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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.