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CHICAGO � Ulmer & Berne, an Ohio-based firm with about 180 attorneys, wants to build a larger office in Chicago and is on the hunt there for lawyers. “We have a lot of reason to think a bigger Chicago presence would make sense for us,” said Harold ‘Kip’ Reader, the firm’s managing partner. The firm opened its Chicago office in 2001, but six years later has only two attorneys in the space. By contrast, the firm has a significant number of attorneys in Cleveland, its largest office, and Cincinnati and about 10 lawyers in Columbus, according to its Web site. Ulmer & Berne opened its Cincinnati office in 2000 after absorbing the former office of Walker Chatfield & Doan. Chicago is the only office outside Ohio. “A combination with a firm larger than ours is not in our plan, but we are interested in a combination with a top-quality Chicago firm or group of Chicago attorneys,” said Reader, who declined to discuss any talks the firm may be having with other firms. Ulmer & Berne, which represents mainly Fortune 500 companies, has nearly doubled in size over the past five years and nearly tripled in size over the past 10. Some of the firm’s larger practice areas include business litigation, real estate, and product liability litigation. Reader focuses his practice on business and insurance coverage litigation. Chicago has recently attracted both national firms and Midwest regional firms, with some opening offices outright and filling them with lateral hires and others merging with Chicago firms. Two of the most recent entrants are Miller, Canfield, Paddock & Stone, a Detroit-based firm that is opening a Chicago office with five attorneys from McGuire Woods, and Texas-based Locke Liddell & Sapp, which will complete a merger with Chicago-based Lord Bissell & Brook next month.

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