ILNews

A century of Indiana lawyers

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

Patrick Myers Sullivan became one of the state’s newest attorneys this spring, and in doing so a fourth consecutive generation in his family entered the legal profession.

The 25-year-old Indianapolis lawyer follows in the footsteps of four other family members, including one Marion County judge and another who served on the Indiana Supreme Court in the mid-20th century.

sullivan New attorney Patrick Myers Sullivan (right) represents the fourth consecutive generation in his family to become an Indiana attorney, following his father, John J. Sullivan, (left) and three others who were lawyers or judges. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

On May 16, Sullivan joined 131 other new lawyers who were sworn in at the Indiana Supreme Court’s ornate courtroom inside the state capitol building in Indianapolis.

“As a parent, you’re always proud to see your children achieve,” said Patrick’s father and Indianapolis attorney John Sullivan with Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy. “I never pushed him to become a lawyer, but it is a pretty proud moment to see him get through the rigors of law school and pass the bar exam to where he is now.”

Families with multiple generations of lawyers are far from uncommon, but it is rare to have multiple generations of consecutive attorneys with prominent histories stretching back more than a century.

myers Patrick’s grandfather Judge Joseph Norwood Myers Sr. was a past Indianapolis Bar Association president who served on the Marion County Municipal Court for more than three decades starting in 1952. He died in 2009.

Growing up in the family that he did, the young Sullivan says he had several role models to look up to in the legal profession. First, there’s his dad, John, who was admitted in 1976 and has been an influential member of the bar through the years. He has been with the same firm since the mid-1980s and helped pioneer the federal medical savings account legislation more than a decade ago. He’s been active in local and national politics, including his time on the Indiana Recount Commission in 1988, running several presidential campaigns in Indiana, and making an unsuccessful bid for Indianapolis mayor in 1983.

Then there are the past generations, donning the barrister tag with the Myers moniker that John Sullivan married into: Patrick’s grandfather is Judge Joseph Norwood Myers Sr., a past Indianapolis Bar Association president who served on the Marion County Municipal Court for more than three decades starting in 1952. He retired in the late 1980s and died in 2009 at the age of 93.

Patrick’s great-uncle Walter Myers Jr. started out as a deputy prosecutor in Marion County and was an attorney for the county board of sanitary commissioners before an unsuccessful bid for the Marion Superior and Circuit courts. He went on to become the Democrat choice for the Indiana Appellate Court in 1958 – these were the days before merit selection – and served until 1962 when he defeated Justice Arch N. Bobbitt for a spot on the state Supreme Court. He served as a justice until his death in 1967.

myers Patrick’s great-uncle Walter Myers Jr. started out as a deputy prosecutor in Marion County and municipal attorney before he was elected to the Indiana Appellate Court in 1958. He defeated Justice Arch N. Bobbitt on the Indiana Supreme Court in 1962, and served until his death in 1967.

Walter D. Myers Sr., Patrick’s great grandfather, was a prominent lawyer who practiced in Indianapolis for more than 60 years, being the first of the family admitted to the bar in this state after receiving an L.L.B. from Indiana University in 1907. He worked in multiple municipal roles before becoming speaker of the Indiana House in 1931 and special counsel to a U.S. Senate committee in 1936. In 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him as Fourth Assistant Postmaster General. He ran unsuccessfully for Indianapolis mayor in 1925 as an anti-Ku Klux Klan candidate and then in 1928 for the U.S. Senate. He also wrote a number of articles and law books including “‘The Guv’: A Tale of Midwest Law and Politics.”

“That all carries on to me, and shows the responsibility and fairness that has been a part of my family,” Patrick said. “My family set the bar really high on what I hoped to accomplish, and having that family legacy instilled upon me the belief that I could do it. Those role models were there to show me it was possible.”

Even with that family history, the law wasn’t always what Patrick saw as his career choice. When he was younger, he thought about getting into science or a related field. That evolved into business and pushed him to Georgetown University, where he earned his undergraduate degree in business administration.

His father says they didn’t discuss specifics of cases at home, but his son knew of some of the clients and legal issues his father was handling. Politics was always a big part of the family, as well, and Patrick said he took an interest in that and helped on political campaigns as he grew up.

“Four generations is a lot of lawyers and he’s been exposed to it all of his life, but I never directed him to be a lawyer and told Patrick and all my children they could do whatever they wanted and I’d support them,” the elder Sullivan said, pointing out that he has a daughter who’s a doctor doing a pediatric internship, another daughter pursuing a master’s in creative writing, and a son who’s a college junior studying economics.

But the family history helped mold his career choice as he got older, Patrick said. He grew up living only a few minutes from his grandfather, the Marion County judge, and had exposure to stories and that way of life. He recalls his grandfather telling stories about how things had changed with law school admissions and court procedures and having technology in the courtroom.

“As I got interested in society and the world around me, that concern for my fellow man and finding a skill set where I could help people is what mostly pushed me toward law school,” he said. “The advocacy that I saw through my family, particularly my dad and grandfather, was a major influence in my life.”

myers Patrick’s great grandfather Walter D. Myers Sr. practiced in Indianapolis for more than 60 years, starting in 1907 working as a municipal attorney before becoming speaker of the Indiana House in 1931. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 appointed him as Fourth Assistant Postmaster General.

That all led him back to Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, where he graduated in December 2010. He took and passed the bar exam in February.

Patrick is now working at the same law firm as his dad and doing general legal work – researching, drafting cases, and, most recently, assisting with a case before the Indiana Supreme Court. He hasn’t had any cases on his own yet, but he’s hoping that day comes soon and he is able to continue becoming familiar with the practice of law while learning from others at the firm.

One of the new lawyer’s most interesting recent legal experiences wasn’t even connected to his new law degree – it was being summoned for jury duty soon after being admitted to the state bar. He served on a criminal jury in Marion Superior Court and saw the real effect of the profession.

“It presented a new perspective of the courtroom process and how it’s all interpreted by non-lawyers, and I was able to take a step back and see everything from the other side. That kind of grounds you about what this law degree really means in the real world,” he said.

Patrick says his background in business could lead him to the corporate counsel side of the legal community. He is interested in being an attorney as part of a business where he can handle issues such as mergers, acquisitions, and anti-trust matters.

“Maybe I’ll look at an in-house or general counsel type of role, where I can be a part of the actual business decisions that are happening rather than just offering a retrospective legal analysis,” he said.

Still, the new lawyer hasn’t ruled out following in the judicial footsteps of his grandfather or great-uncle.

“That’s always a possibility. Being a judge would be a great career,” he said. “You never know.”•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

ADVERTISEMENT