Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP announced today that Robert J. Hicks has been elected as the next firm-wide managing partner, effective January 1, 2017. He will succeed Thomas Terp, who will complete 10 years as managing partner at the end of the year. Terp and Hicks will work closely during the next several months to ensure a seamless transition.
Hicks emerged as an unopposed candidate following an extensive vetting process designed by a succession planning committee appointed early this year by the firm’s executive committee. He has served as partner-in-charge of Taft’s Indianapolis office and has been a member of the firm’s executive committee since 2008, when Indianapolis-based Sommer Barnard merged into Taft.
Hicks will continue his active merger and acquisitions practice, his extensive client involvement and his civic and community activities.
“Bob and I have worked together for several years in the management and growth of the firm. His management experience with a large, international finance company, coupled with his involvement in the management of our firm for the past several years, makes him uniquely qualified to lead the firm going forward,” said Terp.
Hicks took a leave of absence from private practice from 1996 to 2001, and quickly rose through the ranks of senior management at CIT Group, Inc., the second largest finance company in the world. By the end of his time at CIT, he was executive vice president in charge of corporate development. He returned to private practice in 2001, after CIT was acquired by Tyco International.
In Terp’s 10 years as managing partner, Taft has grown from 200 attorneys to more than 400 today. Terp led a Midwestern growth strategy to expand the firm’s services and broaden its geographic footprint. In 2008, Indianapolis-based Sommer Barnard and Cleveland-based Kahn Kleinman merged into Taft, adding 125 lawyers to the firm’s roster. Three years later, Chester Willcox & Saxbe merged into Taft to expand the firm’s presence in Columbus. The firm entered the Chicago market in 2014, when Shefsky & Froelich merged into Taft. Additional growth has been achieved through organic growth and lateral attorney additions.
Under Terp’s leadership, Taft adopted a decentralized leadership structure to ensure all offices and practice groups are actively involved in the decision-making process and direction of the firm.
“Tom’s leadership has been the driving force behind much of the success that Taft enjoys today. His vision transformed Taft into a strong regional firm with deeper and broader service offerings to our clients. We look forward to building upon Taft’s legacy as we move into the next exciting chapter of the firm’s strategic plan. As we pursue future growth opportunities, we will continue our keen focus on providing innovative solutions to our clients and attracting top talent,” Hicks said.
Hicks focuses his practice on complex business and commercial transactions, private equity and venture capital transactions, mergers and acquisitions, structured financings, business advisory services, and structural tax matters. He serves as outside counsel for the largest private equity fund in Indiana, along with several other businesses. Like Terp, he is a graduate of the William and Mary Law School, Williamsburg, Va. A graduate of Butler University, Indianapolis, Ind., he passed the CPA exam and started his career as a tax professional with Arthur Andersen before going to law school.