ILNews

Magistrate named for Southern District

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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An Indianapolis attorney is the new magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana. Debra McVicker Lynch, of counsel at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, fills the position left empty after Judge William T. Lawrence was elevated to Article III judgeship July 1.
Lynch said she is elated and honored that the court expressed its confidence in her to select her as magistrate judge. Although she has enjoyed her time in private practice, she said she's aspired to be a judge for many years.

More than 50 applications were submitted for the magistrate judgeship, with five candidates recommended to the U.S. District judges in the Southern District by the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Committee chaired by retired Magistrate Judge V. Sue Shields. In addition to practicing antitrust and litigation law, Lynch is an adjunct professor at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis, teaching a complex litigation course. Lynch is a Muncie native and graduate of Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. She served as a law clerk in the District Court for Judge Sarah Evans Barker from 1986-1988.
Lynch said she hopes to continuing teaching once she becomes magistrate judge. 

"My current intent is to keep teaching. I think it will be a real challenge, especially with this fall semester with so many changes occuring," she said.

A critical part of a magistrate judge's position is conducting mediation and settlement proceedings in civil cases. U.S. magistrate judges are appointed by the judges of the U.S. District Court for an eight-year term and are eligible for reappointment to successive terms. Lynch's appointment will start upon completion of required IRS and FBI background investigations. She said the investigations are out of the court's hands, but the court hopes the process is expedited. She doesn't have a timetable for when she may start as magistrate judge.
"In all the years I've been in private practice, I've really felt fortunate to practice regularly before the Southern District of Indiana. This opportunity to join their ranks is an awesome responsibility," Lynch said. "My primary goal is to continue the excellence of the court."
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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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