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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. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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