05 January 2021

US firm Dinsmore & Shohl unveils merger with Indiana-based Wooden McLaughlin

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA skyline over Monument Circle

Indianapolis skyline over Monument Circle

Deal sees Dinsmore add three new offices and 47 new attorneys to its nationwide roster

US national firm Dinsmore & Shohl has merged with Indiana law firm Wooden McLaughlin in one of the largest US domestic legal M&A deals since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The merger is part of Dinsmore’s ongoing nationwide expansion, building on its existing Midwestern presence and marking its second major entry into a new state in under a year following its Florida office opening in Tampa last February. The Cincinnati-based firm’s latest deal incorporates three new offices in Indianapolis, Evansville and Bloomington and adds 47 new attorneys to its national roster, boosting its headcount by more than 7% to around 730 lawyers.

The firm, which now has 29 offices, is ranked 77th in the US by size in the NLJ 500 with revenue last year of $271.5m.

George Vincent, Dinsmore’s chairman and managing partner, said: “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.”

He added: “We see the world and business in similar ways. Wooden attorneys feel a deep responsibility to their associates, staff and community. They want to offer broader services and be more diverse and inclusive.”

As part of the merger, Wooden partner Misha Rabinowitch will lead Dinsmore’s Indianapolis and Bloomington offices, while Greg Freyberger becomes office managing partner in Evansville and partner Joe Kremp joins Dinsmore’s board of directors.

Rabinowitch said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

Two out of five regional combinations achieved by Dentons so far as part of its Project Golden Spike to build a comprehensive national US network have involved Mid Western firms: Bingham Greenebaum, which is also headquartered in Indianapolis, and Iowa's Davis Brown.

Wider M&A activity slumped in the US last year as the pandemic crimped deal-making in the first half of 2020. While transactions rebounded in the second half – hitting a record for 2H deals globally – overall US M&A activity fell to $1.4tr, around a fifth lower compared to 2019 levels, according to Refinitiv. 

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