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Disciplinary Commission seeks agency head

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Indiana needs a new face for lawyer discipline, and applications are being accepted from anyone interested in the job.

The Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission is accepting applications through Jan. 29, 2010, for the executive secretary post, which is being vacated at the end of this year. Current executive secretary Don Lundberg announced last month that he's leaving the position he's held since December 1991. At the start of the year, he'll become a partner and deputy general counsel at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis.

As administrative head of the agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting claims of lawyer misconduct, the executive secretary supervises a staff of 15 that includes 11 attorneys, an investigator, and part-time law student clerks and support staff. The agency investigates roughly 16,000 grievances each year and prosecutes a percentage of that total. The executive secretary also acts as chief legal counsel to the nine-member commission, and handles occasional trial work.

"This is a key job for the legal community," said Indianapolis attorney Sally Franklin Zweig, immediate past chair of the nine-member commission. "It is a position that works to maintain the credibility of lawyers as an honored profession. Consumer protection is a central part of that role and the executive secretary also has the opportunity to help assure that the community at large will have confidence in the lawyer discipline process."

The commission is doing a "broad" search, which means it is prepared to look inside and outside of Indiana, according to Zweig. Candidates should have at least 10 years of law practice experience, and must be admitted to practice in Indiana or be eligible for immediate admission. The current compensation is $115,000, and benefits include health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, as well as participation in the Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund's benefit pension plan.

Applications will be posted online at the Commission's Web site at www.in.gov/judiciary/discipline, where more information about the agency is also available. Applicants can download applications and send to: Confidential Applications c/o Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 850, Indianapolis, IN 46204. All applications will be confidential.

Once applications are received, the Disciplinary Commission expects to review those as quickly as possible and discuss the issue at its February meeting, Zweig said. The commission will recommend finalists for consideration to the Indiana Supreme Court, which makes the ultimate decision on the appointment. No timeline exists for that to happen.

The commission plans to discuss the issue of an interim executive secretary at its next meeting on Dec. 11, Zweig said.

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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