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Leadership in Law 2014: Darren A. Craig

Member, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Indianapolis • Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 2004

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15col-Craig.jpg Darren A. Craig (IL Photo/ Eric Learned)

Darren A. Craig might as well remove the door from his office because he rarely has a chance to close it, thanks to the frequent visitors he receives. Colleagues – both new and seasoned attorneys – often come to Darren for advice. In fact, just five years after joining Frost Brown Todd, he was recognized as Mentor of the Year in 2010.

Darren has realized significant professional success in his first decade of practice; he’s participated in drafting more than 30 appellate briefs and presented oral arguments to the Indiana and 7th Circuit courts of appeals. In 2012, Darren became an adjunct professor teaching contract drafting at IU McKinney School of Law. He also serves as board secretary for The Cheer Guild of Riley Hospital for Children and Indiana University Hospital Inc., and for the past five years has written the moot court problem for the Federal Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competition.

Why do you serve as a mentor to new attorneys?

The best legal education I received was individual guidance from experienced lawyers and judges. I want to contribute to that educational tradition, which is essential in all law firms and for the legal profession.

And speaking of mentoring, what is the most important lesson you learned from your mentor?

The importance of understanding your client’s business and how the legal issue you are working on affects the business as a whole.

What was the worst or most memorable job you had prior to becoming an attorney?

My most memorable job was working for the educational publisher CTB/McGraw-Hill. I worked with CTB editors and state departments of education to develop guidelines for standardized tests. It has given me some perspective on the current controversies over school rankings.

What are some tips for achieving a work/life balance?

Do first what you dread most. Letting unpleasant tasks go unfinished destroys productivity and lessens enjoyment of free time.

You’ve been a volunteer judge for the Indiana Mock Trial Competition for several years. Why is civic education important?

People are more likely to participate in their government and to respect the rule of law if they understand the law.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I can juggle.

If you could meet and spend the day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?

John Marshall. His judicial opinions were essential to making the judiciary a co-equal branch of government and to validating the authority of the national government.

What class do you wish you could have skipped in law school?

Only first-year courses were forced upon me. Of those, torts was probably the most dispensable, because the content of the course bore little relation to its title.

Why practice in the area of law that you do?

I enjoy learning about how businesses work and helping to solve business problems.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Strawberry pie from Gray Brothers Cafeteria.

Why do you think people often have negative stereotypes about lawyers?

Because lawyers advocate for clients, what position a lawyer takes on a legal question depends upon who hires the lawyer. Many people believe that all issues have a right answer and a wrong answer and, therefore, believe that lawyers’ ability to advocate for different answers reflects cynicism or lack of moral certainty.

Who is your favorite fictional lawyer?

Henry Drummond from “Inherit the Wind.”

If you couldn’t be a lawyer, what would you do for a living?

English teacher.




 

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  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."

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