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Biking barristers

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Maybe it’s no surprise that after a long week in the office meeting with clients, attending court hearings, and handling filings that a journey on the open road with nothing but a motorcycle and maybe a few friends is the perfect way to spend the weekend.

Or, maybe it’s just something an attorney has done long before law school and has continued as a hobby.
 

mcmillian motorcycle Jimmie “Tic Tac” McMillian and his wife, Tamara McMillian (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Whatever the reason, a number of attorneys can be found on back roads and on charity rides that take them around the state.

Jimmie “Tic Tac” McMillian, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis, and his wife, Tamara McMillian, a non-practicing attorney who is a consultant for FlashPoint Human Resource Consulting, both started riding in the past few years and have traveled all over Indiana.

Tic Tac got his bike first in 2007 and currently rides a 2008 Kawasaki ZX14 Special Edition. Tamara, who had grown up with family members who rode motorcycles, started about a year later and currently rides a 1990 Honda Shadow Aero 1100.

Both took the safety class offered by American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE, and said they ride with all or at least most of the recommended safety equipment, including a helmet every time. They highly recommend the ABATE class for anyone who wants to learn how to ride safely.

To increase their level of safety, they often ride with their motorcycle club, 317 Ryders. On longer trips, the group will have someone driving with a trailer in case a bike breaks down so riders don’t end up stranded.

With the group and on their own, Tic Tac and Tamara have traveled around the Midwest, including Louisville, Chicago, and Cincinnati, but they have also gone as far as Miami; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; and Baton Rouge, La., on their bikes.

Tic Tac is the group’s vice president, and Tamara is an event coordinator. Tic Tac said the motorcycle club’s 52 members have diverse backgrounds, including many professions, and are family-oriented.

Earlier this year, the group conducted a charity ride and car wash for Reach for Youth Inc. and the teen court program.

In September, 317 Ryders participated in a charity ride to Nashville and back – one of the McMillians’ favorite rides – to benefit the children of Christel House, based in Indianapolis with locations around the world. The title sponsor for that event was the Indianapolis law firm Hensley Legal Group.

While no rides are planned until next year, the 317 Ryders later this year will adopt a family for the holidays.

Tamara said that as a woman, it has been empowering to own and ride her own bike. She said a number of women and kids will give her a thumbs-up sign or wave when they see her riding.

Both she and Tic Tac also sometimes ride their motorcycles to work. Tic Tac added others at his firm also ride, which has made for interesting conversations about their bikes and different places they’ve gone on their motorcycles.


terrell motorcycle Indianapolis solo attorney Stephen Terrell rides a Honda VTX-R 1300 cc cruiser to his office when the weather cooperates. He has been riding motorcycles since he was 17. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Another attorney who rides his bike to work is sole practitioner Stephen Terrell. Terrell has been riding since he was 17, but he took a break when he was starting to settle down with his job and family. About five years ago, he started thinking about riding again and now has a Honda VTX-R 1300 cc cruiser and rides regularly.

Terrell said he rides on his own and in charity rides, including a recent March of Dimes ride. Some of his family members, including a nephew and brother-in-law, also have motorcycles and they ride together sometimes.

While he does represent personal injury cases involving motorcyclists, it’s not something he advertises, he said. However, he said it does help to have knowledge about how motorcycles work when handling those types of cases.

The favorite ride he’s ever taken was through West Virginia, but he said, “Indiana has a lot of great places to ride, mostly in southern Indiana, through Morgan-Monroe State Forest, to Bloomington, near Brookville Reservoir, and along the Ohio River.”

In June 2009, he enjoyed riding his bike to the Indiana State Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Conference at Belterra Resort on the Ohio River in the southeast corner of the state.

He said it’s not uncommon on nice days for those who visit his law firm to see two motorcycles in the parking lot – he and his secretary often ride to work.

Terrell also rides with another attorney, Patrick Olmstead of the Indianapolis firm Hoover Hull. Olmstead has also been riding since a young age – his father taught him how to ride dirt bikes when he was 14 or 15, he said.

Like Terrell, Olmstead rode a motorcycle for a while – including as a student at Notre Dame for undergrad and at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, but after he graduated from law school in 2001, he sold his motorcycle and quit riding for a while.

Recently, he took up riding again and currently rides a 1999 Honda Magna that’s black with an orange sunburst.

Olmstead also enjoys riding through southern Indiana, particularly along the Ohio River, which was the next ride he planned after speaking with Indiana Lawyer for this article.

It’s not just about getting away from the office, but, he said, “I enjoy the feeling of riding the bike. I’ve always loved working on cars and to have a perfectly tuned engine that goes fast.”

When he rides with his wife, Julie, and their kids, he said, “I like to put Julie or one of the kids on the back and it’s uninterrupted time.”

They’ve added an intercom system on their helmets to connect them while they ride. And his 19-year-old daughter recently bought her own bike and is also learning to ride from Olmstead’s father, he said.

Olmstead also rides his bike to work, depending on his schedule for the day.

Another attorney who might be spotted on a motorcycle is I.U. School of Law – Indianapolis Dean Gary Roberts.

“I have had different bikes over the years, ranging from a larger 750cc Honda to an 80cc scooter,” he said via e-mail. “What I currently have is a 250cc Vespa – it’s a motorcycle engine in a scooter body, and it’s wonderful. I zip around on it all year long, even in the winter unless the streets are icy.”

While he doesn’t take it on long trips, he said, “The Vespa is perfect for getting around the metropolitan area – it is fun, it is easy to maneuver through traffic, it is very easy to find a spot to park for free (even right downtown), and it gets phenomenal gas mileage (about 70 mpg).”

Roberts said he is sometimes tempted to buy a bigger bike for longer trips, and the others agreed that the best part of riding is being close to nature.

Olmstead said he often looks for old-growth forests to ride through. Tamara, a Chicago native, said if not for riding she probably would never have seen Indiana’s back roads.

“We see trees, farms, fields, flowers – it’s very beautiful. It’s very different from a car, it’s even different from riding in a convertible,” she said.

Tic Tac and Olmstead said that not only do events for riders support various charities, but riding can lead to networking opportunities. Olmstead said he’s started client relationships after meeting people on rides, and Tic Tac has met other lawyers that way.

“Some attorneys golf,” he said. “We ride.”•
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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