ILNews

Report: Ice Miller, Louisville firm end merger talks

Scott Olson
September 8, 2009
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Merger talks that began last year between Indianapolis-based Ice Miller LLP and a Louisville-based law firm reportedly have broken down, putting an end to a deal that was expected to close by the end of the year.

Citing an unnamed source at Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC, Business First of Louisville reported Friday that months of negotiations between the firms had ended. The source said it became apparent within the past month that the merger would not move forward.

IBJ first reported in December that the two firms were poised to tie the knot. Ice Miller hasn't confirmed or denied the potential partnership and has repeatedly declined to discuss the negotiations. IBJ is a sister paper to Indiana Lawyer.

In an e-mailed statement to IBJ this morning, Ice Miller Managing Partner Byron Myers said the firm constantly is evaluating "growth opportunities" to better serve clients.

The source told Business First that Greenebaum Doll partners became concerned that aligning with a larger firm such as Ice Miller might result in a rate increase at a time when many clients already are struggling because of the recession.

Ice Miller has 258 attorneys, compared with Greenebaum Doll's 180. Both practices are venerable stalwarts in their respective cities - Ice Miller was founded in 1910 and Greenebaum Doll in 1952.

Sources have told IBJ that operational differences between the two - namely in the way the firms compensate partners - were taking longer than expected to sort out and may have helped stall a deal.

A failed merger with Ice Miller would represent the second time in the past few years that Greenebaum Doll could not close a deal. The firm had been in negotiations with St. Louis-based Thompson Coburn LLP about four years ago.

In addition to Louisville, Greenebaum Doll has Kentucky offices in Covington, Frankfort and Lexington, as well as in Cincinnati and in Nashville, Tenn.

Ice Miller has 227 lawyers in Indianapolis, ranking it as the third-largest in the city, according to the most recent statistics submitted by the firm to IBJ. It has 31 lawyers in Chicago, the Chicago suburb of Lisle and Washington, D.C.

Overall, law firm merger activity slowed during the second quarter, according to Chicago-based legal consultancy Hildebrandt. Nine mergers and acquisitions were completed compared with 14 in the second quarter of 2008.

Ice Miller may have an incentive to become larger to help offset its traditionally lucrative bond work, which is struggling in the challenging economy. Legislation passed by the General Assembly last year that puts big-ticket school construction projects to a referendum hasn't helped, either. Those projects are typically funded by bond sales.

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  1. IF the Right to Vote is indeed a Right, then it is a RIGHT. That is the same for ALL eligible and properly registered voters. And this is, being able to cast one's vote - until the minute before the polls close in one's assigned precinct. NOT days before by absentee ballot, and NOT 9 miles from one's house (where it might be a burden to get to in time). I personally wait until the last minute to get in line. Because you never know what happens. THAT is my right, and that is Mr. Valenti's. If it is truly so horrible to let him on school grounds (exactly how many children are harmed by those required to register, on school grounds, on election day - seriously!), then move the polling place to a different location. For ALL voters in that precinct. Problem solved.

  2. "associates are becoming more mercenary. The path to partnership has become longer and more difficult so they are chasing short-term gains like high compensation." GOOD FOR THEM! HELL THERE OUGHT TO BE A UNION!

  3. Let's be honest. A glut of lawyers out there, because law schools have overproduced them. Law schools dont care, and big law loves it. So the firms can afford to underpay them. Typical capitalist situation. Wages have grown slowly for entry level lawyers the past 25 years it seems. Just like the rest of our economy. Might as well become a welder. Oh and the big money is mostly reserved for those who can log huge hours and will cut corners to get things handled. More capitalist joy. So the answer coming from the experts is to "capitalize" more competition from nonlawyers, and robots. ie "expert systems." One even hears talk of "offshoring" some legal work. thus undercutting the workers even more. And they wonder why people have been pulling for Bernie and Trump. Hello fools, it's not just the "working class" it's the overly educated suffering too.

  4. And with a whimpering hissy fit the charade came to an end ... http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2016/07/27/all-charges-dropped-against-all-remaining-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/ WHISTLEBLOWERS are needed more than ever in a time such as this ... when politics trump justice and emotions trump reason. Blue Lives Matter.

  5. "pedigree"? I never knew that in order to become a successful or, for that matter, a talented attorney, one needs to have come from good stock. What should raise eyebrows even more than the starting associates' pay at this firm (and ones like it) is the belief systems they subscribe to re who is and isn't "fit" to practice law with them. Incredible the arrogance that exists throughout the practice of law in this country, especially at firms like this one.

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