What of Indiana\'s reputation?

July 15, 2008
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It seems Indiana’s legal community has a good reputation out there. Studies appear to come out regularly assessing some aspect of Indiana’s legal system: Our litigation climate, ethics of the judiciary and legal community, and so on. But off-the-cuff, what are the regular, everyday thoughts circulating out there? A recent conversation IL had with Chief Justice Margaret Marshall of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court shows they think highly of our high court. She keeps in touch with our own top jurist, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard, and her court often looks to Indiana for guidance and insight on various issues. Others have made similar remarks when talking about the civility displayed by our bench and bar. But even Indiana’s legal community has its moments. An Indiana Court of Appeals not-for-publication opinion Monday caught our eye. The original dissolution case filed in April 2006 was dismissed in August 2007 because the couple reconciled … but the case bearing the couple’s names continued because of their attorneys! The court wrote in a footnote the attorneys argued whether they and their respective law firms were the proper parties in the appeal, but the court noted the “only real parties in interest” were the attorneys. One attorney questioned imposed sanctions, one of which was reversed; the other requested attorney fees from opposing counsel, which were not granted. The court noted one attorney’s “obdurate behavior,” while there were accusations of unethical conduct regarding the other attorney. Fortunately, such cases don’t make national headlines, but such behavior certainly can’t help any legal community’s reputation. What do you hear about Indiana from those outside the state – whether it’s from clients or colleagues from afar?
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