Editor's Perspective: Indiana Lawyer honors outstanding Hoosier attorneys

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nelson-jennifer-editorHave you ever met someone and been so impressed by their work, community service and family life, you wonder, “How do they do they have time do to all that?” (And, also, “When do they sleep?”) If not, let me introduce you to 30 people who will undoubtedly impress you — this year’s Leadership in Law Award winners.

Since 2006, Indiana Lawyer has recognized our state’s top-notch attorneys and we continue to be impressed by the caliber of attorneys in Indiana.

We reached out to past honorees and stakeholders in the legal community and asked for nominations, and you delivered. This year, we received the highest number of nominations in the 12-year history of the Leadership in Law Awards, and there were many quality candidates. It was not an easy process to narrow it down to just 30, but we believe you too will be impressed by this year’s honorees. They come from large and midsized firms, legal aid, in-house roles and government service.

These 15 Distinguished Barristers and 15 Up and Coming Lawyers demonstrate leadership, collegiality, intelligence, hard work and humor (and great time-management skills). They set out to make a positive impact at their firms or companies and in the community, and they have succeeded.

For the last several years, we’ve asked our honorees to answer questions to feature in our Leadership in Law supplement (inside this issue) so that readers can learn a little more about the honorees’ thoughts on the profession and their lives outside of the office. There’s been talk in the legal profession for years about diversity, so we asked what can be done to make the profession more diverse. Many agreed that mentoring is key, as well as reaching young adults as early as high school to let them know that law can be a fulfilling career. It’s also imperative for attorneys to have many opportunities to be leaders.

And almost all agreed that while technology is wonderful in letting them respond to clients and handle matters anywhere, at any time — allowing for more time with family or a bit of that coveted work-life balance — it also makes it difficult to ever truly unplug and be off the clock.

The Up and Coming Lawyers pass along great advice they’ve received in their careers — “Be fearless.” “Don’t get too comfortable.” “Know the local (court) rules.”

I always enjoy reading what advice the Distinguished Barristers would give to their younger selves. This year’s class wish they would have had more self-confidence, stayed in contact with more people throughout their career, and bought Apple stock in 1978.

I encourage you to read more about this year’s honorees in the Leadership in Law supplement. I also invite you to join us in honoring them at the Leadership in Law Awards reception May 9 in Indianapolis. More details are available on our website,•


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  1. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  2. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

  3. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

  4. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

  5. Unlike the federal judge who refused to protect me, the Virginia State Bar gave me a hearing. After the hearing, the Virginia State Bar refused to discipline me. VSB said that attacking me with the court ADA coordinator had, " all the grace and charm of a drive-by shooting." One does wonder why the VSB was able to have a hearing and come to that conclusion, but the federal judge in Indiana slammed the door of the courthouse in my face.