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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. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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