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Fund will build on Shepard's legacy of promoting diversity

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Former Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard’s commitment to diversity will continue thanks to a permanent fund that aims to expand on his pioneering efforts to make the legal profession more reflective of society at large.

Several hundred friends, colleagues and dignitaries gathered May 10 for a gala in Shepard’s honor that had the dual purpose of establishing a namesake fund through the Indiana Bar Foundation.

Randall ShepardShepard

Organizers of the Randall T. Shepard Fund for Diversity in the Legal Profession hope to raise $150,000 in a drive that kicked off with the celebration of the former chief justice’s tenure on the Indiana Supreme Court.

“The fund came about after a lot of thinking about what would be a fitting tribute to Chief Justice Shepard’s body of work on one hand, and also something that would be aligned with one or more of his many interests and spheres of influence over his career,” said Myra Selby, the first African-American and first female justice on the Indiana Supreme Court.

Selby, now a partner with Ice Miller, and Indiana State Bar Association past-president Rod Morgan were instrumental in creating the fund and are co-chairs of the fundraising effort. Morgan, a partner with Bingham Greenebaum Doll, said Shepard’s commitment to diversity was unusual for a chief justice.

Morgan pointed out Shepard’s involvement in urging the creation and oversight of the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity program, which each year supports a class of about 30 incoming law students who demonstrate need. Out of about 400 ICLEO fellows since the program’s inception, about 75 percent have completed law school.

“He didn’t have to do that, but I think that shows his commitment to making our legal system better in the state of Indiana,” Morgan said.

Shepard said he was humbled by the honors, but wished not to look at the event as a retirement dinner.

“To gather with a purpose beyond tribute – that of building our profession’s long-term commitment to equal opportunity – likewise states a powerful message about Indiana lawyers,” he said.

“Indiana’s legal profession needn’t stare down at its shoes and shuffle when people talk about lawyers. Indiana lawyers have earned the right to look our fellow citizens straight on and say, ‘We have done what it lies within us to do,’” Shepard said at the gala.

trimble_joh-mug.jpgTrimble

John Trimble, partner with Lewis Wagner, said those who turned out to honor Shepard represented “a who’s who audience” of the legal community.

“It underscored what he had done for the reputation of the state of Indiana and the judiciary of the state of Indiana,” Trimble said. “When you talk about diversity and the chief justice, it’s also about advancement of women in our profession.”

Different times

It was 1997 when the ICLEO program, long recommended by Shepard, was signed into law by then-Gov. Frank O’Bannon.

“The legal profession, like many other walks of life, was a place where, maybe perhaps two generations ago, it was very difficult for African-Americans and Latinos to gain access,” Shepard said. “A long objective has been to create a profession that is open to people of all races and ethnic backgrounds to effect the sort of transformation that has likewise occurred with men and women.”

Morgan remembers those different times not so long ago, too.

“I grew up here in Indianapolis, and I left after high school to go to college in 1966,” Morgan said. “And the town I left in 1966 was not the town I returned to in 1991. We weren’t diverse ... especially in our profession.”

Selby, who served with Shepard on the Supreme Court from 1995 to 1999 agreed that his efforts to improve diversity in the legal system merit recognition.

“Chief Justice Shepard was a great and wonderful colleague in every way. He was an ideal chief in that he valued the role of chief as well as the importance of how the chief interacts with the other justices to make the court work well,” Selby said. “He just made going to work each day and doing the important work we did so much more pleasurable.”

selbySelby

Selby serves as chair of the Indiana Supreme Court Commission on Race and Gender Fairness. As well as supporting ICLEO, the fund in Shepard’s name will promote the goals of the commission and diversity efforts of local and state bar associations.

“There has been a great deal of improvement across the board, from who we see standing up to say ‘I want to go to law school,’ to who is entering the profession, all the way to the leadership within the profession,” Selby said. “However, I would say we really still have a long way to go and much work before us.”

The fund in Shepard’s name will enhance those continuing efforts to improve diversity in the legal profession, said Chuck Dunlap, executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation.

Making a difference

Rudolph “Rudy” Pyle III is among the hundreds of aspiring attorneys who have been assisted by the ICLEO program.

“We really owe a debt of gratitude to Chief Justice Shepard,” said Pyle, who shared his perspective as a former ICLEO Fellow.

“The most meaningful thing the program did for me was just to put me in touch with a number of people who mentored me,” Pyle said.

ICLEO fellows attend a summer institute that Shepard calls a “boot camp” for incoming law students at one of the state’s four law schools. Fellows are provided mentoring and networking opportunities and residency programs.

For Pyle, that included an internship at the Indiana Court of Appeals that led to a full-time job there. It also helped him in his hometown of Anderson, where he became a deputy prosecutor and in October 2009 was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels as the first African-American judge in Madison County.

“It started out with the Indiana CLEO program,” Pyle said.

Shepard said the results of ICLEO speak for themselves.

“There are a number of things that CLEO tries to do to help students succeed, and they do,” he said. “Over the period since CLEO started (in 1997), we have been able to double the number of minority lawyers in Indiana.”

Trimble said his firm has provided clerk opportunities for ICLEO fellows since the program began.

“The lawyers who have gone through that are the rising stars of the legal profession and they are spread out throughout the state of Indiana,” he said.

Trimble said Shepard deserves credit for his vision. “What he hoped would happen was to educate diverse lawyers and persuade then to stay in Indiana, and that has happened.”•

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  1. Applause, applause, applause ..... but, is this duty to serve the constitutional order not much more incumbent upon the State, whose only aim is to be pure and unadulterated justice, than defense counsel, who is also charged with gaining a result for a client? I agree both are responsible, but it seems to me that the government attorneys bear a burden much heavier than defense counsel .... "“I note, much as we did in Mechling v. State, 16 N.E.3d 1015 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), trans. denied, that the attorneys representing the State and the defendant are both officers of the court and have a responsibility to correct any obvious errors at the time they are committed."

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  4. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  5. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

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