Wooden McLaughlin LLP has joined Dinsmore & Shohl LLP in what is being described as one of the largest mergers between two domestic-only law firms during the COVID-19 pandemic. The combination, which was official Jan. 1, was announced by Dinsmore on Monday and brings three Indiana law offices under its umbrella.
With the merger, Dinsmore will add Wooden’s 47 attorneys and offices in Indianapolis, Evansville and Bloomington. These will be the first Indiana locations for Dinsmore, a national firm with more than 700 attorneys in 29 cities, including a strong Midwest presence in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois.
Misha Rabinowitch, partner at Wooden McLaughlin, said the firm has resisted merger offers from other law firms during the last 15 years.
“But when we were approached by Dinsmore, we had to take a serious look because the culture they’ve developed is just like ours,” said Rabinowitch, who will lead Dinsmore’s Indianapolis and Bloomington offices. “The merger is also a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow with clients by providing additional depth of service in areas where we already practice, offer services in new business segments, and expanding our geographic reach.”
The merger will continue Dinsmore’s momentum.
In June 2020, the National Law Journal named Dinsmore one of four American “firms to note.” That same month, Dinsmore earned the largest year-over-year leap of any firm in the 2020 NLJ 500 after it grew by 16.5% in head count over the previous 12 months.
The merger with Wooden McLaughlin is Dinsmore’s second substantial expansion in under a year after it open its first Florida office last February. From 2017-2019, the firm also opened offices in Cleveland, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Boston.
“We are in every state surrounding Indiana, so it is a natural place for us to be,” said Dinsmore chairman and managing partner George Vincent. “There are significant opportunities for new and existing Dinsmore clients there, and Wooden has a great legacy.”
All three Wooden McLaughlin offices will remain in their current locations. In addition to Rabinowitch assuming a leadership position, partner Joe Kremp will join Dinsmore’s board of directors and Greg Freyberger will be the office managing partner in Evansville.
Rabinowitch noted the merger will enable Wooden to offer a broader array of services and be more diverse and inclusive.
“This is a real opportunity to increase the diversity of our offices,” he said. “We were very attracted to Dinsmore’s focus on diversity, which is top of mind for us. I’m personally excited to continue working to make our offices as inclusive as possible, now with the assistance of Dinsmore’s diversity initiatives that are already in place and have great momentum.”
According to Indianapolis Business Journal research, Wooden McLaughlin, founded in 1970, was the 12th-largest law firm in the Indianapolis area as of May 8, 2020.