Abrams: See you in Cincinnati

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jeff abrams ibaBy the time you are reading this article, I will be on my way to the 21st Annual Bench Bar in Cincinnati, Ohio. So, I asked myself when I attended my first Bench Bar, what is a Benesch commercial real estate lawyer going to do at a Bench Bar Conference? The answer? Lots of things.

The Bench Bar Committee routinely provides quality CLE for all of us. I enjoy listening to some of the speakers even as a commercial real estate lawyer. I have the opportunity to reminisce with judges who were in law school with me but with whom I have very little contact anymore as a result of our separate paths in the legal profession. We talk about our kids. We talk about some recollections during law school and embarrassing moments. We talk about some of the people and where they are today. This is all very worthy of our time.

I mingle with other lawyers and while they are primarily litigators, they are still very nice people. I meet family law attorneys, prosecutors, public defenders, other government attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, general practice litigators, solo practitioners, small firm owners, and individuals from all walks of life in our professional community. I meet new people every time that I go to a Bench Bar, and I am much better off for the opportunity to get to know the individuals who have chosen the legal profession for their career. I have opportunities to answer questions about the IndyBar and how it might be able to help their practice. I have the opportunity to connect lawyers with other lawyers who might be able to help them with a particular problem.

I talk with our county, appellate and state Supreme Court judges and justices. How many other situations do we find ourselves in with this incredible opportunity to mingle with our judiciary and learn more about each of them? Conversations include their family, their interests outside sitting on the bench and some interesting insight on how they manage their court. All of this information has helped me as a person and even as a practicing commercial real estate attorney at Benesch, where we have a litigation practice that works with Indy litigators and appears before all of these judges.

When my real estate clients have disputes, the last thing they want is to spend money in litigation. It has been a challenging discussion to explain to a developer, a lender, a landlord, a tenant or a commercial broker that the unfortunate experience in court is the price of doing business in today’s complex business environment. In a perfect world, we would not have disputes, but it does not work that way. We are trained to write documents as carefully and clearly as possible, but even in the best of times, there are two or more interpretations of a document which leads to disputes. Understanding how a judge looks at commercial disputes has been incredibly enlightening and beneficial to my practice.

During Bench Bar there is also time for relaxation, or for some of us, frustration. There is a golf tournament on Thursday where lawyers and judges get to spend four-plus hours hitting a little golf ball around and talking about things totally unrelated to practicing law. But if a “what if” or “how do I” question is posed, I am confident that the lawyers and judges trying to concentrate on playing quality golf still take the time to answer the question and help out a young, aspiring attorney trying to understand the nuances of an area of the law or how the judicial system works.

These are all the great experiences that avail themselves at Bench Bar, and I hope by the time you are reading this article, you also are on your way to Cincinnati. It will be a great few days.•


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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise