Dykema Broadens Chicago Footprint

February 20, 2004
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GRAND RAPIDS — Brian Page, managing partner of the Dykema Gossett law office on Ottawa Avenue NW, says his company also has an office on Monroe.

The Monroe Street that’s in Chicago, that is.

And before too long, Page added, that office will move a few blocks from its site near Grant Park to a point on the Chicago River at 10 S. Wacker Drive — where it will metaphorically rub elbows with the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The transition is a result of a merger between Detroit-based Dykema Gossett with Rooks Pitts, a 106-year-old Chicago practice that was founded upon the railway and steel industries.

According to the announcement, the merger — to be effective April 1 — is not a rescue of either firm.

In a prepared release, Rex E. Schlaybaugh Jr., chairman and CEO of Dykema Gossett, said both parties are robust.

“Rooks Pitts, for example, had its best year ever in 2003,” he said, “and has had double-digit revenue growth over the last five years, while Dykema Gossett has experienced similar success.” Dykema Gossett was founded in 1926.

The combined firm will have nearly 400 attorneys because while pursuing the merger with Rooks Pitts, Dykema Gossett also is bringing or has brought other expansions to fruition.

  • On Monday, concurrent with the merger announcement, three key real estate attorneys with the Bloomfield Hills office of Howard and Howard joined the Bloomfield Hills office of Dykema Gossett. One of the trio is David B. Lipski, who headed his former firm’s real estate task force.

  • On March 1, Dykema Gossett will combine with Jones & Blouch LLP, in Washington, D.C., a securities and corporate law firm specializing in insurance, banking and investment industries.

  • Last year Dykema Gossett — which already had more than 150 litigators — also acquired a 14-member Detroit-Los Angeles firm of national litigators who can represent the firm’s corporate clients in any state or federal court in the country.

Page told the Business Journal that these moves together with the Rooks Pitts merger give the new, larger practice critical mass not only in litigation, but also in Midwest practice in the areas of corporate, real estate, securities, intellectual property, tax, health care and trade regulation law.

Page said Dykema Gossett already had the Monroe office in Chicago with 10 attorneys. But in order to achieve its goal of becoming what it calls the pre-eminent Midwest law firm, it had been courting Rooks Pitts — a 79-member practice — for about two years.

For an interim period, the Chicago office will be called Dykema Gossett Rooks Pitts, but after the dust settles in the merger and the move to Wacker Drive is made, the practice will be known simply as Dykema Gossett.

The managing partner of the Chicago office will be Michael C. Borders, currently managing partner of Rooks Pitts.

In the merger announcement, Borders said many firms have courted Rooks Pitts, but that Dykema Gossett was the first with a highly compatible culture and a strategic vision beyond merely broadening its geographic platform.

“At the end of the day,” Borders said, “Dykema Gossett really impressed us with their strategic vision, midwestern heritage and professional reputation. Plus, its practice areas complement ours in all the right ways. Combined with their focus on technology, this was the first time the idea of merging really made sense to us.”

Schlaybaugh’s statement said the merger gives the combined firm a distinct Midwest focus and unparalleled depth across a range of practice areas.

“When client demand requires it, we will also have a presence in other markets, as we do today in Southern California,” he added. “But, our primary focus will be serving our national and international clients in the Midwest.”

Page expanded on that statement, noting that the enlarged firm will continue its method of managing by legal specialty, not geography.

Thus, he said, this week’s addition of the three new real estate practitioners in Bloomfield Hills will quickly benefit real estate clients regardless of whether they’re based near its Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Pasadena, Lansing, Chicago or Washington offices.

Too, Page said, the Washington addition to the firm’s capacities can benefit investment companies, broker-dealers and investment advisers, regardless of where they’re located on Dykema Gossett turf.           

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