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Quarles & Brady latest large firm to expand to Indianapolis

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The gutted 24th floor of the BMO building in Indianapolis offers panoramic views in every direction. Linden Barber visualizes the space taking shape, but he doesn’t see himself in a corner office.

“The corners are all democratic. There is no corner office in Indianapolis at Quarles & Brady,” said Barber, managing partner of the location that opened last month. Instead, those premium spaces will be remodeled as common areas where attorneys will collaborate and confer with clients.

“No one’s going to quarrel,” Barber said, pausing upon catching his pun, “over who gets which office.”

So far, nine attorneys have signed on at Quarles & Brady, and they’ll be working 10 floors down until renovations are complete, likely in November. They’ll share central space on the 24th floor, and Barber said the blank slate is being designed to accommodate more than 30 attorneys.

That’s a testament to what Quarles & Brady and other larger firms have seen in the legal market here – promise enough to set up shop in Indianapolis not through merger or acquisition, but by expanding with the launch of a branded office. And then expanding some more.

“We look at the vibrant economy of Indianapolis and what those areas of the economy are, and we really think they’re in intellectual property, they’re in health care, they’re in manufacturing,” Barber said.

“We saw this as a good fit to offer services in a more robust way to our clients,” he said. “We’re going to follow our clients and give them a legal firm that will enter into partnership with them to help them succeed.”

In terms of corporate size, Quarles & Brady is slightly smaller than large firms with Indianapolis roots such as Barnes & Thornburg LLP and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. FaegreBD ranked 66th on The American Lawyer’s 2013 Am Law 200 list, while Barnes was 102nd. Quarles was ranked 129th.

Firm officials said some of Quarles’ Indiana clients include Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, Emmis Communications Corp., and Just Marketing Inc. The firm serves several other Hoosier clients, mostly in the financial services, manufacturing and health care sectors.

“The firm has taken a very strategic approach to what are our clients’ needs and where are we going to have offices,” Barber said. And the firm’s local office growth will come from recruiting lawyers who are a good fit with the firm’s collaborative culture. Those hires may come through lateral moves or by bringing on recent law school grads.

quarles Linden Barber, managing partner of Quarles & Brady’s new Indianapolis location, stands in the offices undergoing renovation in the BMO building. Opening last month with six lawyers, the firm is creating space for more than 30. (IL Photo/Eric Learned)

“You’ve got a lot of home-grown talent here,” said Barber, a native of northwest Indiana.

Other large out-of-town firms that have expanded to Indianapolis also have found room to grow.

Connie Lindman is managing partner of Chicago-based SmithAmundsen LLC’s Indianapolis office. It recently marked its first year in business, and it’s been a successful one.

“We’ve doubled the size of the group in a year, and in our new space we have room to double again,” Lindman said. The goal is to bring the number of attorneys practicing in the Indianapolis office to about 12 by year’s end.

Lindman leads SmithAmundsen’s firm-wide intellectual property practice from the Indianapolis location, but she said it’s been the intention since the launch of the location here to grow into a full-service firm.

“We would be happy to recruit in any area of business or commercial law,” she said. “I would like to move more quickly on that, and that is why we are actively looking for laterals.”

The Indianapolis legal market is competitive despite its lack of Fortune 500 headquarters, she said.

“I think companies of all size want to receive top-quality legal services, and they want to receive them at Midwest rates,” Lindman said. “We are operating at a world-class level, and we can do that from Indianapolis.”

With its expansion in Indianapolis, SmithAmundsen has grown to a firm of more than 150 lawyers across seven offices around the Midwest.

quarles-facts.jpgOperating the global firm Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart P.C. from its Indianapolis office, managing partner Kim Ebert said the firm’s overall growth since opening the Indianapolis location in 2000 has been remarkable.

The office started with eight lawyers and now has 35 in Indianapolis, according to Ebert. That’s representative of the firm’s overall growth – from 140 attorneys in 2000 to more than 720. The number of offices also has multiplied, from 12 to 45, including recent expansions in London and Berlin.

Ebert said Ogletree has posted average revenue gains of about 15 percent annually since 2007, and the Atlanta-based firm surged up the Am Law 100 from 97th place in 2012 to 88th in 2013.

“That may have been the biggest move on the list, other than through mergers,” he said.

The firm’s focus on labor and employment law provides insulation from some of the more cyclical areas of practice, Ebert said. At the same time, he added, there’s ongoing consolidation of firms with significant labor practices.

Another trend, Ebert said, is that of large national employers signing law firms to preferred provider agreements to handle all their legal needs.

“So we have a distinct advantage in that we have 45 offices. We’ve been successful competing for those types of proposals,” he said.

For Barber, the view of Indianapolis from the unfinished shell of an office is a market likely to continue to attract expansion from national firms that see opportunities.

“We’ve got a long-term commitment here,” he said.•

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  1. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

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