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Chinn: Opportunities To Serve In 2012

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iba-chinn-scottGreetings colleagues of the bar and other interested readers. This is my first president’s message of the year and I want to take the opportunity to congratulate all the persons elected and appointed to leadership positions in the Indianapolis Bar Association for 2012. We fully realize we won only an opportunity to serve. Section, division, and committee chairs are in place and are already moving their groups forward. The new IBA board was formally sworn in on January 12, but by then had already met and picked up the baton on a number of substantive issues from last year’s board.

As challenges for non-profit member organizations continue to mount, that continuity of leadership has marked the IBA’s many successes in membership growth, programming, and civic impact. I could not be more conscious of the good and important work that has preceded my becoming president. The 2012 IBA board and its officers have inherited a well functioning and special organization – an association that we are proud to hear frequently mentioned as one of the leading bars in the country when we travel to ABA meetings and other national gatherings.

A special word here is deserved for IBA Executive Director Julie Armstrong and her great staff. It is hard to imagine such a lean staff could be so strong, productive and committed to the association membership and its goals.

So, as we begin 2012, let’s pay heed to the formula that has produced these good results. The first ingredient is to strive always to keep in place what works and what is necessary, eschewing change made for the sake of change. At the same time, we should never shrink from bold action where we can make a difference in an important matter or be ahead of the curve for the benefit of our profession. It is that artful blend of solidity and opportunistic progressivism that makes up the “sweet spot” the IBA has been hitting on for such a long time.

With that background in mind, let me respectfully ask you to think about three ways you can help the work of the IBA and the profession.

Be involved. Every bar president says this every year, but that’s because it’s important. The IBA needs your help, your interest, and your talent. The great news is, the IBA doesn’t lack for strong leaders who are willing to give their time in support of its aims.

But the only way we continue to progress, to avoid associational atrophy, and to promote the profession appropriately is to seek and enjoy the time and resource commitments of our members. When you see a substantive section, a program, or an issue that the IBA is involved in – or you think should be – contact me, Julie or any bar leader you know to get more involved.

Be sensitive. We practice law in a world that needs our help more than ever. The recent economic downturn has exacerbated the problem of finding legal representation for people of few means. You’ll hear much more this year about how the IBA is actively addressing the growing need for such services. Our immediate past president Mike Hebenstreit has kindly agreed to head a special committee dedicated to pro bono and indigent legal assistance.

And we don’t have to look far for opportunities to help in other ways. So many of our colleagues, especially our youngest members of the profession, are struggling to find jobs and meaningful legal work. Do what you can to help by including these new lawyers in your networks, give them advice and guidance, and think creatively about how you can be a mentor and assist them in their job searches.

Be yourself. The best way you can serve the IBA and the profession is to be yourself. Just go be the best lawyer you can be. Serve your clients, serve the judiciary and legal system, and serve your networks of civic and social contacts.

I wanted to be involved in IBA leadership because I like and believe in lawyers. My mother (who later became a second career lawyer) told me when I was young that the most important thing lawyers do is solve problems for people. Not a day goes by that I don’t have an opportunity to help solve someone’s problem – however big or small – using my training, experience, and judgment. That’s what we are supposed to do.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve. Best wishes for a great 2012.•

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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