DeGroote: The new social network - return to the bar

February 15, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Tim DeGrooteNot so long ago, when I was a “young” lawyer, our local bar association sponsored various outings. I remember them fondly. There was always a summer golf outing and bus trip to Chicago. In the fall and winter months, the bar association would sponsor various events, including the occasional happy hour at a local watering hole. The events were well attended and memorable.

Those events provided the opportunity for me to get to know my fellow lawyers in an enjoyable, casual and non-adversarial setting. Just as important, the events brought lawyers from different practice areas and generations together. Judges, prosecutors, criminal defense counsel, family lawyers and civil litigators all joined forces with a common goal: to have a good time. Stories were told. Accomplishments and defeats were embellished. It was a wonderful time.

When I joined the law firm, I had the privilege to be mentored by several great lawyers. They spent time with me both in and out of the office. They encouraged me to get involved in local and state organizations. They introduced me to other lawyers and took me to seminars, events and to the occasional happy hour where, once again, stories, accomplishments and defeats were shared and embellished.

Times have changed. In the last 15 years, life has become more complicated. Like many, I attempt to juggle and balance my professional and home/family commitments. I have a fabulous wife who works full time as a magistrate. We have two children who are actively involved in school and extracurricular activities. It is a rare evening when something is not scheduled on the work or family calendar.

With more demands on my time, I find myself less involved in the state, local, and firm activities and social events. Apparently, I am not alone.

In the last several years, there has been a steady decline in active participation in local bar association events. I anticipate that other organizations have experienced a similar problem. While I do not have all of the answers to explain the decline, several factors come into play, including the changes in society, the family structure (both parents working) and the increasing demands made by the workplace.

Change is inevitable. The way we communicate and socialize has been redefined. We are now connected 24/7. We have the ability to email, text and update our Facebook pages while we sit in traffic. The phone call has been replaced with the text and/or tweet. The handwritten and (even) dictated letter has been slain by the email. The social gathering at the local bar event has fallen victim to the chat room. There is no need to be physically present because we are connected all the time. Technology has allowed us to become more efficient so that we may accomplish more in less time. Technology has allowed us to save time. And yet, do any of us feel like we have more time?

I truly enjoy the benefits of the advancements made in technology. However, I would propose that we use some of the time saved through the use of technology and re-invest it in our profession and the people with whom we work. Attend a state or local bar association event. Take a young lawyer, fellow associate or partner with you. Get involved in a worthy organization, such as the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana (shameless plug). Put down the mouse, leave work early, and spend time with your partners and associates outside the office. Attend a happy hour or two. Reconnect with your fellow lawyers. Stay involved or get involved and get to know the people you work with or who may be across the table from you in your next case. The time spent is a valuable investment in your practice and our profession.•


Mr. DeGroote is a partner in the Fort Wayne office of Hunt Suedhoff Kalamaros and is a director of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. 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?)

  2. Paul Hartman of Burbank, Oh who is helping Sister Fuller with this Con Artist Kevin Bart McCarthy scares Sister Joseph Therese, Patricia Ann Fuller very much that McCarthy will try and hurt Patricia Ann Fuller and Paul Hartman of Burbank, Oh or any member of his family. Sister is very, very scared, (YES, I AM) This McCarthy guy is a real, real CON MAN and crook. I try to totall flatter Kevin Bart McCARTHY to keep him from hurting my best friends in this world which are Carolyn Rose and Paul Hartman. I Live in total fear of this man Kevin Bart McCarthy and try to praise him as a good man to keep us ALL from his bad deeds. This man could easy have some one cause us a very bad disability. You have to PRAISAE in order TO PROTECT yourself. He lies and makes up stories about people and then tries to steal if THEY OWN THRU THE COURTS A SPECIAL DEVOTION TO PROTECT, EX> Our Lady of America DEVOTION. EVERYONE who reads this, PLEASE BE CAREFUL of Kevin Bart McCarthy of Indianapolis, IN My Phone No. IS 419-435-3838.

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

  4. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

  5. (A)ll (C)riminals (L)ove (U)s is up to their old, "If it's honorable and pro-American, we're against it," nonsense. I'm not a big Pence fan but at least he's showing his patriotism which is something the left won't do.