CHICAGO — The Indianapolis market will gain six new public finance attorneys following the merger this month between Cleveland, Ohio-based law firm Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP and longtime local firm Dann Pecar Newman & Kleiman PC.

The new firm will for now do business as Benesch/Dann Pecar in Indianapolis.

Dann Pecar was founded in 1911 and has 26 attorneys in its Indianapolis office. Benesch has a total of 145 lawyers in offices across the country.

Benesch officials said the merger would allow the firm to grow its real estate, litigation and business reorganization practices, and is the first part of a move toward future expansion.

Benesch’s public finance group consists of six attorneys and is relatively new. It was launched in March 2009 when the firm hired six attorneys from the Columbus office of Peck, Shaffer & Williams LLP. Michael Melliere is the chairman of the group.

“We’re pleased with where we are after 15 months of being with Benesch,” Melliere said. “Obviously 2009 was a challenging year in the industry, but we are very pleased with how we’re positioned and we think regional expansion into other areas is going to make us more of a player on a regional basis.”

Melliere’s practice largely consists of private K-12, higher education, and conduit nonprofit financings. He also serves as underwriters’ counsel.

“Our colleagues in [the Dann Pecar] Indianapolis office currently focus on traditional government finance,” he said. “We’re looking to bring more bench strength from Ohio to the Indiana market, with a focus on the conduit side of financings, primarily nonprofits, while continuing to build on the traditional government finance business.”

Benesch will now have five public finance attorneys in Columbus, one in Cleveland, and two in Indianapolis. Dann Pecar’s public finance team includes bond counsel Andrew Kleiman and Melvin Daniel, an attorney who works for Plainfield, Ind.

Melliere added that he and Columbus-based Benesch attorney Susan Price are native Hoosiers who are licensed to practice in that state. “It was a logical expansion for our public finance group,” he said.

Benesch is considering further expansion, particularly in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis. “We do anticipate growing the public finance area,” Melliere said.

Benesch has offices in Indianapolis, Cleveland, Columbus, Philadelphia, Shanghai, Wilmington, and a new office in White Plains, N.Y. The firm was founded in 1938.

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