ILNews

Leadership in Law 2013: Kevin P. McGoff

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

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

 

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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

ADVERTISEMENT