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Blomquist: The IndyBar's Attorney Apprentice Program

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blomquist-kerryYou have no doubt heard or read about it before—times are a changing and there is a lot of dialogue out there right now about the face of legal education in America, the uncertain economics of the practice of law, and how one affects the other. In 2011, this country cranked out 44,000 new lawyers for just over 21,000 new attorney jobs. There is a glut of lawyers out there joining an economic environment that is not growing to meet them head on.

More still, there is the never-ending concern that graduating and passing the bar does not create lawyers ready to practice, and fully mentoring young lawyers takes time, money and opportunity, all of which can be hard to come by. Those of us who were mentored by outstanding practitioners when we were “coming up” (shout out to Wes Bowers, Paul Black, Jim Lisher and the unforgettable Linda Pence) remember how critical it was to learn those skills in a safe, understanding environment. For many of our unemployed and underemployed brethren out there, that that opportunity has not been within their reach.

So what to do? Really glad you asked that.

Recognizing the impact that the economic downturn has had on our profession and the challenges faced by our peers, in 2012 IndyBar Leadership under President Scott Chinn established the Lawyers Helping Lawyers Task Force. After creating the task force, Scott’s second brilliant move was to ask IndyBar board members Rebecca Geyer and Kathleen Hart to take point on this project. Their great work has resulted in some concrete marching orders designed to provide meaningful opportunities for personal growth and skills training to unemployed and underemployed members of our bar.

To wit:

In March of this year, the IndyBar is launching its first ever Attorney Apprentice Program, a program created to provide substantive knowledge and practical experience to new and less experienced attorneys. Designed to bridge the “knowing-doing gap” often experienced by new practitioners, the program includes practice and role-play to accelerate the learning curve of participants. The result? Quite simply, better lawyers.

The Attorney Apprentice Program is ideal for new associates, those who wish to venture out of their practice comfort zone, or those who want to learn how the practice of law can be very different than learning the law itself. Imagine having the opportunity to spend part of an afternoon on motions practice, depositions and discovery, estate planning, or the ins and outs of the Indiana Trial Rules. How about a seminar on the economic realities of starting your own practice? This is the stuff they don’t teach you in law school. It is both timeless and priceless.

The Attorney Apprentice Program features a core curriculum aimed at developing attorney business and marketing skills as well as substantive programming in a legal track of the participant’s choosing—Civil Litigation, Transactional Practice or Criminal Practice and Procedure. Substantive programming includes a practice component incorporating the tell/show/do model, giving participants the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge on case studies, sample documents and more. Participants will receive a certificate of achievement upon completion of the program.

In keeping with its commitment to supporting attorneys in central Indiana, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation is providing 30 scholarships for the program; so if you haven’t donated to the IBF, please consider doing so because this is indeed “Lawyers Helping Lawyers.”

You will likely become dreadfully tired of hearing me say this, but great things are happening at IndyBar and this is one of them. We are working to create better lawyers, so please consider sending your associates to this program and/or encouraging your colleagues to attend or support this work. For more information, check out the IndyBar website and see just what this program has to offer.•

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  1. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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