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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  2. What a fine example of the best of the Hoosier tradition! How sad that the AP has to include partisan snark in the obit for this great American patriot and adventurer.

  3. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  4. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  5. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

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