Barnes & Thornburg Names Steven Merkel as Chief Operating Officer


Barnes & Thornburg LLP has named Steven Merkel as its chief operating officer. Merkel is a retired U.S. Army colonel who joins the firm after serving as the chief of operations for the United States Military Academy.

Merkel will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Barnes & Thornburg and its 13 offices, including finance, information technology, human resources, marketing and facilities. He will work closely with firm leadership and the management committee to create new efficiencies and increase quality across the firm’s processes and programs.

“Steve has tremendous character and has been passionately committed to the welfare of the organizations he’s served throughout his career, which includes a long and distinguished record of military service,” said Bob Grand, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg. “Steve helped oversee West Point, one of the world’s preeminent leader-development institutions, and his addition provides the firm with a strong strategic thinker and communicator, and a savvy mentor and developer of talent.”

Earlier operational roles held by Merkel include brigade commander at the U.S. Military Academy; chief of operations for a multinational security force in Kabul, Afghanistan; and chief of operations for the U.S First Army. In each position, Merkel was responsible for building high-performing teams, managing multimillion dollar budgets, and overseeing and synchronizing fast-paced, multijurisdictional environments.

An Indiana native, Merkel also served in command and staff positions as part of his 30 years of military service, including brigade commander at Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh, Indiana, and battalion commander of a field artillery battalion in Hinesville, Georgia.

Merkel earned his B.S. from the U.S. Military Academy and master’s degrees from the U.S. Army Staff College and the U.S. Naval War College.

With more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from 13 offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Delaware, Indiana, Los Angeles, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit us online at or on Twitter @BTLawNews.