Journal listed earlier this year as city's fifth largest. IBJ is Indiana Lawyer’s sister publication, as both entities are owned by IBJ Media.

Weddle, who practices in the medical malpractice and pharmaceutical defense areas, said that Bose wanted to expand that area of focus and this allows them to do that.

This also means that the governmental affairs affiliate known as Tabbert Hahn Ping Global Strategies will become an ancillary organization of Bose McKinney & Evans, taking on the new name of Bose Ping Government Strategies. Jennifer Ping will serve as principal of the new entity while others will work closely with the larger law firm's public affairs and communications group known as Bose Public Affairs Group.

Hahn described Bose as having one of the biggest and best governmental affairs groups statewide, possibly even in the Midwest, and said this union matched well for everyone involved.

With all but four leaving, the remaining attorneys are name partner Lante K. Earnest, partners David Shelton and Robert Daniels, and associate Mark Pizur. Co-founder Don. A. Tabbert, who is 82 and mostly retired, remains as of counsel along with Joseph Hammes and Alan Nelson.

Partner Judy Tyrrell left Dec. 1 to establish her own family law-focused firm on the north side of Indianapolis at Keystone at the Crossing.

Those remaining three partners plan to go off on their own and it's not sure at this time what they may do, according to Weddle. A date has not yet been established for an official dissolution of the firm, he said.

Founded in about 1988, the firm is located in the Regions Bank Center across from the Birch Bayh Federal Building in Indianapolis. It actually has its roots in the firm established in the early 1980s in Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., by Tabbert, a one-time congressional candidate who served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District; former Sen. Birch Bayh, and James Capehart, an attorney with family ties to the man Birch Bayh beat for U.S. Senate in 1962, as well as the Capeharts affiliated with the firm known as Krieg DeVault Alexander & Capehart.

The firm known then as Bayh Tabbert & Capehart brought high-profile names through the years, including a young Evan Bayh who worked there briefly before being elected Indiana Secretary of State and later governor. That firm began disbanding in 1985, and Tabbert remained as an anchor to nurture what eventually evolved into Tabbert Hahn Earnest & Weddle.

This story will be updated in the Dec. 8 edition of IL.
 

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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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