Hickey: Napoleon Who?

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IBA-Hickey-ChristineFrom what started as a 30-member group in 1878 to what is now a growing association with nearly 5,000 members, the IBA has come a long way since well before we became members. With the original intention of providing a law library and a central gathering place for the local legal community, the Bar has grown into an association involved in everything from legal education, local legislation, judicial excellence, pro bono service, and so much more. Despite enormous growth and change, the Bar’s core has remained the same: service to its members and the community, and the unfaltering excellence of those that we are lucky to call our fellow lawyers and judges.

Through the years, the IBA has seen members move on, move up, and move out. We have said hello to new faces and good bye to dear friends. Like the change in the seasons, our most senior lawyers have moved over to make way for young attorneys fresh out of school. Our members have become as diverse in person as in practice, and we have room for more. Still, as we prepare today for the future for our association and profession, we nevertheless love to hear the stories of “back in the day”, when the courtroom community was small, laughter had a part in our daily practice, and a handshake sealed the deal over lunch.

Do you know the history of our Bar or those members that have preceded you? Did you know that the Indiana Historical Society maintains the IBA records from 1878 to 1987, consisting of 4.25 linear feet of Bar history? (I am not sure if that includes the four manuscript boxes and the one oversized folder in addition to the 29 bound volumes.) There is an impressive box and folder inventory that includes everything from meetings of minutes to the guest book for the Centennial Celebration held on November 30, 1978. If you are interested in something a little more recent, however, chances are that you’ll look for it on the web. Sadly enough, you’ll not find a lot. The IBA and its members have long been good at making history, and not as good at preserving it.

Google Indianapolis judges and you might find Judge’s Barbeque in Indianapolis. Search for detailed information on many of our local judges and you are likely to come up with similar scant results. The Bar has a goal of creating a comprehensive history of our lawyer leaders and many recorded conversations from past legal icons exist today as a result. The intention is to make our history available in a user-friendly format that is accessible when you want it and how you want it. That project will continue on.

In the meantime, however, as the investiture ceremonies of two new federal court judges approaches, we thought it a fitting time to start honoring members’ achievements with a lasting gift. As a result, the IBA has commissioned the creation of biographies befitting of the honor and perfect for web placement. In the near future, we will be unveiling the biographies of the Honorable Jane Magnus Stinson and the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, not just for our legal community, but the community at large. With only one other female judge on the Southern District bench, the Women & the Law Division of the IBA has agreed to sponsor the creation of a biography for the Honorable Sarah Evans Barker. Our excitement to release these biographies is only matched by our determination to continue with this project, building a legal history one biography at a time and leaving a lasting legacy available at the touch of your fingertips.

And so, you ask, Napoleon who? Not Napoleon Bonaparte or Napoleon Dynamite. Rather, the Napoleon to which the title refers is Napoleon B. Taylor, a man famous in his own right. He was, in 1878, the first President of the Indianapolis Bar Association.•


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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