American Lawyer: Dinsmore Merger in Indiana an Example of Strong Midwest Legal Market
Dinsmore announced on Jan. 4 that it had merged with the regional firm of Wooden McLaughlin, adding three offices and 47 attorneys across Indiana as part of the firm's national expansion that has included six different states since 2017. The American Lawyer and Law.com subsequently published an article about where the merger fits into the greater trend of legal consolidation in the Midwest.
The Midwest has become an attractive acquisition target for Big Law lately, with Dinsmore & Shohl’s acquisition of an Indianapolis firm this week and Dentons’ deal with an Iowa firm. In the latest deal, Dinsmore, ranked No. 119 in the Am Law 200, said Monday it had acquired 47-attorney firm Wooden McLaughlin which has offices in three Indiana cities.
The merger, finalized Jan. 1, puts Cincinnati-headquartered Dinsmore in the Hoosier State for the first time. The deal adds to a growing list of firms that have put down roots or expanded in the Midwest over the last year or so. Market observers cite relatively lower overhead, close business ties and high legal spend as reasons why firms are targeting the Midwest for expansion.
“For Midwestern firms, consolidating in the region gives them a good platform across multiple states, where there are often business ties, so it helps them serve clients and expand their practices in those markets,” said Lisa Smith, a principal at D.C.-based legal consulting fim Fairfax Associates. “And they may be as large as they can be in their own market, so it gives them an opportunity to expand practices by adding other offices, other markets.”
“We border the entire state, so we’ve got quite a bit of business, and clients with business, in Indiana,” said George Vincent, the firm’s chairman and managing partner, in an interview Monday. “We thought it would be nice to have somebody on the ground there."
He also said there are strong business ties ... between Indiana and where the firm already has outposts.
Misha Rabinowitch, a partner at Wooden who will lead Dinsmore’s new offices in Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana, said the firm had been approached about mergers for at least a decade-and-a-half leading up to this one.
“We’ve always resisted those overtures... but the merger is a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow with our clients by providing additional depth of service in areas where we already practice, offering services in new business segments, and expanding our geographic reach.”
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