ILNews

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

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. "Am I bugging you? I don't mean to bug ya." If what I wrote below is too much social philosophy for Indiana attorneys, just take ten this vacay to watch The Lego Movie with kiddies and sing along where appropriate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etzMjoH0rJw

  2. I've got some free speech to share here about who is at work via the cat's paw of the ACLU stamping out Christian observances.... 2 Thessalonians chap 2: "And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last."

  3. Did someone not tell people who have access to the Chevy Volts that it has a gas engine and will run just like a normal car? The batteries give the Volt approximately a 40 mile range, but after that the gas engine will propel the vehicle either directly through the transmission like any other car, or gas engine recharges the batteries depending on the conditions.

  4. Catholic, Lutheran, even the Baptists nuzzling the wolf! http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-documents-reveal-obama-hhs-paid-baptist-children-family-services-182129786-four-months-housing-illegal-alien-children/ YET where is the Progressivist outcry? Silent. I wonder why?

  5. Thank you, Honorable Ladies, and thank you, TIL, for this interesting interview. The most interesting question was the last one, which drew the least response. Could it be that NFP stamps are a threat to the very foundation of our common law American legal tradition, a throwback to the continental system that facilitated differing standards of justice? A throwback to Star Chamber’s protection of the landed gentry? If TIL ever again interviews this same panel, I would recommend inviting one known for voicing socio-legal dissent for the masses, maybe Welch, maybe Ogden, maybe our own John Smith? As demographics shift and our social cohesion precipitously drops, a consistent judicial core will become more and more important so that Justice and Equal Protection and Due Process are yet guiding stars. If those stars fall from our collective social horizon (and can they be seen even now through the haze of NFP opinions?) then what glue other than more NFP decisions and TRO’s and executive orders -- all backed by more and more lethally armed praetorians – will prop up our government institutions? And if and when we do arrive at such an end … will any then dare call that tyranny? Or will the cost of such dissent be too high to justify?

ADVERTISEMENT