Dinsmore Completes One of Largest Legal Mergers of COVID-19 Pandemic by Opening 3 Offices in Indiana
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP continues its upward growth trajectory by merging with Wooden McLaughlin LLP in Indiana, adding offices in Indianapolis, Evansville and Bloomington to its national footprint.
The merger, which became official on Jan. 1, 2021, is one of the largest such deals of two domestic-only firms in the legal industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it immediately grows Dinsmore’s attorney headcount by over 7 percent. The 47 Wooden attorneys coming aboard bring Dinsmore’s total to more than 730 nationwide. The move into Indiana continues the firm’s national buildout from coast to coast and is a natural expansion of Dinsmore’s strong Midwestern presence in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Kentucky.
“I’ve always believed in having a renewable five-year plan and working back from where you want to be. Five years ago, we wanted to be in Boston, Florida and Indiana, and we’ve done all of those things. We are in every state surrounding Indiana, so it is a natural place for us to be. There are significant opportunities for new and existing Dinsmore clients there, and Wooden has a great legacy.”
George Vincent, Dinsmore Chairman and Managing Partner
Market commentators have noted Dinsmore’s momentum. In June, the National Law Journal named Dinsmore one of four American “firms to note.” That same month, Dinsmore also earned the largest year-over-year leap of any firm listed in the 2020 NLJ 500, after it grew by 16.5 percent in head count over the previous 12 months—660 percent of the national average.
Wooden’s own success, both recently and over its 50-year history, made the merger a logical and beneficial business decision.
“We’ve been approached for the last 15 years by firms interested in merging. We’ve always resisted those overtures because we value our culture. But when we were approached by Dinsmore, we had to take a serious look, because the culture they’ve developed is just like ours. The merger is also 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.”
Wooden partner Misha Rabinowitch, who will lead Dinsmore’s Indianapolis and Bloomington offices
Dinsmore’s leadership was also drawn to the firms’ matching cultures and focus on excellence in client service. Dinsmore and Wooden are both known for being highly collegial and commercial, and both firms understand the value of decades-long client relationships—in many cases with the Fortune 500—and clients look to the firms for the quality and sophistication of their offerings.
“We see the world and business in similar ways,” Vincent said. “Wooden attorneys feel a deep responsibility to their associates, staff and community. They want to offer broader services and be more diverse and inclusive.”
Rabinowitch is especially keyed in on that last point.
“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.”
Dinsmore Diversity Committee Chair Marty Dunn also chairs the integration team helping the seamless incorporation of Wooden attorneys and staff into Dinsmore.
“We are mindful of the challenges of this time and their impact on business decisions, but our willingness to take this opportunity is emblematic of who we are. In 2008, when almost every other firm retracted, Dinsmore grew. We’ve always wanted to attract the best talent and the best people with the best relationships. We knew that would get us beyond the recession, and this merger is another opportunity to do the same thing.”
Marty Dunn, Dinsmore Diversity Committee Chair
All three 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. This is Dinsmore’s second substantial expansion in under a year, after it opened its first Florida office (Tampa) last February. From 2017-19, it also opened offices in Cleveland, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Boston.