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Blomquist: Meaningful, Relevant and Fun, Oh My!

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blomquist-kerryFlashback: As a young mom living in Boulder, Colo., at the foot of the Flatirons, I would spend every day, all day, with my toddler Mike while his dad worked at the local university. Mike and I were inseparable, backpacking our way around the foothills, experiencing every trail, library, playground, dog (it was BOULDER after all—leashes were unheard of) and museum we could find. I was grateful for the time to be with my son and in retrospect, I enjoyed every single second of it.

In reality however, I went a little screwy at times. I remember vividly calling my husband and reciting the words to the newest Barney song: “I like my head, how about you, it lets me know I’m alive….”

Seriously? For THIS I went to law school?

The point here is that not too long after we arrived, I realized I needed to find some grown-ups with whom to spend a small part of my day, lest I become one of those overeducated and under stimulated moms who tries to teach their baby how to speak French or swim underwater before they can walk.1 I was certain it was in my son’s best interest to seek out a peer group that used complete sentences on a regular basis.

Thus was discovered the hippie play group. It was marvelous. I found a group of overeducated, slightly affected young moms who wore shoes made out of hemp, breastfed their children until they walked away, were incredibly well read and volunteered their time (with their babies on their backs) for everything and anything. It was meaningful, relevant and fun. I belonged.

Fast forward to today when spending even a lunch hour away from your desk, laptop, smart phone or iPad seems nearly absurd. When the demands on our time far outweigh the time that we have to give, and when the laser beam focus on our work precludes us from getting out of our heads for even a short period of time to learn, socialize, give back and to just grow. In short, sometimes we need to be with people who speak in complete sentences.

Therein lies the challenge for today’s bar association. The proverbial gauntlet has been thrown. How do we win the race for relevancy? How do we establish that emotional connection that our members need and often seek to get them out of their heads? How do we provide our membership with opportunities to make a positive difference? When time, technology and specialization challenge us to stay engaged, how do we as a bar association stay meaningful, relevant and fun?

Bluntly, this was where the IndyBar shines bright, arguably the brightest in the land. IndyBar staff and leadership work hard to invest your dues in programs, services and initiatives designed to benefit you, and in 2013, the return on your investment has never been higher.

In 2013, you have CLE on your schedule and on your device. Online CLE is just days from launching, giving you access to content from your desktop, laptop, iPad or smartphone with the click of a button, all when YOU have the time. CLE during soccer practice? That is meaningful.

Expanded investment in your business success: The Lawyer Referral Service and IndyLawyerFinder.com bring clients to you and are available ONLY to IndyBar members. IndyBar is committed to growing your practice and to your success as a professional, in the most time efficient way possible. That is meaningful.

IndyBar has gone mobile! 2013 has brought even more website development, including a new mobile-optimized site for registering for programs or accessing the member directory on the go. Plus, we’re developing tools that allow you to customize exactly what and how you receive information that matters to you and your practice and updates from the bar. That is relevance.

Pro bono and mentoring opportunities abound no matter what your practice area or interest. IndyBar is collaborating with organizations like Heartland Pro Bono Council and Shortridge Legal Magnet High School to provide expanded opportunities to give back. That is meaningful.

We are gearing up for favorites like the 20th Annual Bench Bar Conference in Louisville in June and the revamped quarterly Meetings of Members with “Jim Voyles approved” speakers — these are things that are designed to get us out of our offices and classrooms and remind us why we love to be with our colleagues. That is fun.

Membership to any organization only has value if members take the time to use it. That is why we are always evolving to meet the changing needs of our members. Our timeless goal is to keep this dialogue moving forward. Double check to make sure you have renewed for 2013, and if you haven’t, why not? Tell us what you need. How can we continue to excel? Because when you have excellence in your organization, membership is a given.
__________

1 I have no illusions. This is a high functioning readership. I am sure some of you have bred French speaking champion swimmers or the equivalent. Call me. I have a lot of these columns to write.

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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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