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IBA: Committee stresses civility, member outreach

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Mentoring and assisting lawyers of all ages and experiences are among the goals of the 2010 IBA Standing Committee on Professionalism, according to the 2010 committee chairs, Hon. William T. Lawrence, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, and Kathleen I. Hart, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP.

The outreach is geared toward promoting civility inside and outside the legal community. Among the committee's efforts this year will be to co-host the second Mentors Who Matter Luncheon, which was begun last year to foster and recognize mentoring relationships.

The committee also will be focusing this year on lawyers in transition, an effort that was begun in 2009 under the direction of then co-chairs Hon. Sarah Evans Barker, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, and Sally Zweig, Katz & Korin PC.

A packet of information about starting a law practice was compiled by the committee for lawyers who have recently found their careers in transition; it is available at www.indybar.org by clicking on Professionalism.

Additional outreach to lawyers in transition may include a resume database hosted by the IBA and other programming to assist lawyers who have changed the nature of their practice or pursued non-traditional careers.

In addition, the committee will continue a feature in the IBA's newsletter pages in the Indiana Lawyer newspaper called "Nod to Professionalism," aimed at recognizing lawyers for their commitment to the IBA's standards of professionalism. The standards denote five categories: commitment, character, competence, courtesy in client advocacy and community service.

Zweig is joined on the 2010 committee by: Jerry A. Barr, Krieg DeVault LLP; A. Richard M. Blaiklock, Lewis Wagner LLP; Sonia S. Chen, Bingham McHale LLP; James Dimos, Frost Brown Todd LLP; William M. "Terry" Horne, Attorney at Law; Ann Carr Mackey, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP; Patrick W. Price, Barnes & Thornburg LLP; Roberta Sabin Recker, Baker & Daniels LLP; Gary Roberts, Dean of the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis; Richard E. Shevitz, Cohen & Malad LLP; and Hon. Gerald S. Zore, Marion Superior Court.

IBA leadership, aided by grants from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, made a commitment several years ago to reduce imagerelated barriers that may keep some from obtaining legal advice and/or create distance in attorneyclient relationships, and to promote professionalism and civility in lawyer-to-lawyer relationships. A professionalism coordinator was appointed by the IBA board and later the effort was assigned to a standing committee.

The IBA's professionalism accomplishments were recognized in 2007 by the American Bar Association with the E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award. Among them are the creation of the Bar Leader Series; re-affirming, printing and distributing the Tenets of Professional Courtesy, now called the Standards of Professionalism; development of the Applied Professionalism Course; various course offerings to law students and attorneys, such as "Surviving and Thriving in the Practice of Law"; and presenting an annual report on professionalism to the Indianapolis Bar Association's board of directors.

An annual IBA Professionalism Award also was established in 2004 to recognize exceptional meritorious achievement by an attorney or judge widely accepted by his or her peers as having consistently modeled the spirit of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct.

Watch for more information to come soon on professionalism programs. If you have any suggestions for the professionalism committee, e-mail iba@indybar.org.

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  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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