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Chinn: A New Section, If You Can Keep It

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iba-chinn-scottIt falls upon me to make the happy announcement that the Board of Directors of the Indianapolis Bar Association has approved the creation of a new section of the bar — the Indy Attorneys Network. This new section will be a structural part of the bar like any other substantive section. But unlike other sections, it is not devoted to a particular area of law, but rather to promoting membership-driven networking opportunities. Membership in the section is open to any member of the IndyBar and can be joined like any other section — by adding it to your section membership list on your dues statement upon renewing your membership for 2013, or at any other time by contacting the bar to join the section or updating your member profile online at www.indybar.org.

The Indy Attorneys Network is not a top-down creation of bar leadership based on a national trend among metropolitan bars or to minister to a specific strategic planning objective of the Board. Indeed, we think it is likely a unique section among our peer bars. Instead, the idea came from a grass roots effort initiated by IndyBar members Liz Shuster and Chuck Schmal. Like so many, they had a desire to meet and network with attorneys outside of their practice area of intellectual property, but weren’t sure how to go about it outside of randomly approaching other attorneys at events. That isn’t an inherently bad way to network, but it also isn’t always the most natural or comfortable thing to do for many. Therefore, they posited that there might be a better way. Ultimately, their vision was to create a group solely for networking that would facilitate informal networking connections between attorneys.

One of the best things about a networking section is that its purpose is crystal clear, so participants don’t have to feel awkward about meeting new people or actually actively working to network with other attorneys. Everyone knows the purpose of the gatherings, so there’s nothing weird about handing out business cards or working to build relationships. “Networking” is always pushed as such an essential part of the practice, but for most of us it can be abstract. We say we need to do it, but we don’t always have a good infrastructure for success — especially for getting outside our comfort zones. The social events the bar offers, while a great opportunity for networking, typically are hosted through substantive sections, which means there are inherent limitations on the breadth of attendees, i.e., those with different areas of practice than the core reach of the section.

This new section will permit its members to naturally form connections based on what they need from networking — whether that is referrals, someone to turn to for help and advice or for just purely social interactions. The organizers imagine, for example, that subgroups will arise out of the section, based on non-legal demographics, like members who realize they have children of the same ages. They are focused on enabling members to get whatever they need or want out of the group, recognizing that will be different for everyone.

The initial planning meeting brought together a large group representing very different practice areas and practice types (from solos to big firms to corporations), ages and personal backgrounds, which we think is a testament to the need and desire for a group like this. Everyone had different backgrounds, but all were excited to work together to get the group off the ground. Not only are they working on how the group will function and what kind of events will be held, but they’re also considering resources that will help members really wrap their heads around how to actually be a good networker.

At the same time we celebrate the creation of the Indy Attorneys Network, let us observe two important points. First, this networking section is not intended to replace the myriad networking events and opportunities that come from IndyBar membership generally, activity in the substantive legal sections, and the work of the divisions and committees of the bar. You don’t have to be a member of the Indy Attorneys Network to do what you’ve always done or what you want to do to stay engaged and meet new people in the IndyBar. And this section’s activities won’t usurp or undermine the networking events and activities that sections, divisions, and committees organize.

Second, we should recognize this effort as an experiment — one that rewards the initiative of the lawyers who conceived it. It has a great chance to succeed, but we’ll make sure to review its progress over the next couple years and make honest assessments about its contribution to the health of the IndyBar. It is reported that upon exiting Independence Hall at the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin’s factual reply carried with it an admonition: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” The establishment of the Indy Attorneys Network is admittedly a less weighty endeavor than forming our federal Constitution. But for the founders of the section, and those who might have an interest in making this an exciting and permanent facet of the IndyBar, Dr. Franklin’s admonition likewise applies. Let us see if we can keep it.•

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  1. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  2. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  3. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  4. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  5. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

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