Faegre announces 2020 combination with Drinker Biddle & Reath

Faegre Baker Daniels and Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath have officially announced the combination of their law firms following an affirmative vote by the partnerships of both organizations. The announcement comes about a month after murmurs began that such a move was underway.

The combined firm, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, will begin operations Feb. 1, with Faegre managing partner Tom Froehle serving as co-chair alongside Andrew Kassner, chairman and CEO of Drinker Biddle & Reath.

Faegre Drinker’s headcount will rise to more than 1,300 attorneys and consultants in 22 offices across the United States, China and the United Kingdom, making it one of the nation’s 50 largest law firms based on both size and projected gross revenue of nearly $1 billion, according to a press release.

Indianapolis will be the combined firms’ second largest office, in addition to offices in Minneapolis, the largest office, and Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

The combined firm’s corporate and business litigation teams will maintain more than 200 attorneys, while the product liability and intellectual property attorneys will both number around 150, according to data provided by the new entity. 

The merger will also offer new practice capabilities and increased regulatory expertise in areas such as employee benefits, finance and restructuring, government advocacy, health, insurance, investment management, labor and employment, private client, and real estate, the combined firm stated.

Froehle and Kassner characterized the merger as a unique alignment of core values and a combination of equals.

“This strategic combination allows us to stay true to our shared values while leveraging the considerable resources of the new firm to deliver to clients the sophisticated solutions and exceptional service that they expect. The broader platform will accelerate our investments in talent, technology and innovation to provide improved service and greater value to clients,” Froehle and Kassner said in a joint statement.

Ultimately, the combination is about making sure the firm can better serve clients, Froehle told Indiana Lawyer. As clients have voiced a desire for more service capabilities, Froehle said the combined firm has listened.

“From a client perspective we think this is a real positive in terms of capabilities to what we can offer to our clients,” he said. The combined firm’s niche, he added, is to deliver client services in a way that is different than its competitors.

“We believe that we have that excellence without arrogance, that we are focused on listening and trying to understand what the client wants,” Froehle said. “This is all about trying to be responsive to clients and their need.”

No consolidations will take place with any of Indiana’s three Faegre offices, Froehle said, pointing out the commitment to the Indianapolis community.

“We have a long history of being involved, not just as leaders in the legal community but in the broader community, and that’s a part of our culture, as well,” Froehle said. “We want to make sure that we continue to do that and are committed to making that happen.”

The new firm’s executive leadership team will include Faegre Baker Daniels partners David Barrett and Jack Sperber, as well as Faegre vice chair and chief operating partner Gina Kastel. From Drinker Biddle, executive partners Bill Connolly and Judy Reich will also serve as executive partners for Faegre Drinker, with Drinker Biddle COO Jane Koehl continuing as COO of the combined firm.

FBD is the second largest law firm in the Indianapolis market, with 198 attorneys locally and 372 full-time employees, according to data collected by the Indianapolis Business Journal in May 2019. Firmwide, Faegre is made up of more than 750 legal professionals in 10 offices nationwide, as well as two offices in China.

Drinker Biddle & Reath is a national, full-service law firm providing litigation, regulatory and business solutions to public and private corporations, multinational Fortune 100 companies and startups, according to its website. Founded in 1849, the Philly-based firm consists of 575 lawyers across 12 offices nationwide in the Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and California.

The merger is the third since the start of 2019 involving some of the largest law firms in the Indianapolis market. In October, Bingham Greenebaum Doll, the city’s sixth-largest firm, announced a combination with Dentons, the world’s largest law firm. Months earlier, Taft Stettinius & Hollister, Indianapolis’ fourth largest firm, announced it will merge with Minneapolis-based Briggs and Morgan as of Jan. 1.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that Faegre Baker Daniels has three total offices in Indiana, with two in Indianapolis and one in Fort Wayne.

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