Bamberger merger gives Kentucky firm stronger presence in Indiana

Since it was founded in 1959, the law firm of Bamberger Foreman Oswald & Hahn LLP has always had an office in the Hulman Building on Fourth Street in Evansville, but by the end of the summer, the mainstay in the local legal community will have a new name and a new location.

Bamberger and Lexington, Kentucky-based Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC announced Tuesday they have agreed to merge and will join together by Sept. 1. The 10 attorneys in Bamberger’s Evansville will move to the SKO space in the Old National Bank headquarters, creating an office of 17 attorneys.

Altogether, the merged firm will operate as Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC and have a total of 144 attorneys with offices in Louisville, Lexington and Frankfort, Kentucky; Indianapolis along with Evansville; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“It’s been an exciting time,” said attorney Christopher Wischer, speaking on behalf of the Bamberger partners. “I’m looking forward to getting over there (in the new office) and getting settled and getting to work.”

The merger will enable Bamberger to provide a broader range of services to existing clients. Being all things to all people is becoming more and more difficult as the legal market changes, Wischer said, and as clients grow in sophistication and legal needs.

The merger will bring a greater wealth of experience and talent to serve existing clients, Wischer said.

For Stoll Keenon Ogden, the merger with Bamberger creates a stronger foothold in the Indiana market. The firm already had an office in Evansville, moving across the Ohio River from Henderson, Kentucky, in 2013, to better service clients in the coal, oil and gas industries. Also, the firm has clients in Indianapolis.

The opportunity to merge with Bamberger was the “perfect fit,” said SKO managing partner P. Douglas Barr.

“We feel like we’re lucky to find the group of lawyers at Bamberger,” Barr said. “They are really good people and good lawyers.”  

The Bamberger firm was founded by Charles “C.E.” Oswald Jr., Fred Bamberger, Robert Hahn and William Foreman, who opened their offices in the Hulman Building in downtown Evansville. It subsequently added offices in Newburgh, Princeton, Posey County and Indianapolis.

Stoll Keenon Ogden traces its roots to 1897 when Richard Stoll took his newly acquired law degree from Yale University and started practicing in Lexington. He was appointed to the University of Kentucky board of trustees in 1898 and served for 50 years, longer than anyone in UK history. The football field was named Stoll Field in his honor in 1916.

In 1930, Stoll, then a judge for the Fayette Circuit Court in Kentucky, joined attorneys Wallace Muir, William H. Townsend and James Park to form Stoll Muir Townsend & Park. A year later, Gayle Mohney joined the firm as a young associate and went on to build a reputation as an outstanding lawyer for thoroughbred interests.

Together, Stoll and Mohney leveraged the firm’s representation of many Lexington thoroughbred horse farms. With Hal Price Headley, they developed a thoroughbred breeders racetrack and sales company, which today is the world’s leading thoroughbred auction company.

Longtime clients with Stoll Keenon include Lexmark, Keeneland race track and Brown Forman.

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