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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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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