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DTCI to promote civility, opposing 'anti-lawyer' sentiments

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Terre Haute attorney Scott M. Kyrouac wants to advance civility between plaintiffs and defense lawyers, and plans to advocate against “anti-lawyer legislation” that may be lodged against the legal community.

These are two of the main goals that the 25-year attorney embraces as the new president of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana. He will be the 44th person to hold that position when his term begins at the start of 2011.
 

kyrouac Kyrouac

“We’re ambassadors for the legal profession and need to do what we can to advance civility among all attorneys we practice with,” said Kyrouac, who takes the reigns of an organization that boasts about 700 members and is considered to be one of the strongest of its kind in the country. “Too often, it seems there’s a tendency among attorneys to tear another attorney down in order make themselves look better.”

A 1985 graduate of what’s now Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Kyrouac practices at law firm Wilkinson Goeller Modesitt Wilkinson & Drummy and focuses on personal injury, medical malpractice, products liability, and various other types of defense litigation.

Indianapolis attorney Tom Schultz, a past president of the DTCI who serves as the organization’s state representative, says that Kyrouac’s leadership as a trial attorney and devotion to the practice overall make him a good fit for the presidency this next year. His experience looking at other similar defense organizations from other states shows him that Indiana has one of the strongest in the country because of its legislative lobby, an active amicus committee, and so many in-depth committees serving members.

In turn, all of those areas are priorities that Kyrouac has his sights on during his presidency.

Working with attorneys from outside Indiana during the past year, Kyrouac says he’s witnessed firsthand how civil Hoosier attorneys are compared to others from outside the state. But that doesn’t mean the practicing attorneys here are immune from hostile sentiments.

“Even though we may be mostly civil, we have to be careful” that lawyers here don’t end up behaving in uncivil ways, he said. “That is contrary to the goals our chief justice has set forth for the Indiana bar, and I think we need to promote those ideals more aggressively.”

Kyrouac is interested in advocating for legislation that promotes general civility in the legal community as well as against what he calls “anti-lawyer legislation” targeting specific segments of the practicing bar and their clientele.

For example, he refers to legislation proposed in 2010 that would have raised the penalty for failing to accept qualified settlement offers from $1,000 to $5,000 that, in essence, he sees as keeping more litigants out of court. He’s also concerned about any legal services tax that might be used in this coming budget-setting session to try and raise additional revenue and would push the DTCI to oppose that.

“I’m a strong believer in the jury system and am opposed to any anti jury trial or anti-lawyer legislation that truly takes away from our system and eliminates people’s ability to find a lawyer or get their cases heard in court,” he said. “That’s contrary to the principles of our Constitution and we all need to be on guard against it. You’ll find that my trial lawyer experience is what sets me apart from a typical DTCI mouthpiece.”

Aside from those two main priorities, Kyrouac hopes to also improve and further develop the DTCI’s website so that it’s more interactive and user-friendly for members and the public. He’s interested in seeing the organization’s Indiana Civil Litigation Review more accessible to members online as well as possible brief banks that could provide value to members to review or cite in their own cases.

He wants to continue developing each of the association’s sections, especially the paralegal section that he views as too often being an afterthought in the defense practice despite paralegals possessing the ability to make law firms more cost efficient.

All of that means continuing what his predecessors such as Indianapolis attorney Mary Reeder have done to pave the way for his presidency, Kyrouac said. He’s also looking forward to the 45-year anniversary next year that will be marked by the annual seminar in French Lick in mid-November. For 2011, the new president hopes more vendor relationships can be established to help keep down member costs, and he would like to see a strengthening of the organization’s educational efforts.

Getting these goals accomplished means being mindful of DTCI’s biggest challenge currently and in the year to come: the economy and financial concerns.

“Lawyers have been hit hard by the recession and are suffering as much as other people in Indiana. We find we have to watch our budgets and efficiently spend our membership dollars,” Kyrouac said, noting that he plans to continue focusing on efforts such as the organization’s amicus brief writing and advocacy efforts on appellate court issues.

“I’m grateful for what’s been done and I want to continue getting involved in cases and being a resource for our members the best we can.”

Joining him in leadership roles, Reeder takes on the past-president title while Lonnie D. Johnson of Bloomington is president-elect, Jerry E. Huelat of Michigan City is vice president, James D. Johnson of Evansville is secretary, and Thomas C. Hays of Indianapolis is treasurer.•

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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