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Indianapolis doesn’t spring to mind when we think of cutthroat lateral hiring. But Johnson Smith has long been that town’s rebel, regularly raiding the larger firms for top talent. The “Pac-Man” firm, Indy lawyers called the fast-growing Johnson Smith, which peaked at more than 60 transplants. Live by the lateral sword, die by the lateral sword. On May 8, the firm called it quits after merger plans with Cincinnati’s Dinsmore & Shohl were scrapped. Among the official causes of death: lack of a cohesive culture, competing visions for the firm, and too many hands reaching for the purse strings. Another interesting factor was an unusual buyout clause that financially rewarded partners to leave. In the end, the refugees are scattering in many small groups. Speaking of small, shortlived firms … Last September, our “E-Lawyer” column told you about 12-lawyer Chappell White, a Boston corporate boutique that was mourning the death of a dot-com client but predicting a prosperous future serving startups. That business plan just got rewritten, thanks to an acquisition by Chicago’s Seyfarth Shaw. Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue picks up a hotshot New York bankruptcy partner, Corinne Ball, from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Ball, a veteran of such high-profile Chapter 11 cases as Drexel Burnham Lambert and Olympia & York, had recently moved outside of Harvey Miller’s bankruptcy department to work on transactions “on the edge of bankruptcy,” says Miller. Ball is the third significant bankruptcy department partner to leave Weil in the last few years. Jansing Baker is now at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and Bruce Zirinsky left for Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft — but Miller insists all is well at Weil, which still boasts the most bankruptcy partners of any firm. Related Charts: � Who’s Moving Where

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