Hill Fulwider dissolves, yielding two new firms

Hill Fulwider dissolves, yielding two new firms

The Hill Fulwider law firm in Indianapolis has dissolved just shy of its 37th year. Its nine former attorneys reorganized into two new firms or joined existing ones.

Founding partner Douglas Hill on Monday confirmed Hill Fulwider’s dissolution, effective Dec. 31, 2017.

“Initially, I was kind of disappointed to see it close, but I’m very happy with the arrangement we have here,” he said. “For me, it’s almost like starting over again.”

At 85, Hill said a friend quipped to him that he may qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest attorney to open a startup — Hill Knotts & Goldman LLC. He’s joined there by two daughters — attorney, Elizabeth Knotts, and office and legal administrator, Cindy Peck — as well as Rori L. Goldman, who had been managing director at Hill Fulwider, and former Hill Fulwider associate Brandais Hagerty.

Hill said his practice is limited to chairing medical review panels, while Knotts will defend medical malpractice cases and Goldman will handle insurance defense and licensing work as they did at Hill Fulwider.

“We’ll continue to do that and develop that work,” he said.

“It seemed to be the decision everyone was coming to,” he said of the dissolution. “It was just a mutual decision that developed at the same time — it was time to move on and do something different.”

Former directors Kye Steffey and Christopher Wahl left the firm to form Steffey Wahl LLC and said the dissolution was amicable.

“We worked with good people, and it was good to work with them. It was just time to start something new,” Wahl said.

Steffey’s practice includes business law and estate planning and administration, while Wahl is a general civil litigator with experience handling mass tort asbestos cases, insurance defense, construction and other commercial. Former Hull Fulwider of counsel Kevin A. Hoover, who practices family law, and associate David Saferight also moved to Steffey Wahl.

Steffey said Steffey Wahl aims to provide clients an experienced, full-service firm.

Former Hill Fulwider associate Jordan Heitman joined the personal injury firm of Wagner Reese.

For Hill, his second startup comes as he’s nearing his 60th year in practice and may feel a little familiar. He was admitted to practice in 1960 and founded Hill Fulwider with partners who had worked at a prior firm that dissolved, Cadick, Burns, Duck & Peterson. Hill is the lone surviving founding partner of the firm he established in February 1981 with partners Robert Fulwider and Richard McDowell.

“It was a good run,” Hill said.

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