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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. 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.

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