Type: News
Date: 04/30/2008

Indianapolis Law Firm Sommer Barnard Merges With Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Enlarges Taft’s Midwest Footprint and Expands Professional Services to Clients

Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP announced today that Sommer Barnard PC, a prominent Indianapolis law firm with more than 100 lawyers, will merge with and become part of Taft.

This brings the number of attorneys with Taft to 320 across offices in Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Covington, Kentucky; Phoenix, Arizona; Beijing, China; and now Indianapolis, Indiana. Sommer Barnard, which will transition to the Taft name, operates in two locations in Indianapolis, downtown and on the north side.

In announcing the merger, Taft’s managing partner Thomas Terp said, “The leadership and professionals at Sommer Barnard share our values of personal service, creativity and performance-driven attitude, and are a great fit for us as we expand into the Indianapolis market. They are superior lawyers who value teamwork and client service, and we are thrilled to have them join the Taft team.”

Terp said the combined strengths of the two firms will give the firm greater depth in meeting a variety of business and individual legal needs. Those services include business and finance, litigation, environmental, real estate, labor and employment, intellectual property, health care, bankruptcy, personal services and tax.

Sommer Barnard’s managing partner, Robert Hicks, said, “As a result of our clients’ success, the volume and sophistication of their needs are growing. To continue to provide our clients the high level of service we’ve always offered, we needed to grow along with them. Taft is one of the most established and respected firms in the Midwest and has a great national reputation. It is the first firm we encountered that not only said it was devoted to the same principles our firm is based on, but also proved it to us.” As part of the merger, Hicks will become Partner-in-Charge of Taft’s new Indianapolis offices.

Why Merge

Terp said Taft’s Executive Committee had been analyzing a potential merger for several months, seeking ways to enlarge the firm’s Midwest presence and build upon its strengths. Coincidentally, Sommer Barnard also was seeking ways to expand its services. Terp had experience working previously with both founder William C. (Bill) Barnard, and a current member of Sommer Barnard’s Executive Committee, Frank Deveau.

“One conversation led to another and it became clear that the professional and personal synergies were a great match,” Terp said. He added both firms are involved in the communities where they have operations, and that won’t change. “Our management and associates are committed to not only delivering excellent legal work, but also being good corporate citizens,” Terp said.

“We’re excited about this merger because we get the best of both worlds,” said Hicks. “We continue to operate independently in Indianapolis, with the same management and team in place as before, while adding the expertise gained by merging with Taft.”

More about Taft Law and Sommer Barnard

Taft is a full-service firm with offices in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio; Covington, Kentucky; Phoenix, Arizona; and Beijing, China. With more than 220 attorneys and a 122-year track record of experience, the firm came to have not only local prominence, but national stature as well. The firm's Labor Department, led by J. Mack Swigert, was instrumental in helping Senator Robert A. Taft draft 1947’s ground-breaking Taft-Hartley Act.

Sommer Barnard has more than 100 attorneys and was founded 40 years ago. It has offices in downtown Indianapolis and on the north side at Keystone at the Crossing. The firm’s founders, James K. Sommer and William C. Barnard, started Sommer Barnard in 1968 as a business litigation boutique that has grown to a full-service law firm serving local, regional and national business clients.

Together, the merged firm has many lawyers who have been recognized for their professional accomplishments. For example, 72 attorneys are listed in the latest edition of the Best Lawyers in America, 28 attorneys are cited in the most recent edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and 64 were identified recently as Indiana Super Lawyers and Ohio Super Lawyers.

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