ILNews

Aerial Attorneys

Emily Hinkel
September 11, 2013
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Twelve thousand feet above rolling Indiana farmland, attorney Amy Romig prepares to jump, as the saying goes, out of a perfectly good airplane. Most of the plane’s passengers are jittery first-time skydivers, but Romig’s nerves are just fine. That’s because she’s done this 1,300 times.

Dressed in a flight suit and armed with three separate altimeters, she looks exactly what she is: experienced, calm, and careful. She puts on her helmet and jumps, almost casually, out of the plane. She’s gone in an instant. A first-time skydiver in the cabin screams in alarm when Romig exits the plane, but Romig doesn’t hear her. She’s already rocketing toward the ground, the wind roaring in her ears, tearing through the sky at 120 miles per hour.
 

skydive-15col.jpg Plews Shadley attorney Amy Romig has made more than 1,300 jumps. (Photo/ Todd Morman)

Romig, a partner at Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, just celebrated her nine-year “sky-versary,” as she has affectionately dubbed it. Initially wanting only to check an item off of her bucket list, she never suspected that skydiving would quickly become her passion.

If skydiver doesn’t fit your image of the typical lawyer, think again. The average drop zone is a huge melting pot, full of individuals from many walks of life. A chiropractor, an engineer, a mechanic, several musicians, and — of course — an attorney are all present on this jump day.

Romig posits that the personalities attracted to law and skydiving actually overlap.

“One thing that lawyers do is make sure that they’re well prepared,” she explained. “They come up with strategies, they prioritize and think out the risks, and skydiving is a lot the same way. You make sure you’re adequately prepared, and you plan exactly what you’re going to do. It’s very similar to when we prepare for hearings in that you think about what might possibly happen and prepare for all eventualities.”


romig Romig

Romig is not the only attorney at Plews Shadley Racher & Braun who has taken the leap. Eight associates have tried it, often at the encouragement of Romig, and her very first dive was with two of her colleagues.

Brett Nelson, one of the two attorneys who jumped with Romig on their maiden flight, had — and still does have — a fear of heights. In fact, a desire to overcome that fear was one of the main reasons he went skydiving in the first place. Though he has never been able to totally conquer his fears, they aren’t enough to safeguard him against the allure of skydiving.

“Absolutely, when I hit the ground, I knew,” Nelson said. “Nothing had ever been that fun and exciting for me, and I knew I’d do it again. Of course, those first four or five seconds before I went out the [airplane] door, I was equally sure that I’d never, ever do it again.”

Despite his fear, Nelson has jumped over 800 times.


nelson-brett Nelson

Romig, on the other hand, doesn’t recall being scared at all on her first jump. She was too focused on completing each step of the dive correctly to have time for jangling nerves. Any pre-jump jitters she may have felt were alleviated by the thorough organization and day-long training provided by Skydive Greensburg, now Skydive Indianapolis.

“I felt completely confident,” she said. “They trained us so well, and you’re a lot less scared when you know what’s coming and you’re fully prepared.”

One thing attorneys who have made this leap of faith agree on is that skydiving is the ultimate way to relieve stress and escape the grind of daily life.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Romig said. “For that minute that I’m in freefall, all I’m thinking about is what I have to do during that minute in freefall. I don’t think about work. I don’t think about whether I’m going to be late for daycare. I don’t think about whether I’ve changed the oil in my car. I’m purely focused on what I am doing for that minute. I can’t think of any other activity I do that does that for me.”

But Romig is quick to clarify that skydiving is much more than just a thrill. Calling it 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical, Romig notes that skydiving is a very technical and disciplined sport. That, along with its ability to always provide new goals and challenges, is what appeals to her.

“I was going to be an engineer,” she said, “but I got bored and decided I didn’t want to turn the same valve for the next 20 years. I chose law because things were new and exciting and I always had a challenge, and skydiving is the same way.” Even after 1,300 jumps, she claims she still learns something new every time.

Having mastered the basics, Romig quickly moved on to competitive skydiving. Each year, she attends the USPA National Skydiving Championships, where she competes on an eight-person team to determine which team can complete the most formations during freefall within a set time limit. This two-week event not only satisfies Romig’s competitive streak, but also provides a real sense of community.

“It’s really rare for your rec league basketball player from NIFS to get to play on the same court as LeBron James, but I get to do that,” she said. “I get to see the best skydivers in the world, and they’ll talk to me and help coach our team and give us suggestions. It’s a very small community, and it’s very collegial.”

Romig’s eight-way competition is just one event of many. There are a surprising variety of disciplines within skydiving, including one in which acrobatics are performed mid-air, and another in which divers deploy their parachutes almost immediately and demonstrate their canopy skills.

“Some people like the canopy part so much that that’s all they do,” Romig explains. She pauses slightly, then smiles. “Obviously you can’t do just the freefall part.”•

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  1. Am I the only one who sees that the City is essentially giving away the MSA site AND giving millions to build new buildings on the site when this site would be the perfect place for the Justice Complex? Across from City-County, check; keeping it centrally located, check, etc. It's my understanding that the GM site must be purchased by the City from Motors Liquidation Company. STOP WASTING WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE AND OUR TAX DOLLARS! The Ballard Administration has not been known for it's common sense...never voted for him and never will!

  2. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  3. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  4. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  5. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

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