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Leadership in Law 2014: Lesley A. Pfleging

Associate, Lewis Wagner LLP, Indianapolis • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, 2006

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15col-Pfleging.jpg Lesley A. Pfleging (IL Photo/ Eric Learned)

When Lesley A. Pfleging joined Lewis Wagner’s transportation practice group, it was a new area of law to her. But Lesley has worked to increase her knowledge of the area’s unique issues by attending and speaking at seminars and preparing materials for transportation industry representatives. Clients appreciate her no-nonsense approach in helping them resolve complex issues, and she has proven that she can successfully handle transportation cases from start to finish. Her hard work has helped the firm expand its transportation practice group.

How does a young female attorney break into the male-dominated transportation industry? Have you felt any push back from people in that area because you are a woman?

Commercial carriers employ many women in many roles – from drivers to safety directors. As the commercial industry employs more women, the need for female attorneys has also grown. I have not experienced push back; instead, I’ve been told by women clients that they are encouraged by the growing number of female attorneys that are able to service their legal needs.

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

A TripAdvisor editor/travel consultant!

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

As a young lawyer, there are many times when we face unchartered waters. Out of fear, I recall times when I did not trust my instincts and failed to speak up in situations or even seek help from my superiors. In hindsight, I wish I would have offered my opinion or reached out for assistance. These are the situations that teach you to better yourself.

You recently had your first child. What are some tips you’ve received for achieving a work/life balance?

I’ll let you know once I get back to work! Right now, I’m learning what it is like to operate on three hours of sleep, so I’m not sure my brain cells are operating properly to offer sound legal advice at this time!

What civic cause is the most important to you?

Adult illiteracy. If a parent cannot read to a child, the child’s literacy also suffers. In addition to teaching children how to read, we also owe the same obligation to adults.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I don’t eat anything green – salad, green vegetables, etc. Yuck.

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

Listen to your client – do not assume you know what they need.

Who is your favorite fictional lawyer?

Matthew McConaughey in “The Lincoln Lawyer,” or Saul Goodman from “Breaking Bad.” Pure entertainment.

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

John Grisham – he is the reason I began looking at law school while attending IU.

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

Teaching t-ball for the Parks & Recreation Department – sun, fun and kids.

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

Tax – I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way; however, it’s a practical course that is necessary, and some might say a right of passage.

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

Because many lawyers fail to listen; instead, they are thinking about what to say next. In such situations, lawyers may come across as “know it all” types.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Ice cream.
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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