Recent Blog Posts

The firm of the future

April 22, 2009
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The structure of law firms is pretty uniform across Indiana and the country. Look at one law firm in the state and compare it to a similarly sized one in Ohio or Illinois, and chances are, they are set up and...
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Surprising controversy?

April 20, 2009
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The U.S. Senate is back from break and ready to get down to business. On the Senate executive calendar for today is the nomination of Indiana University Maurer School of Law Professor Dawn Johnsen. She’s been on the calendar in the...
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Support staff more vulnerable

April 17, 2009
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More job cuts were announced today from one of the largest law firms in Indiana. Baker & Daniels has cut support staff positions. This is on top of the 22 cuts it made late last year. No attorney layoffs were confirmed...
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Literally chasing ambulances

April 15, 2009
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People often joke that some attorneys are just “ambulance chasers” but this weekend, Indiana University Maurer School of Law students are going to make that stereotype a reality. Students have brought back the Ambulance Chase 5k after several years of being...
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Out-of-town seminars

April 13, 2009
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Given today’s economy, is now the time to be spending big bucks to send attorneys to seminars in other cities? I recently received a brochure about a litigation/workplace strategies seminar presented by a law firm with multiple locations in the U.S....
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ABA offers help to lawyers

April 8, 2009
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Lawyers, are you down on your luck, looking for somewhere to turn in this tough economy? Look no further than the American Bar Association, which has launched a new online resource for attorneys struggling to cope with the recession. Its new...
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Firm heads south

April 6, 2009
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What’s Barnes & Thornburg’s secret? In today’s economy when firms are letting go staff and attorneys, and some around the country are even dissolving, Barnes & Thornburg expands into a new market. The firm announced today that it opened a new...
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Iowa’s surprising decision

April 3, 2009
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I’ll admit it, I’m surprised the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled civil marriage isn’t only for a man and woman. Iowa is in the Midwest and many people in this part of the country have deep-seated, often religious influences on their...
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Client files trashed

April 1, 2009
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In the course of their job, lawyers find out some pretty personal stuff about their clients. Information that I’m sure the clients want to remain confidential and protected. Imagine my surprise when I read a news article today about an attorney...
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Law firm first

March 30, 2009
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An Indiana law firm has said it let some employees go because of the economy. Bose McKinney & Evans in Indianapolis sent out a press release last week saying 10 attorneys, two paralegals, and 13 support staff had been let...
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Required law school

March 27, 2009
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I know I’m a little late on this one, but has anyone else seen The Onion article, “Year of law school now mandatory for nation’s 25-year-olds?” The article  ran in the satirical paper March 11, but I remember seeing it recently...
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Cat paws & baby formula

March 25, 2009
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From IL reporter Michael Hoskins : Every so often, court rulings offer hidden treasurers that tickle the mind with intrigue rather than simple legalese and legal theory. Take Wednesday's two examples from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Neither appeal...
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Twitter in the courtroom

March 23, 2009
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Can Twitter cause a mistrial or possibly taint a trial? Yes it can, if you’ve read any recent news stories about jurors using the social networking tool to “tweet” about their experience on the jury. Some guy in Arkansas sent messages...
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March distractions

March 19, 2009
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Today kicks off the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball tournament, much to the joy and excitement of many (including myself). Instead of having to take time off work to keep up with your favorite teams or scores, many people can just...
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Judicial ethical code

March 18, 2009
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The Judicial Conference of the United States adopted a revised Code of Conduct yesterday, with one revision focusing on judicial impropriety and the appearance of impropriety. The revised code expands a little on when the appearance of impropriety occurs, but the...
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Irish justice visits Indy

March 16, 2009
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From IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger : While it’s one thing to hear from a law school that it is internationally recognized, it’s a little different to hear that from the Chief Justice of Ireland . “I was glad...
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Disaster plans at firms

March 12, 2009
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A fire in downtown Indianapolis has made two firms thankful they have disaster plans already in place. I spoke with John Trimble at LewisWagner and Peter Pogue at Schultz and Pogue this morning about the fire, and both reiterated the...
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Generation Y and job loss

March 11, 2009
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Is the Generation Y/ “highly praised” generation taking job loss worse than other attorneys or even others their same age in different professions? You definitely have to have a certain type of personality and work ethic to become an attorney: hard...
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No coffee = firm trouble?

March 9, 2009
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If you came to work one morning to find out that your company no long provided free coffee because it wanted to save money, would you be angry, worried, or indifferent? One Chicago firm has reportedly  cut free coffee...
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Prosecutor misconduct cases

March 6, 2009
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For those current and aspiring prosecuting attorneys out there, read two of today’s Court of Appeals opinions to learn what not to do while at trial. The appellate court dealt with two cases of prosecutorial misconduct but found both were harmless...
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Update on lawyers leaving law

March 4, 2009
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I wrote a post a few weeks back that said 75 percent of respondents to our online poll at that time said they had considered leaving the practice. After two more days of voting, the number went down to 65 percent....
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Racing star\'s trial begins

March 2, 2009
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Helio, what were you thinking? You are a high-profile guy thanks to your wins at the Indianapolis 500 and disco ball trophy from “Dancing with the Stars.” Did you think you and your attorney’s attempts at tax evasion wouldn’t get caught,...
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Tuning out layoff news?

February 27, 2009
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If you read any publication geared toward the legal community, you’ve undoubtedly encountered numerous news stories about law firm layoffs. It’s a topic we’ve covered both in IL and here in the blog and one that should be talked about. The...
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Study results no surprise

February 25, 2009
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The National Association for Law Placement has issued a report that confirms what most law students already know: student recruiting slowed last year as a result of the economy. I won’t go over all the details of the report here; you...
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2009 bills update

February 23, 2009
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This is do-or-die week for some bills in the legislature. The third reading deadline is Wednesday and those that don’t make it out in their current form will die. A few will be folded into other bills in an attempt to...
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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