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Hebenstreit: Game on

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hebenstreit Michael J. Hebenstreit Whitham Hebenstreit & Zubek LLP IBA President

It has been two years in training, watching first Jim, and then Chris, taking notes, learning, and getting prepared. Now the training is over, I am ready to start, and it is “game on.” It is going to be a busy and productive 2011.

Have you ever stopped to think about why you are a member of the IBA? What is it that makes us worthy of your interest and money? I certainly hope it is the collective good that our Association accomplishes, not only for you individually, but for the profession as a whole. I hope it is because you feel that you receive good value for your dues, both personally and professionally.

Since a year is a relatively short period of time, we generally do not adopt pet projects for the year. Rather, we continue to implement what has already been started and anticipate what your Association should be doing now and in the future. That is not going to change this year; however, I do hope the general themes for this year will be based on Service and Collegiality.

In addition to the many seminars, programs, and initiatives in which the Association is involved, there are a few new items that I anticipate will be coming up this year to serve you, our members. One is a new web based service for connecting our members with potential clients. It differs from the Lawyer Referral Service in that it would allow a potential client to preview information about attorneys on line rather than just getting the name of a possible referral over the telephone. With our new website, this type of project is now possible, as are a number of others. For those of you who understand social media better than I, we are also now on Facebook and Twitter to better say in touch with each of you—if, unlike me, you know how to access this new media. Maybe I will make that a New Years resolution for 2011!

Another issue facing the Association is the number of attorneys who have moved outside the Mile Square. We have a significant number of members around I-465 and beyond. It is important not to lose touch with those members of the bar, and we are developing the technology that will allow us to better serve the needs of outlying lawyers. That type of service is critical. If you happen to be one of those suburban lawyers, please let us know what we can do to better serve you.

We are also investigating ideas to assist the law students since they are the future members of the IBA. I recently read a New York Times article that was very troubling. It reported on the large number of law students emerging from law school with mountains of debt and few, if any, jobs available. Pretty distressing, but the apparent focus of the article accused the nations’ law schools of fraud—with the abundance of cheap student loans the price of tuition at these schools has risen tremendously and the law schools are continuing to entice young people to attend—presumably knowing that there is little hope of meaningful legal employment. I hope the day never comes when law schools have to add a warning label on their admissions packets warning the applicant that attending law school is not a guarantee of great jobs and quick riches. We hope to work with the law school in developing some mentoring and or apprentice programs to better assist the law student cross the bridge between law school and practice of law. Although reasonable minds may differ about how many new lawyers we need, it serves our profession as a whole to have better trained and better prepared colleagues.

So much for Service, but what about Collegiality. The dictionary defines collegiality as the relationship of colleagues. Isn’t that a huge part of what we do? Lawyers are bright, interesting and engaging individuals. Getting to know lawyers on a more personal level makes working opposite an attorney more pleasant----and frequently more productive. Being personally acquainted with other lawyers is not only good for business, but makes the practice more rewarding on a daily basis. The IBA can help with that.

If you are short on time (and who isn’t) I hope that you will at least read the weekly E bulletins and occasionally jump on the website. At a minimum, keep your eye out for the monthly Meeting of Members. They are an easy way to stay in touch with, or meet, other attorneys. Our next monthly meeting is February 17th when Jim Voyles will receive the Buchanan Award. It is a fun event and Jim is certainly deserving of this most prestigious award. In addition to registering yourself, why not bring a friend. Introduce that person to some of your friends and to the concept of Collegiality. I think you will find that it is contagious.

You are being served by a fantastic group of energetic and talented colleagues who have agreed to be Board members as well as Section and Committee leaders. I very much appreciate the trust that you have place in me this year, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve you and lead this terrific organization. It is both a privilege and a responsibility. It is going to be a great ride in 2011. Jump on board and don’t get left behind.•

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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