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. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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