Leadership in Law 2013: Kevin P. McGoff

Of counsel, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, Indianapolis Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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kevin-mcgoff01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

When lawyers need an attorney – for firm management issues, malpractice or professional licensure matters – they often turn to Kevin P. McGoff. Kevin is well known among his peers for his work in the field of legal ethics, which spans 33 years beginning as a law clerk for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. Kevin gives frequent presentations on legal ethics, and it’s important to him that attorneys around Indiana know of ethical issues so that they can avoid similar situations and problems down the road. The former Indianapolis Bar Association president is recognized by fellow attorneys for his kindness, character and outstanding judgment.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Guide Touristique in Provence, spending a few days a week shepherding small groups through villages and local historic sites. They could treat me to a nice lunch at a table in the shade. After an afternoon of more sightseeing, I would head home for a glass of rosé on the terrace.

What is your preferred means of relieving stress?
A brisk, mid-afternoon walk around downtown Indy or along the canal.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
Efforts to make it more difficult to vote or disenfranchise citizens. We should be working to make the process easier and accessible to everyone.

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do?
I would travel with Davy Crockett to Texas and spend a few weeks touring San Antonio, catching up with Davy, Jim Bowie and Col. Travis of an evening. At the end of my visit I’d head north, before Santa Anna arrived in town, and write about the people I met on the trip.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
“When Irish Eyes are Smiling.”

In life or law, what bugs you? 
Artificial deadlines – imposed for no reason or for the convenience of the proponent – without regard for the schedule, priorities and time commitments of others.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
“McGuffy’s Simple Sandwich” – whole wheat, smoked turkey breast, slice of bacon, provolone, lettuce and tomato. No mayo, no mustard, no dressing and definitely no pickle in the vicinity to soak into the bread, rendering a sandwich inedible. The MSS would be a big hit among sandwich purists.

What do you find scary?
1. Pickle juice on a sandwich.
2. The girl who goes down the basement steps in every scary movie. Why do they keep doing that? There is never a way out of the basement.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Listen more. Talk less.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
It would be a good thing if it were shut down on Sundays.


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.