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Leadership in Law 2013: Briana Clark

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

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briana-clark01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Briana Clark has balanced a demanding career in business litigation with training and racing in cycling, all while serving both the legal and local communities in meaningful ways. She’s handled a number of complex business litigation cases and has demonstrated legal and client relations skills beyond the level expected from a relatively new attorney. Briana’s dedication to cycling has garnered her several awards and takes her around the country for races.

She’s active with the Indianapolis Bar Association and Indianapolis Bar Foundation and has participated in her firm’s Street Law program teaching people about law, democracy and human rights.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
I should say professional cyclist, but honestly, I would LOVE to do something artistic – marketing, painting, graphic design, music, something that you can lose yourself in all day long.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
I could not be more passionate about all of the amazing things that Riley Children’s Hospital provides for our community and families nationwide. Every time I go to Riley, I am astounded by the talent, brilliance, commitment and passion that everyone at the hospital exudes. I am so proud to race for a team that raises money and awareness for such an incredible place.

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
John Grisham, he makes my career sound so fun that I want to read about it when I’m on vacation!

What class in law school did you find the most difficult?
The second semester of torts, which is hilariously ironic given that that is all I do every day of my legal career. I’m blaming it on an inability to work the blue clickers.

You’re an elite cyclist. Where is your favorite place to ride?
Unquestionably Chattanooga, Tenn. We train in Chattanooga three to four times each winter. I am not kidding when I say Motel 6 + Waffle House + nearly 7,000 feet of climbing up three mountains at ridiculous grades in 100 miles followed by terrible Mexican food and karaoke makes for the Best. Day. Ever.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
“The OCD.” The ingredients are irrelevant, but it would be made two weeks in advance with exactly perfect measurements.

What’s the most important thing your mentor has taught you?
Don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know and reach out to those who do know.

In life or law, what bugs you?
Do I only get to pick one? Anyone with a sense of entitlement. Life doesn’t come to you. If you want something, make it happen!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The ability to “pause” life, either to catch up or to enjoy the greatest moments for just one more second.

What do you find scary?
Fish. No really, I’m terrified of fish.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
If I did not say Kid Rock’s “Cowboy,” all of my family and friends would accuse me of lying.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
I can’t stand not to be aware of or understand anything, so I Google absolutely EVERYTHING. I’m not sure a world without 24/7 technology is possible.

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  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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