Talks of a combination are underway between Minneapolis-based Faegre Baker Daniels and Philadelphia-based law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath, Indiana Lawyer confirmed Wednesday.
“Drinker Biddle & Reath and Faegre Baker Daniels are in discussions but have nothing further to report at this time,” a spokesperson speaking on behalf of both firms told Indiana Lawyer. The Am Law 200 law firms first acknowledged they were in merger discussion last week, according to Law.com.
Tom Clay, Altman Weil principal and merger adviser, told Law.com that both Pepper Hamilton and Drinker Biddle have been rumored to be seeking mergers for a while and noted that their interest is indicative of an industrywide change.
“Right now there are more discussions between firms that really want to scale up than I’ve seen ever,” Clay told Law.com. “The idea of being national or probably even international is where a lot of firms think they need to be.”
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 731 attorneys in 10 offices nationwide as well as two offices in China, according to IBJ.
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 start-ups, 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.
A merger between the firms would be the third since the start of 2019 involving some of the largest law firms in the Indianapolis market. Last month, 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’ No. 4 firm, announced it will merge with Minneapolis-based Briggs and Morgan as of Jan. 1.