During its 2013 Annual Meeting at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City Nov. 21-22, the DTCI will recognize the outstanding defense lawyers of 2013. The awards ceremony will be held during the board of directors dinner on November 20.
Defense Lawyers of the Year
Lucy Dollens, a member in the Indianapolis office of Frost Brown Todd, and Karen Withers, an associate in the Indianapolis firm Zeigler Cohen & Koch, have been named the co-recipients of the 2013 DTCI Defense Lawyer of the Year award. The Defense Lawyer of the Year award is presented to a licensed lawyer who, in the opinion of the Awards Committee, as approved by the board of directors, has promoted the interests of the Indiana Defense Bar, since the last annual meeting of the DTCI, in a most significant way in the fields of litigation, legislation, publication or participation in local, state or national defense organizations.
Dollens, who was nominated by Robert B. Thornburg, was the primary author of the DTCI amicus brief in Santelli v. Rahmatullah, which was recently decided by the Indiana Supreme Court and resulted in a favorable decision for the defense bar.
Withers, who was nominated by Bobby J. Avery-Seagrave, was responsible for the lion’s share of the work in Plank v. Community, which defended the MMA cap. She conducted all the research and drafting of the briefs throughout the case’s progress through the trial court, Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court.
Diplomats of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel
The DTCI will also install as Diplomats of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel two members of the Indiana bar who, in the judgment of the officers and directors of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, have distinguished themselves throughout their careers through outstanding contributions to the representation of clients in the defense of litigation matters. The 2013 recipients are Robert F. Parker, partner in Burke Costanza & Carberry, and John C. Trimble, partner in Lewis Wagner. Both Parker and Trimble were nominated by Thomas R. Schultz.
Parker is a former president of DTCI, a Defense Lawyer of the Year, and a recipient of DRI’s Exceptional Performance Award. He currently serves on the editorial board of the American College of Trial Lawyers quarterly publication. In the last year he has successfully tried two complex medical malpractice claims and is seen as a leader in that area of law in the state of Indiana. He is also adjunct professor at Valparaiso Law School, where he teaches trial skills.
Trimble is a leading Indiana lawyer handling insurance coverage matters. He has been a leader in working at the state legislature promoting pro-defense positions, including the Wrongful Death Act and tort reform. In addition, he frequently speaks to defense organizations across the country about the way insurance companies evaluate their counsel;
he has assisted a number of state and local defense organizations with their long-term strategic plans. He is one of the most recognized people in both DTCI and DRI due to his tireless efforts in helping both organizations. He has led DRI’s Judicial Task Force – looking for ways to maintain a fair and impartial judiciary. A former president of DTCI, he has been DTCI Defense Lawyer of the Year and the DRI National Defense Lawyer of the Year.
Outstanding Young Lawyer
The DTCI Outstanding Young Lawyer award is presented to a member of the Defense Trial Counsel, less than 35 years old, who has shown leadership qualities in service to the Indiana defense bar, the national defense bar, or the community. The 2013 recipient is Crystal Wildeman, who was nominated by Greg J. Freyberger and is an associate with Kahn Dees Donovan & Kahn.
Wildeman graduated from Indiana University with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice, then earned her J.D. from DePaul College of Law. Wildeman is licensed to practice law in three states and has been admitted to U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of Indiana, Northern District of Indiana, Eastern District of Kentucky, Western District of Kentucky, Central District of Illinois, and Southern District of Illinois.
She has been recognized as a Rising Star in general personal injury defense by Indiana Super Lawyers magazine. Her impact is felt through her service to Youth First, Inc. as a member of the board of directors, board development committee and executive committee; as chair of the Arc Child Life Center Parent Advisory Board; as a volunteer judge for junior high and high school speech meets; as a Leadership Evansville program alumnus and volunteer; and as a member of Young Professionals Network and A Network of Evansville Women.•