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Barnes & Thornburg LLP

About Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Barnes & Thornburg LLP is the product of a 1982 merger between two well-established Indiana law firms, one in Indianapolis, the other in South Bend. The marriage of Indianapolis-based Barnes, Hickam, Pantzer & Boyd and South Bend-based Thornburg, McGill, Deahl, Harman, Carey & Murray formed one of the largest law firms in the Midwest and began the firm’s growth to its current national stature. Barnes & Thornburg LLP currently has law offices located in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Delaware, Indiana, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., with more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals.

This is quite a change from the firm’s modest beginnings in 1926 as Seebirt, Oare & Omacht in South Bend. Founded by former Mayor Eli F. Seebirt and Judge Lenn J. Oare, the practice grew and changed over the years to become the largest firm in South Bend and Elkhart. In 1965, the South Bend firm merged with Elkhart-based Cawley & Harman to become Thornburg, McGill, Deahl, Harman, Carey & Murray. The firm affiliated with three eastern law firms in 1968 to form a Washington, D.C. firm known as Scribner, Hall, Thornburg and Thompson. This affiliation continued until 1981. Early on, these attorneys watched legal trends and perceived the need for services in the growing fields of labor law, tax, business, and estate administration. The firm was among the first to serve these areas, and continues to remain strong in them today.

Indianapolis-based Barnes, Hickam, Pantzer & Boyd was formed in 1940, when the founding partners began meeting to discuss the essential qualities of an “ideal” law firm. All wanted to be involved in a firm with a strong trial department at its core, and one that was organized by areas of law. Founding partner Kurt F. Pantzer, a Harvard Law School graduate, wanted to create a Wall Street law firm in Indianapolis. Unlike many Wall Street firms, however, the firm has never been hierarchical; from its inception Barnes & Thornburg has had roughly equal numbers of partners and associates. By any measure, Pantzer succeeded in his quest.

The four new partners believed 13 was their lucky number. They formed the firm of Barnes, Hickam, Pantzer & Boyd on Friday, September 13, 1940, and started with 13 people in an office of 13 rooms on the 13th floor of the Merchants Bank Building, the city’s first skyscraper. They selected an office address of 1313 and procured 1313 as the firm’s telephone number. Unheard of at the time, the firm opened with a full-time librarian. The Barnes & Thornburg library increased over the years, becoming at one point the largest private law library in the state of Indiana.

The firm recruited graduates of leading law schools with outstanding scholastic records and paid beginning salaries within the range paid by large metropolitan firms. This was during an era when obtaining experience in an office was thought to be adequate compensation. The tradition of excellence in hiring and mutual dedication to the highest standards of work continues to this day.

Since the creation of Barnes & Thornburg in 1982, the firm has grown both in size and geographical reach by combining with the following firms: Jenkins, Coffey, Hyland, Badger & Conard; Roberts, Ryder, Rogers & Scism; Church, Nilsson & Paulen; and Lee, Mann, Smith, McWilliams, Sweeney & Ohlson; and The Parsinen Firm. Over the years, the firm has added several attorneys formerly associated with Galucci, Hopkins & Theisen; Johnson, Lawhead, Buth & Pope; Roemer & Mintz; and Leagre, Chandler & Millard. The firm has expanded geographically by opening offices in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Washington, D.C.; Chicago, Ill.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Atlanta, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; Minneapolis, Minn.; Wilmington, Del.; and Los Angeles, Calif.

Additional info
Year of establishment 1982 Number of Partners 307
Number of offices 10 Partner:associate ratio 3.00
Biggest office Indianapolis Percentage of women attorneys 18.10
Number of attorneys 469 Percentage of minority attorneys 6.10
Number of associates 104 Percentage of LGBT attorneys 0.80
Area of practice

Barnes & Thornburg LLP practices law in the following areas and works with its clients to provide the best possible legal solutions.

  • Advertising & Marketing
  • Antitrust and Competition Law
  • Appeals
  • Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights
  • Cloud Computing & Cyber-Security
  • Corporate
  • Data Security and Privacy
  • Entertainment Media and Sports
  • Environmental
  • Finance Insolvency and Restructuring
  • Franchising & Distribution
  • Government Finance
  • Government Services
  • Healthcare
  • Immigration and Global Mobility Services
  • Insurance Recovery and Counseling
  • Intellectual Property
  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Litigation
  • Private Client Services
  • Real Estate
  • Tax
  • White Collar and Investigations
Awards and recognitions

Barnes & Thornburg LLP Receives 87 First-Tier Rankings in U.S. News and Best Lawyers' 2015 "Best Law Firms" Survey
Five Barnes & Thornburg Attorneys Named Michigan Super Lawyers®, Rising Stars
More than 150 Barnes & Thornburg Attorneys Named "Best Lawyers"


Barnes & Thornburg LLP recognizes that a commitment to diversity requires action. "Diversity" encompasses a wide range of experience and characteristics, including gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, marital status, veteran's status, and disability. At Barnes & Thornburg, we are committed to creating an inclusive, respectful, and open culture made up of talented individuals of diverse backgrounds. We strive to sustain a work environment in which each individual's perspective, background, skills, and abilities are valued.

"As this world continues to become more diverse and our potential clients become more diverse, we need to understand the issues associated with people who are different from us," explained Anthony Prather, past co-chair of the firm's Diversity Committee.

Diversity at Barnes & Thornburg helps create a "win-win-win" scenario. Diversity among our attorneys and staff facilitates the firm's success and productivity. Diversity improves morale, attracts talented and creative people, and promotes professional development. A diverse and positive environment promotes quick and innovative solutions for our clients.

We are committed to sustaining a professional environment that attracts and retains attorneys and staff of various backgrounds, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, disability, gender identity or social perspective. Kathleen Anderson, co-chair of the firm's Diversity Committee, put the firm's commitment to diversity into perspective:

"We have been recognized on a national level in the area of diversity," Kathleen said. "We know, however, that in this ever-changing world we need to be vigilant and to stay ahead of the curve on diversity initiatives."

Learn more about the firm's Diversity Committee and its initiatives at the following

Summer associate program

Barnes & Thornburg offers a summer associate program that gives law students a wide variety of opportunities. Summer associates work closely with the firm's more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals and their clients on matters ranging from small matters where the summer associate may take on a large role to complex matters in which the summer associate may work as part of a team. Further, the growth and breadth of Barnes & Thornburg's regional and national representations ensures that when they become associates in our firm our summer associates know they will be challenged every day working on sophisticated, complex legal problems that have potential ramifications to our clients at the local, state, regional, national and international level.

Summer associates also are exposed to the firm's pro bono program. At Barnes & Thornburg, pro bono assignments are not dictated to attorneys; summer associates have the opportunity to select the pro bono projects and activities that they want to be involved in and that are important to their own values and beliefs. Barnes & Thornburg has a written pro bono policy confirming that all attorneys may receive up to 50 hours of billable credit for pro bono work. Find out more about the firm's pro bono efforts by viewing the pro bono page in this section.

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Barnes & Thornburg LLP LOCATIONS


Barnes & Thornburg LLP Headquarters

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN


Barnes & Thornburg LLP Office

300 Ottawa Avenue, NW ,
Suite 500
Grand Rapids, MI

616-742-3930 phone
616-742-3999 fax


Barnes & Thornburg LLP Office

1 North Wacker Drive ,
Suite 4400
Chicago, IL

312-357-1313 phone
312-759-5646 fax


Barnes & Thornburg LLP Office

600 One Summit Square
Fort Wayne, IN

260-423-9440 phone
260-424-8316 fax


Barnes & Thornburg LLP Office

1717 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. ,
Suite 500
Washington, DC

202-289-1313 phone
202-289-1330 fax

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