Column: ISBA Young Lawyers Section has busy year

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The Indiana State Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section has historically been the largest and most active of all the ISBA sections, and it is frequently referred to as the “service arm” of the ISBA. All ISBA members age 36 and under are eligible to become a member of the YLS, and I encourage eligible members to join this dynamic organization.

jasaitis-michael-mug.jpg Jasaitis

I have often been asked about the focus of the state bar’s YLS. If one were to take a look at the governing bylaws, the purpose of the YLS is set forth as follows:

[T]o stimulate the interest of new and young lawyers in the objectives of the Indiana State Bar Association (“ISBA”), to carry on activities which will be of assistance to new and young lawyers in the practice of law, and the citizens of this state, and to make reports and recommendations to the governing bodies of the ISBA.

This essentially means that our mission is to assist in the development of new and young lawyers. The activities and accomplishments of the YLS have certainly advanced this important purpose.

The YLS served the young, the old and the less fortunate with a multitude of service projects, which included the award-winning “Young Lawyers Serving Hoosier Seniors” community service joint projects with local law school students. Networking opportunities with judges from across the state were provided at the inaugural “Dinner with the Judiciary” events and the annual YLS-hosted Judicial Reception. The section also resurrected the state bar’s annual golf outing with a special emphasis on honoring past YLS leaders for their service.

With the incredible amount of participation from the YLS governing council and the entire membership, the YLS has even been recognized on the national level. Specifically, the American Bar Association awarded the Indiana YLS two national awards in the all-around comprehensive and the service project categories. The YLS also received recognition at the recent National Association of Bar Executives’ annual conference, where the YLS received the Luminary Award for Excellence in Publications for its “Legal Stuff (You should know!),” a publication that provides high school seniors with a basic understanding of various areas of law that may affect their lives.

The YLS council members spent countless number of volunteer hours organizing, marketing and attending events to benefit the public and lawyers, with a focus toward those that are young and/or new. Moreover, the YLS could not function as efficiently without the full backing of the state bar leadership, administration and staff. Without question, the ISBA leadership, including Past-President Jeff Lind and current President Erik Chickedantz, fully supported the activities of the YLS and even solicited input involving decisions made at the highest level of the ISBA.

As the immediate past chair, here are a few resonating thoughts in closing:

If you want to get involved in the YLS or the ISBA, simply contact the ISBA. The various YLS committees are not limited to Council members. If there is an interest, and you are willing, the YLS and the ISBA will find a spot for you to serve.

Never underestimate the power of networking. I have yet to meet an attorney that has not benefited from networking in some fashion. So get out and meet your colleagues and members of your community. It will come back to you in a positive manner.

The members of the judiciary in this state, from the trial court all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court, were once in your shoes. My experience is that they want to see young and new lawyers succeed, so don’t be afraid to reach out for guidance and advice.

If you have a passion in a certain area of the law, find a feasible way to pursue it. Take a risk if you have to. Do what you love, and it won’t feel like you are going to work, but rather your calling.

Be yourself and never forget where you came from. When that new or young lawyer comes to you 20 years from now for assistance, remember this message and take the time to provide direction.

Your current YLS Chair, Jason A. Cichowicz, was a big part of this past year’s YLS efforts and will provide this section with strong leadership into 2012. I see the level of involvement increasing during his term, and I’m absolutely confident in the continued success of this section. The YLS will dedicate itself to the steadfast commitment of providing opportunities and assistance to new lawyers in the practice of law. I am honored to have served the YLS, and with the continued participation, and the leadership that will follow, the future of this section is brilliant.•


Michael J. Jasaitis is an attorney with the Crown Point law firm Austgen Kuiper & Associates. He is immediate past chair of the ISBA Young Lawyers Section. The opinions expressed are those of the author.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.