Conference a success

June 8, 2009
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From IL reporter Rebecca Berfanger:

The eighth Indiana State Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Conference at Belterra Resort went off without a hitch June 4-6.

About 300 attorneys who are solo and small-firm practitioners, frequently work with them, or are just starting their solo endeavors attended their choice of more than 30 hours of CLE. But other than learning about legal issues, organizers said, participating attorneys had a networking opportunity that few other events can claim to offer, especially for solo and small firm attorneys.

“More important than the CLE, this is our reunion,” said Stephen M. Terrell, of Terrell Law Office in Indianapolis, who started the event almost a decade ago with James Springer, a solo in Fort Wayne, and others who saw a need.

It was obvious that attorneys who drove to the scenic southeastern Indiana casino, hotel, and golf course were interested in exchanging cards if they were meeting for the first time, and war stories if they were meeting as old friends, as many attendees were.

With too many CLEs for one person to attend, highlights included a breakfast that featured an ethics lesson from former Marion Superior Judge Gary Miller, who recently started the law firm MillerMeyer in Indianapolis. Miller used examples of attorneys from TV (“The Flintstones,” “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice,” and “I Love Lucy”) and movies (“Adam’s Rib,” “Inherit the Wind,” “A Civil Action,” and “A Few Good Men”) while explaining what the attorneys did right or, more often, wrong, according to the rules of professional conduct.

ISBA President Bill Jonas, a solo practitioner based in South Bend, also highlighted what Indiana lawyers should be proud of, including involvement with civic education programs like the Indiana Bar Foundation’s support of “We the People” and “Project Citizen,” and mock trials at the high school level. He also emphasized that lawyers should continue to work with their communities to improve the overall public image of the legal profession.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller also made an appearance at the opening reception June 4 and again at the June 5 breakfast session, where he talked about how his office has been working more with the ISBA, and how ISBA members helped his March for Hunger campaign by donating non-perishable food.

At a diversity reception and dinner, featured guest speaker Vanita Banks, an Indiana native now working in Northbrook, Ill., highlighted the 2008 election of President Barack Obama as an example of the importance of a change in attitudes toward diversity.

Overall, attendees seemed to enjoy themselves in a much more relaxed atmosphere than a court appearance or mediation where they would usually meet.

Did you attend? If so, let us know your thoughts on this or other conferences for Indiana attorneys.
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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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