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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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