ILNews

Attorney, ICLU founder dies

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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A prominent and well-respected labor attorney who had a great impact on Indianapolis and the legal community died July 27.

Alan T. Nolan, an attorney, author, and historian, was 85. Calling and a memorial service will be Aug. 10 and 11.

Nolan was born in Evansville and moved to Indianapolis at the age of 10. He attended Harvard Law School and clerked for Sherman Minton at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. He returned to Indianapolis in 1948 and practiced law for 45 years with the firm that is now Ice Miller.

Nolan was one of the first attorneys in the labor practice at the firm at that time and helped to create it, said Ice Miller partner Byron Myers, who counted both Nolan and his brother, Val, as advisers. When Myers was in law school, Val Nolan was a professor at Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington and was Myers' mentor. When he joined the law firm, Alan Nolan became his mentor.

"I worked with Alan for years here," Myers said. "Alan was just an excellent attorney, a consummate professional that I was privileged to know as a colleague and a friend for many years."

Nolan practiced at Ice Miller until he retired in 1993. During his legal career, he served as chairman of the firm's management committee and spent seven years as chairman of the Disciplinary Commission of the Indiana Supreme Court. He and another attorney from his firm helped found the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in the early 1950s, now known as the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. It was controversial at the time because some people believed the ACLU was linked to communism, according to historical accounts.

Nolan also had a passion for history, especially the Civil War. He authored several books about it, including "The Iron Brigade: A Military History," which has been named by Civil War Times Illustrated as one of the "100 best books ever written on the Civil War."

Nolan would travel to lecture at universities, round tables, and the Smithsonian Institution. His interest in history led to an active role at the Indiana Historical Society where he served on the board and was a chairman for 12 years during the planning and construction of the current facility. Myers said many people at Ice Miller have read Nolan's books and that he was a fascinating man to talk with about history and the Civil War.

"Al was a wonderful guy. He had the kind of personality that no one could ever dislike him," Myers said. "If someone was an adversary in a case, he treated everyone with respect. I never heard anyone speak ill of Al Nolan."

Calling will be from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Indiana Historical Society, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis. An hour of calling will precede the 11 a.m. memorial service Aug. 11 at St. Thomas Aquinas, 4625 N. Kenwood Ave., Indianapolis. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Indiana Historical Society, the Ensemble Music Society, Civil War Preservation Trust, or a favorite charity.

Nolan is survived by his wife, Jane Ransel DeVoe; children Patrick A. Nolan, Mary F. Nolan, Thomas C. Nolan, Elizabeth T. Nolan, John V. Nolan, John C. DeVoe, Ellen R. DeVoe, and Thomas R. DeVoe; sister, Kathleen Lobley; and 20 grandchildren.
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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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