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2012 Leadership in Law: Bruce G. Berner

Louis and Anna Seegers Professor of Law, Valparaiso University Law School, Valparaiso Valparaiso University Law School

April 25, 2012
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Bruce G. Berner (IL Photo/Steve Linsenmayer)

Professor Bruce Berner has been at the law school since 1971 and is a student favorite. He was repeatedly voted by students to address them at commencement – until he became disqualified because of his position as associate dean. While a student, Bruce helped found the “Valparaiso University Law Review.” His name may be familiar to those who kept up with the Ford Pinto case in the 1970s – he served as a special prosecutor. Today, he is working with the Indiana Supreme Court by evaluating a pilot project that will open certain court proceedings to the public through webcasting.

The best advice I ever received was
as I left for college, my father advised me to be a little suspicious of anyone who was certain about anything.  

I wish I had known when I graduated law school that
law school had only begun.  Many lawyers, including me, often have a hard time accepting legal principles which developed after we graduated.

My best stress reliever is
music.

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d be
a math teacher (but only because I couldn’t hit well enough to be a major league baseball player). 

In 2012, I’d like to
live until 2013.

The three words that best describe me are
lucky, humorous and hopeful.

In the movie about my life,
Woody Allen would play me. (We look a little alike and both were born in Brooklyn.)

In my community, I’m passionate about
getting people to talk with each other and find that they agree about far more than they think they do.

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  4. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  5. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

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