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IndyBar: Interrogatories with John Trimble

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By Tyler D. Helmond, Voyles Zahn & Paul PA

John C. Trimble
Lewis Wagner LLP

He is a graduate of Hanover College and the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He is a partner at Lewis Wagner LLP. And he is President-Elect of the Indianapolis Bar Association. He is John C. Trimble, and he has been served with interrogatories.

Q: You are a Top 10 Indiana Super Lawyer. This a two-part question. How did you become so super, and how does it feel to be so super?
A: The first time my peers honored me by putting me into this category my mentor and partner, Robert Wagner, said, “John, this just goes to show what you can accomplish through a lifetime of shameless self-promotion.” Seriously, there are so many super lawyers in Indiana that I could not begin to count them or rank them. I am blessed every day to know them and count many of them as friends. Despite my years in practice, I still learn something from great lawyers almost every day. To the extent that I have developed any skills it has been due to great mentoring from Robert Wagner and from other stalwarts in the bar. I do genuinely appreciate the recognition of my peers. But, most importantly, it makes my 80-year-old parents proud.

Q: Your office is on the canal, and this is another two-part question. What is the best part about having an office on the canal, and what is the strangest thing you have seen going on down there?
A: Sunrise along the canal in spring and summer is my favorite time of day. Although my office looks out over the canal, I like to go down to our canal level early in the morning and work on something as the sun is coming up and people are out running and walking. I also love that we have a large portico where we can hold receptions, pitch-in lunches, and networking events. On the strange side, we have had a flasher or two come by our canal-level offices and conference rooms for a quick and unexpected flash or butt press. I will also never forget the quiet summer morning when a rower in a single shell rowed silently by as I was sitting outside on a bench reading the morning paper.

Q: Who has had the biggest influence on your life as a lawyer?
A: Without question, my partner and mentor, Robert F. Wagner, has been the biggest influence. Early in my career he tossed me into the fray and made me sink or swim. He has also always been a model for integrity, civility, preparation, and love of our profession. He has also shown me the best of storytelling and oration. In the fictional world, Atticus Finch has also been a character who I have admired for what he represents as a model of our profession.

Q: You’re an experienced appellate advocate. What is your process for writing a brief?
A: These days, my process begins with finding a colleague in the firm who will be the actual writer. I then work with them and the client to craft an outline of the arguments. I also enjoy the role of editor and proofreader as the drafts of the brief progress.

Q: You might have the distinction of being the most accomplished Indiana lawyer on Twitter. Who would you be most excited to see re-tweet one of your tweets?
A: At this juncture my list of followers is small enough that I would be surprised and gratified if anyone retweets one of my tweets. I did have one recent re-tweet experience that I enjoyed. I have been following a really splendid singer from Indianapolis named Josh Kaufman who is competing on the NBC program, “The Voice.” After one of his performances, I tweeted some words of praise and encouragement about him. He re-tweeted it from the show in LA, and that was fun. (It also convinced my doubting wife, Ann, that there really is someone out there who gives a darn about what I have to say.)

Q: Coca-Cola or Pepsi?
A: I am a Diet Coke guy all the way. If Pepsi is my only choice, I would take water. Having said this, I have to confess that I did a blind taste test of Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi and failed miserably. As a result, I am now more inclined to lean toward locally brewed craft beers …•
 

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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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