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Blomquist: A Shout Out for Humility and Knowing When to Ask

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blomquist-kerryNo, I am not living with my mother. My mother is living with me. There’s a big difference; the fact that I am paying the mortgage, being the most critical one. Mom is staying with me for a few weeks post surgery and although we have both been previously suspect of this arrangement in concept, the reality has been pretty cool. My mother continues to mentor style, grace and humanity for me, and her life lessons have only changed in design, not in substance or indeed (candidly) force.

But that is a good thing—we all need that person who will unapologetically pull us aside and tell us what we don’t necessarily want to hear. Need to hear, yes; want to hear, no. Nothing can replace the sound, albeit brutal, advice of a parent, a friend, a colleague or a loved one.

Speaking of which, I had the same experience last week when I was working far out of my professional expertise on a different type of litigation. I was out of my comfort zone and needing some wise counsel and handholding. Quoting another force to be reckoned with parallel to my mother, I “screwed my courage to the sticking point1” and asked an IndyBar colleague for advice, help and salvation. What I heard was not what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear, and that “reach out” probably kept me from making a professional mistake. Shout out for humility and knowing when to ask. I don’t care who you are or how long you have practiced law—respect is garnered if you ask for help when needed. I know that when colleagues call me to ask about my expertise instead of going it alone and praying for the best, they rise a notch or two in my book.

You are probably receiving your IndyBar membership renewal forms right about now. Take a moment to review the new format to realize that the legal world is indeed your oyster. When I re-upped this year I changed it up and expanded my Plus CLE options so I can choose the sections I am interested in now and book the CLE later when my schedule allows. It is paid for upfront so I have all year to see what works for me. I love that I can experiment depending on my interest. Maybe it is time for me to take a CLE on the new health care requirements and how this could affect those of my mother’s generation—who better to learn it from than an IndyBar member with that expertise? I will be a better daughter and a better lawyer for it.

The most valuable benefit of IndyBar membership is the built-in supportive community whether you are taking CLE, consulting with a colleague or learning from other leaders. Last month was the IndyBar Past President’s Dinner, which is one of my favorite events of the year because past, current and future leadership literally fellowship and share stories and a meal. It is irreplaceable, because as much as we can get into our own heads about our “issues,” chances are someone in that room has had a similar challenge, and we can learn from how they handled it. We all stand on the broad shoulders of those who have come before us, and I only hope I can offer what wisdom I have gained this year to future bar leaders. I hope they ask.

I am also enormously grateful for a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee that in 2013 has helped me sift through the day-to-day challenges of bar leadership. We as practitioners, leaders, sons, daughters, parents and partners can learn so much if we just ask. Don’t wing it and hope for the best if you don’t have to. Choose humility and don’t presume you know all of the answers.

Because one day, just when you think you have it all figured out and you have one foot out of the door on your way to work, you will hear your mother say “You’re wearing that?”•

1 Lady Macbeth.

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  1. The $320,000 is the amount the school spent in litigating two lawsuits: One to release the report involving John Trimble (as noted in the story above) and one defending the discrimination lawsuit. The story above does not mention the amount spent to defend the discrimination suit, that's why the numbers don't match. Thanks for reading.

  2. $160k? Yesterday the figure was $320k. Which is it Indiana Lawyer. And even more interesting, which well connected law firm got the (I am guessing) $320k, six time was the fired chancellor received. LOL. (From yesterday's story, which I guess we were expected to forget overnight ... "According to records obtained by the Journal & Courier, Purdue spent $161,812, beginning in July 2012, in a state open records lawsuit and $168,312, beginning in April 2013, for defense in a federal lawsuit. Much of those fees were spent battling court orders to release an independent investigation by attorney John Trimble that found Purdue could have handled the forced retirement better")

  3. The numbers are harsh; 66 - 24 in the House, 40 - 10 in the Senate. And it is an idea pushed by the Democrats. Dead end? Ummm not necessarily. Just need to go big rather than go home. Nuclear option. Give it to the federal courts, the federal courts will ram this down our throats. Like that other invented right of the modern age, feticide. Rights too precious to be held up by 2000 years of civilization hang in the balance. Onward!

  4. I'm currently seeing someone who has a charge of child pornography possession, he didn't know he had it because it was attached to a music video file he downloaded when he was 19/20 yrs old and fought it for years until he couldn't handle it and plead guilty of possession. He's been convicted in Illinois and now lives in Indiana. Wouldn't it be better to give them a chance to prove to the community and their families that they pose no threat? He's so young and now because he was being a kid and downloaded music at a younger age, he has to pay for it the rest of his life? It's unfair, he can't live a normal life, and has to live in fear of what people can say and do to him because of something that happened 10 years ago? No one deserves that, and no one deserves to be labeled for one mistake, he got labeled even though there was no intent to obtain and use the said content. It makes me so sad to see someone I love go through this and it makes me holds me back a lot because I don't know how people around me will accept him...second chances should be given to those under the age of 21 at least so they can be given a chance to live a normal life as a productive member of society.

  5. It's just an ill considered remark. The Sup Ct is inherently political, as it is a core part of government, and Marbury V Madison guaranteed that it would become ever more so Supremely thus. So her remark is meaningless and she just should have not made it.... what she could have said is that Congress is a bunch of lazys and cowards who wont do their jobs so the hard work of making laws clear, oftentimes stops with the Sups sorting things out that could have been resolved by more competent legislation. That would have been a more worthwhile remark and maybe would have had some relevance to what voters do, since voters cant affect who gets appointed to the supremely un-democratic art III courts.

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