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Marcus Chandler '76 Calls "Sensible Rebuke" by Frank Walker '57 His "Big Break"

March 11, 2007

marcus chandler.jpgMarch 11, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - Marcus B. Chandler, chair of the entrepreneurial and global services practice groups at Barnes & Thornburg LLP and 1976 graduate of DePauw University, calls a conversation he had twenty years ago with 1957 DePauw graduate Frank Walker his "big break." Featured in the Indianapolis Star's business section, Chandler recalls, "I asked Frank to lunch to tell him that I wanted to build a practice around my experience in franchise law. I asked him, 'Can you help me create a market for my services?' Frank said, 'That's the dumbest question I ever heard.' This was my big break."

Walker, chairman of Walker Information, told Chandler, "Rather than create a market, did it ever occur to you to ask business owners what they want from lawyers in large law firms, but are not getting?" Chandler writes, "Frank Walker gave me medicine, which for a lawyer, was hard to swallow. He said that I should listen to potential clients, instead of instructing them."

In subsequent meetings with business leaders and others, Chandler -- a history major and Rector Scholar who graduated magna cum laude from DePauw and earned his law degree from the University of Chicago -- learned that "entrepreneurs believed that large law firms were too expensive and specialized to serve their needs efficiently. They wanted lawyers who could Law Scale 4.jpgtolerate the disorder of an entrepreneurial enterprise, move quickly, and prevent runaway fees. The message from the market was clear: Bridge the needs of the entrepreneur with the expertise of a full-service law firm."

That's what Chandler and Barnes & Thornburg did, launching the entrepreneurial services group. "It was a concept whose time had come in Indianapolis," Chandler states. "Thanks to Frank Walker's sensible rebuke, I caught a ride on a wave that keeps getting bigger and bigger."

Access the piece at the Star's Web site.

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