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DTCI: Kyrouac looking forward to 2011

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DTCI-Kyrouac-scottI am truly honored and humbled to be the 44th president of DTCI. When I look back on all the time I have spent with DTCI, I can honestly say it was well worth it. I look forward to another year of fulfilling and worthwhile effort in partnership with the DTCI board of directors.

Goals for 2011

It is no secret that defense lawyers are some of the nicest folks around, at least outside the legal arena. The real secret that I want to share with my fellow DTCI members is that plaintiffs’ attorneys also fit this description. This altruism leads me to my first goal for the coming year: promoting civility.

A wise letter to a local newspaper editor recently said, “Criticizing others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.” This should serve as a principle in our quest to promote civility. There is no reason to be negative about a legal opponent, judge, or even a member of your own firm. Muhammad Ali will never be canonized as a saint, but he did demonstrate that one does not have to tear an opponent down after a victory to make himself look better. Ali was usually very complimentary after the fight about his defeated opponent. May I suggest that lawyers hold their tongues and think twice before criticizing a fellow member of the bar? Motions to compel and motions for sanctions should be filed only as the last resort. Rather than write the nasty letter or e-mail, will you consider picking up the phone and engaging in civil conversation? On a similar note, as an organization I sincerely hope we will continue to refrain from supporting any legislation that is “anti lawyer” or “anti jury.” Our system of justice has been in effect for well over 200 years, and it has worked well. The right to settle disputes by jury should be available to all and should remain an integral part of our freedom.

A second goal for 2011 is to continue the growth and development of all of our sections. This is especially true with regard to the paralegal section. Paralegals have the potential to make law firms more cost efficient. Too often they are an afterthought in the defense practice. It is essential that they be allowed to continue their development in our organization.

A third goal is to be more responsive to the needs of our sponsors. Vendor booths at seminars should be in areas that are easily accessible to attendees. At the 2011 annual meeting, I recommend that we consider giving a few engineering experts and vocational experts an opportunity to make some short mutually beneficial presentations so that lawyers truly understand how such services can benefit their clients. Sponsors help keep membership fees down and play a crucial role in the continuing education process. Recognition of our sponsors remains an integral task of our organization.

A fourth goal is for 2011 is to continue to provide members value in their membership. The website, although much improved, has the potential to do more. The Indiana Civil Litigation Review, which is available on the DTCI website, should be made searchable so that its articles may be located and cited more easily. Similarly, accessible brief banks could provide value to our members. As one plaintiffs’ attorney said after attending last year’s annual meeting, which discussed Stanley v. Walker, “your seminar content was great and the presenters even better.” Let’s hope in 2011, all members and nonmembers attend, enjoy, and benefit from DTCI’s fantastic seminars.

Advice from the bench

In closing, let me tell you what an honor it was to attend Justice Steven David’s robing ceremony. Justice David provided words of inspiration appropriate for the entire bar: “I believe in humility, respect, fairness, and the rule of law.” He concluded with 12 words of advice that are applicable for us all: “Work hard, do good, be proud, have fun, and do what’s right.”

With these words as our guide, 2011 shall be a great year for DTCI.
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I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the many DTCI volunteers who did so much for the association in 2010. Our space is very limited, so a mere listing must suffice.

First and foremost, I want to thank my immediate predecessor in the presidency, Mary Reeder, for her excellent leadership and devotion to our organization. While she received a handsome plaque, such tokens of appreciation will never be enough to thank Mary for her guidance.

Indiana Lawyer authors: Bryce Bennett, Michele Bryant, James Boyers, B.J. Brinkerhoff, Jeffrey Crabill, Sonia Das, Vanessa Davis, Audra Ferguson-Allen, Keith Hays, James Hehner, Takeia Johnson, Belinda Johnson-Hurtado, Matthew King, Heidi Koeneman, Jason Massaro, Libby Valos Moss, Edward Murphy, David Temple, Matthew Trainor, John Twohy, Kevin Tyra, Amy Wilson, Lewis Wooton.

Indiana Civil Litigation Review authors: Geoffrey Blazi, Patricia Erdmann, Matthew Bruno, Christopher Cross, Melanie Margolin, Lucy Dollens, Valerie Hughs, Thomas Jarzyniecki, Belinda Johnson-Hurtado, Joseph Langerak, Nicholas Levi, Ted Nolting, Scott Preston, Kevin Rasp, Casey Stafford.

Annual Meeting speakers: Michele Bryant, Michele Calderon-Johns, Vanessa Davis, Donna Fisher, Keith Hays, Tom Hays, Blaire Henley, Jerry Huelat, Barb Jones, Trent Klingerman, Chris Lee, David Mallon, Anthony Overholt, William Padgett, Robert Parker, Ginny Peterson, Casey Stafford, Jim Strenski, Kevin Tyra, Christopher Wahl.
__________

Scott Kyrouac is a partner at the Terre Haute firm of Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson, practicing in the areas of insurance defense, medical malpractice defense, product liability, trucking and transportation law, personal injury, environmental law, employment law, and municipal law. He currently serves as president of DTCI.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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