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Leadership in Law 2014: Kelly A. Doria

Investment counsel, Indiana Public Retirement System, Indianapolis • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, 2005

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15col-Doria.jpg Kelly A. Doria (IL Photo/ Eric Learned)

Kelly A. Doria is on a path to becoming the preeminent Indiana lawyer focused on public institutional investments. While at Indiana Public Retirement System, she has vastly expanded the role of the transactional attorney on staff, reducing the reliance on outside counsel and expanding the organization’s level of legal due diligence. As part of her job with INPRS, she ensures there are legal safeguards on the state’s $27 billion public retirement assets.

A longtime volunteer and advocate on youth issues, Kelly has served on the Marion County Commission on Youth board of directors in various leadership roles for the past seven years.

Since your work involves retirement funds, do friends and family ever ask for retirement planning advice?

Rarely, investment options and considerations for retail investors are vastly different than institutional investors, so my work is inapplicable unless the person is investing $50M+. … I don’t have any friends or family that fit that profile.

Why practice in the area of law that you do?

Institutional transactional law tends to be more logical and predictable, less burdened by emotions and irrationality, plus I get to work with very sophisticated clients.

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

I’ve learned to understand my life priorities (and accept that they will change) and ensure such priorities align with my employer’s expectations – if they don’t align, there can never be balance.

You are an alumni volunteer for your undergraduate alma mater Villanova University, working to encourage central Indiana students to attend the Philadelphia-area university. Does this mean that you are not a native of Indiana?

I’m originally from Philly, but I grew up on the east side of Indy and graduated from Warren Central (unfortunately, the lean football years!). I convinced my husband to settle in Indy because it is a great town, friendly people, ripe with opportunities and a wonderful place to raise a family.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your mentor?

Don’t aspire to be the smartest person in the room, plan to be the most prepared.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I’ve completed five marathons.

Who is your favorite fictional lawyer?

Jessica Pearson (“Suits”) … minority female managing partner of BIG law!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I love the lottery. I’ve never won anything, but I truly believe I’m an insanely lucky person.

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

Daniel O’Connell (b.1775) challenged Irish laws prohibiting Catholics from becoming lawyers or serving in parliament (not by violent rebellion, but by his wit and knowledge of the law). His work inspired Frederick Douglass, MLK and Gandhi.

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

All of the UCC classes – sales, secured transactions and commercial paper.

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

Lawyers are called when something goes wrong and many practices have no winners (divorce, disability, custody, personal injury, estates, etc.). Even if the attorney does an amazing job and earns a great outcome for the client, the lawyer can’t truly “fix” the circumstance that generated the initial call. So lawyers are held to an unreasonable expectation and guilty by association to unfortunate circumstances.

Is there a moment in your career you wish you could do over?

Shortly after I was married, senior counsel was introducing me to a prestigious board and he used my new married surname, which didn’t immediately register with me, and I turned to see who he was speaking about…needless to say, it was not the most confident first impression!

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

My first (and worst) job was working the front desk at a YMCA, where one of my duties was to wash and fold members’ dirty workout clothes.

What civic cause is the most important to you?

Ensuring the positive development of youth in our community.

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

Pastry chef.


 

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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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