Firms tout similar cultures, client service, business practices as strengths.
Well-known Chicago law firm Shefsky & Froelich today announced that its shareholders have voted to merge practices effective Jan. 2, 2014, with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, recognized as one of the top mid-sized law firms in the Midwest.
Cezar (“Cid”) M. Froelich of Shefsky & Froelich said the merger was pursued after the two firms realized they held a common and shared approach to business. Though Shefsky has been courted over the last decade by many firms with household names in the legal community, Froelich said a merger with Taft made the most sense for both clients and employees.
“With this merger, we will strengthen our core practices, but we also will be able to provide many services and cover areas of expertise that we just couldn’t before with a firm of 70 lawyers,” he said. “Best of all, we will not change our client service culture and we will maintain our direct relationships with them. Our respective firm cultures and internal structures align remarkably well. We will be able to provide our clients with all the benefits of a large firm, while maintaining our historical fee structure and client attentiveness of a mid-sized firm.”
The merger, which was almost two years in the making, provides Taft with a very strong presence and deep relationships in Chicago which Shefsky & Froelich has developed over 43 years. While Taft’s regional footprint will provide significant additional bench strength to the former 70 lawyer Shefsky & Froelich firm, Taft likewise will realize a great benefit from such strong capabilities in Chicago because they will enhance Taft’s offerings to its clients in other markets. As a merged firm, clients will have access to approximately 400 regional attorneys in eight cities with an even broader range of resources.
“Our mission is to be preeminent in our region, and to achieve that, a major presence in Chicago is essential. As business becomes more global and regional, having such a respected firm with talented attorneys on the ground in Chicago will benefit our clients in all of our offices,” said Thomas Terp, Chairman and Managing Partner for Taft. “This addition is a key step in our continued, selective geographic growth.”
The merger with Shefsky & Froelich marks Taft’s eighth office in five states. Consistent with its strategic goal of being a dominant regional firm, the firm has expanded into other key Midwestern markets, including Indianapolis, Columbus and Cleveland. The merger extends the Taft footprint to Chicago, the financial hub of the Midwestern region, with a vibrant economy that is relevant to our clients in Taft’s other markets.
Taft is ranked as one of the “Best Law Firms” of 2014 by U.S. News Media Group and is recognized in 21 practice areas nationally. In addition, 124 Taft attorneys, about two-thirds of the firm’s partners, are ranked in the 2014 edition of Best Lawyers in America. Taft is also listed in Corporate Counsel magazine as a 2014 Go-To Law Firm for the Top 500 Companies in the U.S.
The firm traces its roots to 1885 and in 1923, Robert A. Taft and Charles P. Taft II, sons of former President William Howard Taft, joined the firm to become Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP. Today, Taft has offices in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio, Indianapolis, Northern Kentucky and Phoenix. It also has an established Japanese practice based in the U.S. It practices across a wide range of industries, in virtually every area of law, including:
- Business & Finance
- Business Restructuring, Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights
- Health & Life Sciences
- Intellectual Property
- Labor & Employment
- Private Client
- Real Estate
Shefsky & Froelich was founded in 1970 and, despite being a mid-sized firm by Chicago standards, has since grown to be on a short list of respected and recognized firms in Chicago. This year marks one of the most successful financial years in the firm’s history. With extensive experience in complex commercial transactions and specializing in areas like litigation and gaming, the firm serves highly specialized clients, Fortune 500 companies and government entities with a broad range of services.
Froelich said while the firm name will change in Chicago, very few other changes are expected. The merger won unanimous support from shareholders and there are no staffing changes planned – other than a goal to substantially grow the Chicago office.
“Our clients can still pick up the phone and continue working with the same professionals they have grown to trust and rely on, and at the same reasonable rates,” Froelich said. “The relationships we have with our clients are the foundation of our business, and this is not only understood but embraced by Taft. I have great confidence in our success as our two firms come together as one.”
Under Taft’s unique management model, where mergers are simply not “takeovers,” each office operates with a high degree of autonomy. Each office runs its own market, space and professionals, but with strong assets shared across practice areas from Taft’s broad regional platform. Terp said that approach will allow Shefsky’s long and successful business model to continue.
“With Shefsky’s influence, relationships and reputation, this merger allows us to serve Taft clients in Chicago with the same quality and responsiveness as in other markets,” said Terp. “I am confident that this merger will exceed our expectation."
About Shefsky & Froelich
Shefsky & Froelich Ltd. was founded in 1970 by a small group of highly motivated attorneys with extensive experience in complex commercial transactions. Clients range from state and local public bodies to highly specialized entrepreneurial firms to Fortune 500 companies with multinational operations. Attorneys and professional staff provide these clients with experienced, cost-effective legal representation in the areas of banking and financial institutions, corporate/business, employment law, private wealth, gaming, government regulation, health care, intellectual property, litigation, probate, real estate, securities and work-outs, and reorganizations. The firm's philosophy remains rooted in its founders' commitment to provide superior representation by combining the highest-quality legal skills with creativity, innovation, and imagination. More information about the firm is available on its Web site at www.shefskylaw.com.