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LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2017: Jonathan A. Knoll

Associate, Cohen & Malad LLP, Indianapolis; Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, 2010

May 3, 2017
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Jon Knoll produces high-quality work at a faster pace than most young attorneys, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed at his firm. His ability to organize cases and prioritize work has led to him becoming the point person for attorneys from other firms working on mass-tort litigation, including cases involving kidney dialysis products and talcum powder ovarian cancer. He is an elder at St. John Lutheran Church and serves on the board of directors of Lutheran High School. Jon is also active with the IndyBar’s Ask-A-Lawyer and Legal Line programs.

What’s been your most memorable case?

In my first year as a lawyer, we were working up a case involving a client whose cartilage in the shoulder joint had been destroyed by a medical device called a pain pump. The day before the case was scheduled to go to trial, the judge kept emailing both sides with questions concerning various issues and wanted responses in a matter of minutes. Thankfully, because we had researched the issues in advance, we were prepared to answer the judge’s questions in a timely and effective manner for our client. This was the perfect lesson on the importance of being prepared!

What was your most memorable job before becoming an attorney?

I was born in Indianapolis but grew up primarily in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. One summer, I worked concessions for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a minor league baseball team. As part of that job, I got to work concessions for a Willie Nelson/Bob Dylan concert held on the field. It was a great show.

What’s the best advice you got from a mentor?

Be prepared, take time to think about the issues, and live out my faith daily. Additionally, because our practice takes us to courts across the country, you better know the local rules!

Why did you become a lawyer?

I became a lawyer to help people. It is an honor and a privilege to be a voice for our clients in their pursuit of justice, especially those who have been injured by a dangerous and defective drug or medical device. It is a great feeling to be able to tell a client after a successful outcome that they will be able to get the help they need to have the best quality of life possible after their injury.

What will the legal profession look like in 15 years?

It sure would be nice to know the answer to that question! I imagine the legal profession will continue to be a positive force in our communities and constantly adapting to new technologies.

What was your most memorable job before becoming an attorney?

I was born in Indianapolis but grew up primarily in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. One summer, I worked concessions for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, a minor league baseball team. As part of that job, I got to work concessions for a Willie Nelson/Bob Dylan concert held on the field. It was a great show.

Why is it important to be active within legal and community organizations?

It takes people with all different kinds of gifts and skills to make an organization thrive and grow. We, as lawyers, are an important part of our communities at large and should strive to be a positive influence in our neighborhoods and surrounding areas through volunteerism and service.

What are the advantages and drawbacks of being accessible to clients and working anywhere, thanks to technology?

An advantage to technology today is that it allows you to quickly respond to any questions or issues, ensuring you are constantly dialed into your work or a particular case. A drawback is that because we are so reachable, it can be difficult sometimes to take time for yourself to unplug from work when you need a break.

What attracted you to your practice area?

The work we do is challenging but rewarding. In drug and device litigation, our clients have tragically suffered devastating and life-altering injuries. Our practice provides me the opportunity to help make a real difference in these people’s lives and provide some justice for the harm they have suffered. Additionally, because this area of law involves a variety of legal and scientific issues, I am constantly learning and experiencing new things.

What do you do to unwind?

I enjoy spending time with my wife, Gretchen, and our dog, Walker. I also enjoy traveling, going to movies and concerts, and cheering on my favorite sports teams, especially the Colts.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself and my wife living in the Indianapolis area and raising a family. I also plan to continue to be a strong advocate for our clients and be an active member in my church and community.

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