Law360: How Dinsmore Inked Indiana Firm Merger After COVID Pause
Law360 spoke with Dinsmore Chairman and Managing Partner George Vincent as well as Indianapolis/Bloomington Office Managing Partner Misha Rabinowitch last week about how the firm's merger with Wooden McLaughlin came together during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Jan. 1, the merger was completed and Wooden's 47 attorneys joined Dinsmore, giving the firm a significant presence across the state of Indiana. Read what they had to say below.
Dinsmore managing partner George Vincent told Law360 on Monday that the merger, expanding the firm's footprint to Indianapolis, Evansville and Bloomington, signals the firm's "fortunate" and "strong" financial position despite COVID-19.
While the merger was inked amid the pandemic, leaders from both firms told Law360 that about six months of in-person communications they kept up before the virus' outbreak in the U.S. were crucial to finalizing a deal.
Wooden McLaughlin, which specializes in litigation and commercial finance, got serious about joining forces with Dinsmore due to the "cultural fit" and the compatibility of their practices, he added. Financial metrics including billing rates, partner compensation and profitability "seemed to fit" as well, the firm said.
"We felt like all signs were leading [to a deal]," Rabinowitch said. "People were pretty confident that things could work out."
Then the pandemic hit, causing states across the U.S. to impose stay-at-home home orders and other restrictions on nonessential businesses in the spring.
In the intervening weeks, Rabinowitch and Vincent maintained weekly discussions on the state of their firms. Rabinowitch said Wooden McLaughlin was only considering a combination with the Ohio-based firm.
As firms including Dinsmore and Wooden McLaughlin continued to see a high demand for their services and as cash flow remained strong, the two firms decided in August to "reengage in earnest," Rabinowitch said.
"We got to the fall and said let's do this," Vincent added.
By early October, leaders from both firms began putting the finishing touches on the deal via phone calls. The firms waited to finalize the merger until Jan. 1 for accounting purposes, Rabinowitch said, adding that it "made more sense rather than have a third-quarter closing."
Dinsmore is among the 100 biggest firms in the U.S. and now boasts 730 attorneys across 29 cities, the firm said in a statement. Vincent is bullish about the combination, noting that attorneys from the firms have worked together in the past in litigation and some transactional matters.
"We had a feel for who they were, so that helped a lot," he said. "The first meeting we had with them went really well and it progressed from there. We think it's a really good fit for us."
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