ILNews

American Bar Association gains from Indiana leadership

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

Valparaiso law student Bryan Rogers is taking a cue from prior generations of Indiana attorneys who have made the choice to belong to the American Bar Association. Like many Hoosier lawyers have done, he plans to become active in the national organization’s Young Lawyers Division after he graduates. And, like many lawyers he emulates are doing, he is taking a leadership role at the ABA, even while still a student.

Like their colleagues from around the country and even around the world, Hoosier lawyers have always joined and supported the American Bar Association. They have served on committees, chaired sections, participated in seminars and attended meetings.

Rogers, a third-year law student at Valparaiso University Law School, was introduced to the organization during his first year of law school and, in August, became the Law Student Division’s representative on the ABA Board of Governors. He provides the voice and the views of law students to the ABA’s top governing body.
 

rogers-bryanepub-15col.jpg Valparaiso law student Bryan Rogers serves as the law student representative on the ABA’s 38-member board of directors. He provides the voice of law students to the ABA’s top governing body. (Photo courtesy Jeff Lange/ Valparaiso Law School)

His work for the ABA is in addition to his studies and his externship with the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois as well as his part-time clerkship with the Lake County courts. Acknowledging he is an “extremely busy student,” Rogers said his involvement with the association is “very important” to his career.

There, again, the soon-to-be lawyer is a reflection of Indiana attorneys in his dedication to the organization and his belief that membership has great professional benefits.

Jim Dimos, of Frost Brown Todd LLC, sees Indiana lawyers becoming more involved with the ABA. Certainly the size of the contingent from Indiana pales in comparison to the hundreds of lawyers from California or New York who are members, but, he said, Indiana has a significant level of participation especially considering the size of the bar.

In addition, many of these lawyers are assuming leadership posts. Pulling out the ABA Leadership Directory, or what is commonly called the “Red Book,” Dimos flipped to the Indiana section and counted 64 Indiana attorneys who are serving as chairs and section heads.
 

dimos-jim-mug Dimos

He is among those leaders, having been a member of the House of Delegates since 1995 and currently serving on the 38-member Board of Governors as well as the chair of the finance committee, overseeing the association’s annual budget of $107 million.

“I think it’s worth it,” Dimos said of his own participation in the ABA. “It has made me a better lawyer. I am more knowledgeable about things that affect my clients which I do not get in direct practice.”

As an example of Indiana’s growing importance at the national level, Dimos pointed to the appointment of retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard to chair the ABA’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education.

Numerous other Indiana lawyers are filling non-leadership positions on committees and sections, adding more value to the ABA. These Midwestern lawyers bring common sense and a clear view of the issues that main street lawyers are facing, he said.

Indiana lawyers, Dimos said, are in a position to shape the issues that are important to the association.

The ABA, with nearly 400,000 members, speaks with a credible voice on major issues like human trafficking, cyber security and funding for the justice system. Laurel Bellows, president of the ABA, touts the association as having a strong reputation for researching issues then offering a national perspective.

That broad view helps give credibility to the association and comes from getting input from all attorneys whether they practice in big states or small, in urban areas or rural communities.

“I think it’s tremendously important to have participation by Indiana lawyers,” Bellows said. “I don’t want to talk only with the voice of New York lawyers or California lawyers. We’re a country and the issues we’re dealing with are quite national.”

Don Lundberg, partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, is applying the expertise he garnered from his 18-year tenure as the executive secretary of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission to his current appointment on the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. Working on the committee, he said, gives him the opportunity not only to help author opinions on legal ethics but also to learn something new.

“One thing that gets my juices flowing is just thinking about new and interesting questions,” Lundberg said. “It is energizing to be around people concerned with the basic questions of how lawyers conduct themselves.”

A key component of the association’s work on legal ethics is the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Although the rules lack teeth – attorneys who act contrary to the code will not face any repercussions – they have become the template which many states have used to write and enforce their own codes governing lawyer behavior.

The template, Lundberg said, is “increasingly important because the practice of law is becoming increasingly cross-jurisdictional.” Lawyers practice across state lines, and having conflicting rules could be confusing and possibly hinder the service to clients.

When Joe O’Connor, partner at Bunger & Robertson in Bloomington, headed into the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division in 1986, joining the national legal organization was almost expected. Every attorney became a member unless he or she had a compelling reason to not join.

O’Connor is currently a member of the ABA Nominating Committee and served on the Board of Governors from 1998 to 2001.

Today, he does not feel that the drive, nationally, to belong to the ABA is as strong as it once was, yet he believes the Indiana contingent is as healthy as it has always been. Hoosier attorneys may have a strong motivation to join and serve the organization because they are accustomed to taking the initiative and participating in their state and local bar associations, in which membership is also voluntary.

Along with having the opportunity to network and built relationships with lawyers from across the country, ABA members also play a role in securing the rule of law, O’Connor said. The association is viewed as having expertise on legal issues and is a force when it lobbies Congress on matters such as salaries, case loads and the appointments of federal judges.

Moreover, the ABA has helped promote the rule of law in emerging democracies, particularly in Eastern European countries, he said. The organization has assisted in writing country’s constitutions and setting up judicial systems.

Most recently, the Board of Governors held a meeting in Puerto Vallarta and spent time sharing insights with the Mexican Bar Association and answering questions about licensing and regulations.

Rogers, who made the trip with Dimos, credits the ABA with enabling him to explore different practice areas and talk to attorneys from around the country about their work. While still deciding which area of law he wants to practice in, he said being a part of the national association has made his search easier.

The benefits he has already reaped from the ABA are why he plans to continue his membership when he finishes law school.

Dimos wants to duplicate Rogers’ enthusiasm and bring more Indiana lawyers into the ABA.

“My biggest hope is that Bryan, myself, Joe and others will continue to reach out and include other colleagues in the state and grow opportunities for participation as well,” he said.•

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. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

ADVERTISEMENT