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. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.