15 attorneys migrate to Taft as Benesch closes Indy office

The Indianapolis location of Cleveland-based law firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP is closing after nearly all its former attorneys migrated to Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP this week.

Taft announced Thursday that the former Benesch lawyers joined the firm Monday. Both firms last month confirmed 14 Benesch attorneys would be moving to Taft by the end of April,  but Benesch managing partner Gregg Eisenberg last month did not acknowledge the firm’s Indianapolis office would close.

On Thursday, Benesch had removed the Indianapolis office location from its website. A Benesch official confirmed the local office’s closing.

The former Benesch attorneys were among 15 lateral hires Taft announced Thursday. Joining Taft from Benesch as partners are: Jeffrey A. Abrams, Kiamesha-Sylvia G. Colom, Melvin R. Daniel, Peter S. French, Andrew A. Kleiman, Jeffrey Kosc, Andi M. Metzel, and James H. Schwarz. Taft also announced former Faegre Baker Daniels LLP partner Thomas R. Biehl Jr. will join the firm.

Joining Taft from Benesch as associates are Kevin J. Burns, Patrick F.X. Fitzpatrick, Jr., and Paul Obszanski. Lindsey Rothrock joins Taft as of counsel, and Norman R. Newman and Gary P. Price transition from Benesch to join Taft as senior counsel.

The moves illustrate Taft’s significant recent growth through lateral hires. Taft said it added 51 lateral attorneys in 2017 across a wide range of disciplines. Brad Schwer, partner in charge of Taft’s Indianapolis office, and Kosc, formerly managing partner of Benesch’s Indianapolis office, said last month the moves will bolster Taft’s real estate, intellectual property, creditors rights, litigation and municipal law practices.

Taft boasts more than 400 attorneys firmwide in 10 offices. Benesch counts more than 200 attorneys in seven offices in the Midwest, on the East Coast and in Shanghai, China.

Taft and Benesch are relative newcomers in the Indianapolis legal market. Both entered the market through mergers, gobbling up established Indianapolis-based firms. Cincinnati-based Taft merged with the Sommer Barnard practice in 2008. Sommer Barnard had 64 partners and a total of 103 lawyers at the time of the merger, according to Indianapolis Business Journal research.

Benesch entered the Indianapolis market in 2010, acquiring one of Indianapolis' oldest firms, Dann Pecar Newman & Kleiman, just shy of Dann Pecar's 100th anniversary. When the merger was announced, the local firm initially named Benesch/Dann Pecar boasted 29 attorneys. But Benesch Indianapolis’ attorney numbers declined over time to 15 last month.  

Taft, meanwhile, has risen from seventh-largest law firm in Indianapolis in 2010 to fourth-largest, according to IBJ research.

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