We work with single-minded dedication to help businesses like yours achieve their goals in the service of progress for all.
The world is changing faster than ever before. You need a firm with a proven track record of knowing when to rely on unchanging, bedrock values and when new market demands call for innovative thinking and adaptability.
Our clients have access to more than 600 legal professionals throughout 15 offices in California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, and Washington, D.C. We are among the 100 largest firms in the U.S. with experience in all the legal practice areas required to do business in today’s global marketplace.
At Barnes & Thornburg, we live and work by the values that have guided the firm for nearly 100 years. For our clients that means delivering value above and beyond the expected. It means a relentless focus on efficiency and cost-effectiveness. It means dedicated action on diversity initiatives and top talent recruitment. It means delivering uncommon value for our clients.
Our history dates back to 1926 with the original firm 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 firms in 1968 to form a Washington, D.C., firm known as Scribner, Hall, Thornburg and Thompson.
They were innovators from the beginning. Early on, the firm’s leaders paid attention to 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” 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 firm in Indianapolis. Unlike many Wall Street firms, however, we have never been hierarchical; from its inception Barnes & Thornburg has had roughly equal numbers of partners and associates.
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.
In another example of innovative thinking, and 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. Over the years, the firm has added several attorneys formerly associated with Galucci, Hopkins & Theisen; Johnson, Lawhead, Buth & Pope; Roemer & Mintz; Leagre, Chandler & Millard; and The Parsinen Law Firm.
Firm Managing Partner
Atlanta Managing Partner
California Managing Partner
Chicago Managing Partner
Columbus Managing Partner
Dallas Managing Partner
Detroit Metro Attorney-in-Charge
Fort Wayne Managing Partner
Grand Rapids Managing Partner
Indianapolis Managing Partner
Minneapolis Managing Partner
San Diego Partner-in-Charge
South Bend Managing Partner
Washington, D.C., Managing Partner
Diversity and Inclusion / Professional Development
Marketing and Business Development
ThemeVision LLC provides trial consulting, graphic design, and opinion research services to law firms, businesses, and government. Our consultants are social-science Ph.D.s who also hold advanced degrees in law or legal studies, as well as graphic designers and animators. We have the responsiveness you would expect from a boutique consulting firm, but we also enjoy the resources typically associated with the largest consulting firms.
The mission of TerraLex is to help member firms serve their clients' legal needs and business interests through a worldwide network of quality law firms that meets high professional standards. As a voluntary association of independent law firms, each TerraLex member retains the right to work with any law firm or client. Member firms operate as separate enterprises, responsible for their own staff and work products.
TechLaw Group, Inc. was formed in 1986 by five large U.S. law firms. Their mission was unique to the rapidly evolving practice of technology law: share best practices, provide a mechanism for referrals when it was mutually advantageous to do so, and build membership carefully so as to preserve a small group of non-competitive firms so that lasting and productive relationships can take root. From there, the organization has grown to include 24 law firms with more than 8,400 lawyers and offices in more than 35 countries. Currently, a Barnes & Thornburg attorney serves on the board of directors.
SCG Legal is a seamless global network of 148 of the profession’s preeminent independent law firms with more than 11,000 attorneys located in 82 countries around the world.
As Indiana's initiative for the state's technology-based economy and growing entrepreneurship, TechPoint is known for its ability to identify and empower high-growth Indiana technology companies through education and networking programs, government advocacy and strategic economic development initiatives. TechPoint represents Indiana's entire technology community, including publicly-traded companies, private businesses, colleges and research universities, and local economic development organizations.
Our alumni community connects all of our lawyers, past and present, to the opportunities and resources that help contribute to a fulfilling and successful career. We strive for excellence and to cultivate a network of the prestigious group of professionals that comprise our alumni to foster connection, engagement and continued advancement. We are proud to call our alumni “family.”
Through the Barnes & Thornburg Alumni Community, we provide opportunities for alumni to connect with other alumni and current Barnes & Thornburg lawyers, engage with training and development initiatives, and benefit from industry insights.
If you are a Barnes & Thornburg alumnus or alumna and are not currently receiving our emails or regular updates from us about the program, please complete the following survey so we can ensure we have your proper contact information.
Today there’s a lot of talk about “diversity,” “inclusion” and “work-life balance.” We go beyond the buzzwords to create a work place where all backgrounds, experiences, and opinions are valued. We know our clients want diverse perspectives. We know that our commitment to diversity and commitment to our communities make us better lawyers, strengthening our ability to serve you.
We actively encourage participation on boards, committees, bar associations and other volunteer opportunities. Many of our professionals serve in leadership positions for established nonprofits while others have supported new organizations or events to address unmet needs.
In addition to the thousands of hours of volunteer service donated by our professionals each year, Barnes & Thornburg also extends its support to organizations in underserved communities through sponsorships and donations; including schools, health providers, legal clinics, food banks, and many more.
We understand the fundamental truth that business is about serving people. It is our responsibility to start in our local communities making a difference and contributing to the common good.
Through conscious programming, engaged sponsorship and the continual internal and external investment of time, talent and resources, we are building and sustaining an inclusive, respectful, and open culture made up of accomplished individuals of all backgrounds.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives in the legal industry abound. At Barnes & Thornburg, however, diversity and inclusion is not just an initiative. It is not simply a program. Instead, diversity and inclusion are both a part of our long-standing core values, fully and deliberately integrated into the way we do business – from recruiting to staffing to the assembly of client service teams, procurement, promotion and advancement. In fact, effective October 1, 2016, Barnes & Thornburg doubled-down on its commitment to real change – to “better” – by creating an executive-level Director of Diversity position reporting to the Firm Managing Partner, and empowering one of our longstanding and active equity partners to fill the role full-time. According to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, roughly only 20% of law firm diversity directors are law firm partners and roughly only 40% operate in the role full time.
Barnes & Thornburg is “all in” when it comes to diversity and inclusion. And our mission is simple: to hire great talent from all backgrounds and then work together as a team to create an environment of inclusion that fosters retention, training, promotion and empowerment such that all are positioned to succeed.
We will continue to aggressively set goals to that end, because when we achieve them, the entire firm, our clients and the communities we serve win.
As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, we are pleased to announce the Barnes & Thornburg Diversity Scholarship. Candidates must be first-year law students who demonstrate a commitment to contributing meaningfully to the diversity and inclusion goals of Barnes & Thornburg and the legal profession. The scholarship recipient will have a paid position in the firm’s summer associate program. At the completion of a successful first summer, including receipt and acceptance of an offer to return to the firm for a second summer, the Scholarship recipient will receive $5,000. Scholarship recipients who return for a second summer will receive $5,000 at the completion of a successful second summer, including receipt and acceptance of an offer to join the firm as an entry-level associate. Scholarship recipients that accept an entry-level associate offer will receive an additional $5,000 when they join the firm.2020 Diversity Scholarship information will be available on December 1, 2019.
Applying for the Diversity Scholarship
The variety of pro bono work performed by Barnes & Thornburg attorneys is significant, ranging from appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals for indigent individuals, domestic violence matters for abused women, and formation and counsel to scores of nonprofits across the country.
All attorneys are encouraged to provide at least 25 hours of legal pro bono services each year – separate from individual volunteerism efforts and board involvement. The firm also gives billable hour credit to associates for up to 50 hours of approved legal pro bono work. In addition, the firm and our attorneys also provide substantial financial support to many providers who perform legal services for those who cannot afford them.
Barnes & Thornburg is a member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project, a national nonprofit organization comprised of leading national firms committed to pro bono legal services. Beyond being a member of that organization, the firm is also a signatory to the Pro Bono Pledge, through which the firm strives to devote three percent of the firms’ billable hours to pro bono services.
We are consistently ranked in the top 150 of firms by The American Lawyer pro bono rankings. Moreover, in recent years, the firm has received pro bono recognition awards from the Heartland Pro Bono Council, the Indiana Bar Foundation, and the Indianapolis Bar Association.
Corporate legal departments are being challenged to deliver on a growing mandate to play both offense and defense: provide practical legal advice to support day-to-day business activity and proactively and collaboratively engage with outside counsel.
With head-count, technology and budget pressures at play, legal departments need true partnerships from outside counsel who understand these challenges and have the expertise to assist.
We’re Here to Help
BT ValueWorks is our suite of innovative legal operations solutions that bring greater value, efficiency and predictability to the delivery of legal services. Barnes & Thornburg is building something better by bringing together in-house legal executives collaborating with our attorneys and full-time legal project management professionals, pricing professionals, and technology products to address day-to-day business and legal operations challenges.
Barnes & Thornburg brings together the right tools and teams for your needs.
Engaging with clients at the matter level to determine pricing, timing, outcomes and process expectations.
Creating a “no-surprises experience” based on proven processes and technology – and lawyers trained on their use.
A holistic approach to client service.
A Fortune 50 client faced a significant class action suit with an out-of-control legal spend looming.
To provide predictability in legal spend, we developed a fixed fee by phase with success fees for accomplishing procedural milestones, such as defeating class certification. The matter was scoped out to understand the components of each phase and billing was arranged in equal monthly installments to control cash flow and impact on overall legal budget. This matter was monitored using our matter management software and managed by the lead partner, who had biweekly calls with the team resulting in increased efficiency and improved communication.
A global pharmaceutical company sought consistent service across multiple practice areas, collaboration and partnership with panel firms.
A global pharmaceutical company was in need of consistency in service and maximized value. To do this across practice areas, we designated one relationship partner and an operations staff resource who work directly with client stakeholders to keep a pulse on issues and emerging needs. Together, they maximize internal efficiencies and service through streamlining communications, addressing issues quickly, organizing key resources and establishing service goals. Regular calls are held with the team to discuss client organizational business objectives, structural and staffing changes, emerging issues and key provisions in the outside counsel guidelines. Additionally, we ensure that we are delivering on our firm’s commitments to specified value-added services, proposing new ideas for enhanced service delivery and advancing diversity and inclusion.
A global food manufacturer was seeking greater spend predictability in its employment litigation cases.
Our client was challenged with the unpredictable spikes in legal spend related to their employment litigation matters. For this particular client, we developed an annual fixed fee to handle their entire single-plaintiff employment litigation portfolio. Using historical data, we were able to craft and provide a fee arrangement that is payable two-times a year. We handle early case assessment, all motion practice through summary judgement and if necessary, the appeal of summary judgement. This agreement has been greatly successful in addressing the client’s pain points of uncertainty regarding when a spike in litigation would hit their budgets.
A long-standing publicly traded intellectual property client was seeking budget certainty.
For long-time clients who require a fairly consistent level of work in a specific practice area, we have crafted annual retainers. For this particular client, we developed an annual retainer that increased budget predictability in patent prosecution and portfolio management. Based on the average number of hours spent on these services over the last several years, we devised an alternative arrangement: The firm would handle all of the client’s preparation, prosecution, clearance and opinion work for an annual retainer to be paid on a monthly basis. This agreement has greatly enhanced the client’s ability to predict fees and meet budget pressures. The retainer agreement has remained in place for four years and is considered to be a success by both parties.
A new client sought predictability after years of errant spend from previous outside counsel.
This company was searching for new outside counsel due to the current counsel’s inability to help manage its legal spend. We provided the general counsel with a number of alternative fee arrangements for consideration on a major lawsuit. Together with the client, our attorney team and the BT ValueWorks team crafted a sophisticated budget for the preliminary injunction phase of this lawsuit, along with a collar pricing agreement, sharing both risk and reward of the total cost predicated by the budget. At the completion of the preliminary injunction phase of the lawsuit, the general counsel was so happy with the collar pricing agreement that we were retained to handle multiple new cases under similar fee arrangements.