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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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