After three years of being in charge of the Indiana Board of Law Examiners, a state court staff attorney has resigned, and the search for a new leader is under way.
The Indiana Supreme Court announced recently that Linda L. Loepker resigned Dec. 6 as executive director of the state’s BLE, according to public information officer Kathryn Dolan.
Loepker has been in that post since 2007 when she replaced longtime leader Mary Place Godsey who retired after 25 years.
Dolan said that no resignation letter was submitted and she classified Loepker’s leaving as a “personnel matter” and that any other details beyond her resignation date are confidential.
Justice Brent Dickson, who serves as a liaison to the nine-member BLE, said the process for how the court would name a new executive director was still being established. Notice will go out inviting attorneys to apply for the position, but an exact timeline for the search had not been established by Indiana Lawyer deadline. Evansville attorney Les Shively, who serves as chair of the BLE, hopes a new leader can be found early in 2011 as the next bar exam is set for February.
Until a new executive director is found, David Remondini, the chief deputy executive director of the Indiana Division of State Court Admini-stration, is filling the spot as acting executive director. The interim role doesn’t take away from Remondini’s existing duties as second-in-charge of the court’s administrative arm, a position he’s held since February 2007 when he moved from being chief counsel for Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard.
The state BLE plays a pivotal role in the legal community, overseeing not only the admission of attorneys in Indiana through the bar exam but also administering legal intern certification and the formation and renewal of professional corporations, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships within the legal profession. The Committee on Character and Fitness that’s made up of more than 300 lawyers conducts personal interviews of all those applying for the Indiana bar.
Loepker didn’t return a message from Indiana Lawyer, and Dolan said she did not know Loepker’s plans for the future or how this change might impact her national affiliations with organizations and boards relating to law examiner issues.
She served at the BLE helm at a time when the board has been under fire from multiple lawsuits targeting the bar exam eligibility and administration process. At least three suits have been filed in the past two years, and one of the most notable continues in the Southern District of Indiana, challenging the BLE requirement that bar applicants answer questions about their physical and mental health information in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. That case remains pending before Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. Others have alleged the state and BLE are wrong in referring applicants to the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program for questioning and also for barring individuals who have not attended law school from taking the bar exam. Loepker has been intimately involved in the process as well as the litigation that has gone through state and federal trial and appellate courts.
Nothing filed on those pending dockets by Dec. 17 refer to Loepker’s resignation in any way, and it’s unclear at this point whether her departure might impact the timelines and procedures of the process or whether she might need to re-appear for proceedings at some point in the future.
Dolan credited Loepker with being an instrumental part of the Indiana Supreme Court’s successful effort to secure a new lease at the 30 S. Meridian building in downtown Indianapolis, where the Division of State Court Administration and many other court agencies are housed. The previous lease at the National City Center at 115 W. Washington St. expired, and Loepker negotiated a new lease at a lower cost. It is projected to save state taxpayers nearly $1.5 million over the life of the 10-year lease that began Jan. 1, 2008.•