Abrams: See you in Cincinnati

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jeff abrams ibaBy the time you are reading this article, I will be on my way to the 21st Annual Bench Bar in Cincinnati, Ohio. So, I asked myself when I attended my first Bench Bar, what is a Benesch commercial real estate lawyer going to do at a Bench Bar Conference? The answer? Lots of things.

The Bench Bar Committee routinely provides quality CLE for all of us. I enjoy listening to some of the speakers even as a commercial real estate lawyer. I have the opportunity to reminisce with judges who were in law school with me but with whom I have very little contact anymore as a result of our separate paths in the legal profession. We talk about our kids. We talk about some recollections during law school and embarrassing moments. We talk about some of the people and where they are today. This is all very worthy of our time.

I mingle with other lawyers and while they are primarily litigators, they are still very nice people. I meet family law attorneys, prosecutors, public defenders, other government attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, general practice litigators, solo practitioners, small firm owners, and individuals from all walks of life in our professional community. I meet new people every time that I go to a Bench Bar, and I am much better off for the opportunity to get to know the individuals who have chosen the legal profession for their career. I have opportunities to answer questions about the IndyBar and how it might be able to help their practice. I have the opportunity to connect lawyers with other lawyers who might be able to help them with a particular problem.

I talk with our county, appellate and state Supreme Court judges and justices. How many other situations do we find ourselves in with this incredible opportunity to mingle with our judiciary and learn more about each of them? Conversations include their family, their interests outside sitting on the bench and some interesting insight on how they manage their court. All of this information has helped me as a person and even as a practicing commercial real estate attorney at Benesch, where we have a litigation practice that works with Indy litigators and appears before all of these judges.

When my real estate clients have disputes, the last thing they want is to spend money in litigation. It has been a challenging discussion to explain to a developer, a lender, a landlord, a tenant or a commercial broker that the unfortunate experience in court is the price of doing business in today’s complex business environment. In a perfect world, we would not have disputes, but it does not work that way. We are trained to write documents as carefully and clearly as possible, but even in the best of times, there are two or more interpretations of a document which leads to disputes. Understanding how a judge looks at commercial disputes has been incredibly enlightening and beneficial to my practice.

During Bench Bar there is also time for relaxation, or for some of us, frustration. There is a golf tournament on Thursday where lawyers and judges get to spend four-plus hours hitting a little golf ball around and talking about things totally unrelated to practicing law. But if a “what if” or “how do I” question is posed, I am confident that the lawyers and judges trying to concentrate on playing quality golf still take the time to answer the question and help out a young, aspiring attorney trying to understand the nuances of an area of the law or how the judicial system works.

These are all the great experiences that avail themselves at Bench Bar, and I hope by the time you are reading this article, you also are on your way to Cincinnati. It will be a great few days.•


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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues