IndyBar: A Roadmap to Professionalism: Just Follow the Five C’s!

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By Kevin A. Morrissey, Lewis Kappes, PC

The Indianapolis Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism strives to improve public confidence and trust in lawyers. For 2017, the Professionalism Committee has adopted as its organizing principles the Five C’s:

I. Commitment: We are committed to practicing law in a manner that maintains and fosters public confidence in our profession, faithfully serves our clients, and fulfills our responsibilities to the legal system.

II. Character: We strictly adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of the Rules of Professional Conduct and will at all times be guided by a fundamental sense of honor, integrity and fair play.

III. Competence: We will conduct ourselves to assure the just, economical and efficient resolution of every matter entrusted to us consistent with thoroughness and professional preparation.

IV. Courtesy: We will at all times act with dignity, civility, decency and courtesy in all professional activities and will refrain from rude, disruptive, disrespectful, obstructive and abusive behavior.

V. Community Involvement: We recognize that the practice is a learned profession to be conducted with dignity, integrity and honor dedicated to the service of clients and the public good.

United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson developed these principles during her time as chair of the Professionalism Committee. Our committee believes these principles are an ideal roadmap for all lawyers to follow in pursuing professionalism and civility in practice and in life. We believe all lawyers, young and old, should be aware of these tenets and continually reflect on each in their daily practice.

The Professionalism Committee has used the five C’s as a basis for a number of ambitious projects underway for 2017:

Take Opposing Counsel to Lunch - On Sept. 12, 2017, Judge Pat Gifford, Greg Garrison, and Jim Voyles will join us to discuss their experiences in Mike Tyson trial. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this case. Invite your “favorite” opposing counsel to join you for this fascinating discussion of a historic case.

Inaugural IndyBar Service Day – Join us on Sept. 29, 2017, to get involved and get your “hands dirty” to serve our community. Both indoor and outdoor service opportunities will be available. Come out to help and get a free shirt!

Goodwill Expungement Program – In partnership with the IndyBar Pro Bono Standing Committee and Criminal Justice Section, the Professionalism Committee will work to assist individuals within the Goodwill organization to obtain expungements and remove one barrier to success. Please consider volunteering to receive free CLE and earn pro bono hours.

Collection Drive – The Professionalism Committee will spearhead the collection of materials to assist a local non-profit organization. Date and details to follow! Please watch out for details on how to donate to help those in need.

Unsung Heroes – The Committee is seeking nominations for an award to recognize those individuals who quietly exhibit the best aspects of the Five C’s. The Committee will present awards to two individuals this year.

Mentor Connect – The Mentor Connect program is up and running for 2017! The Mentor Connect sub-committee, chaired by Chuck Schmal, has paired more than 20 young attorneys with experienced attorneys to facilitate mentorship and networking. This annual program continues to make many great connections.

Professionalism Breakfast – On Oct. 11, 2017, the committee will host the Professionalism Breakfast to recognize the recipients of the Professionalism Award and Silver Gavel Award. The committee presents these awards annually to an attorney and a judge who exemplify the tenets of professionalism.

Please consider participating in one or more of these great programs to promote professionalism and civility. A special thanks from me to the members of the Professionalism Committee for all of their efforts to spearhead these great programs!•


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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: Here are the two research papers: 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.