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Hebenstreit: Bench Bar - Let's Get Acquainted

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IBA-hebenstreitHave you ever been asked by a friend or acquaintance to conduct their marriage ceremony? All you have to do is ask a Judge to appoint you pro tem for the day to accommodate that request, but do you know a Judge well enough to ask? How about being able to ask a Judge to speak at a Girl Scout meeting or a school program? Would you know who to call?

As lawyers, we are frequently involved in activities where it is helpful to know a Judge on a more personal basis. Kelly Eskew found herself in that situation recently. Her employer was hosting a young German law student participating in an unpaid internship. Kelly took it upon herself to try to enhance this young lady’s experience. Through her involvement in the IndyBar, Kelly had become acquainted with a local Judge and felt comfortable reaching out to that Judge. Her request was simple. Did the Judge have any trials going on that week that the student could observe. As it turned out, the young lady saw some civil procedural hearings and then spent about a half day in Criminal Court observing a trial that could easily have been a Criminal Minds episode. That case involved a defendant who had confessed to breaking into a female‘s home, killing the lady and then having sex with the corpse. It was a pretty bad fact situation, but it was a fascinating learning experience for the foreign student. All because Kelly was familiar enough with a Judge to help make it happen.

Hopefully, you have seen the promotional material about the Bench Bar conference coming up June 16 to 18 in French Lick. What started about 20 years ago as a noble experiment has morphed into a first class educational event. The education includes not only fantastic CLE offerings, but also a chance for members of the Bench and Bar to get acquainted with each other on a personal basis.

As a younger lawyer, I was somewhat intimidated by Judges—concerned that I would not have anything in common with them or would not know what to talk about. The older I get, the more obvious it is that most humans (including lawyers and Judges) are reserved and frequently ill at ease meeting new people. Attending the Bench Bar is a perfect way to interact with others and get acquainted. I may be preaching to the choir because many of you are regulars each year. If so, please register today and ask your friends to attend. But, if you are a first timer, put your apprehension aside and book your room. You won’t regret it. There is a special reception on Friday evening where first timers are paired with a Bench Bar veteran. It helps break the ice.

What if you think you can’t afford the time away from the office? That may be true if you have more work than you can do, but most of us have to think about marketing. It may seem illogical to go to a conference with a group of attorneys and call it marketing, but my best cases have been referred by another attorney. But you have to know those attorneys before they will refer a case to you (or you to them).

This year Judge Sheila Carlisle’s committee has put together a unique and informative array of CLE events. In addition to being educated by experts in their respective fields, you will have the chance to learn from members of the Indiana Supreme Court including Chief Justice Shepard, and Justices Dickson and David, Greg Zoeller, the Indiana Attorney General, our Marion County Prosecutor, Terry Curry, and the Chief Public Defender, Bob Hill. All we need is you.

We as lawyers are probably frequently guilty of procrastination. Break that habit at least once. Registration is cheaper if completed by May 1. Save yourself some money by signing up now. And by all means reserve your room early. The conference is likely to be a sell out and that also includes the special price the IndyBar has arranged for hotel rooms. Confirm your room so you are guaranteed to be able to stay at the venue. Whether you gamble or not, French Lick is a beautiful facility—particularly at our reduced rate. Don’t delay.

You may never need to be appointed pro tem to marry your best friend, but your time attending this year’s Bench Bar will be not only fun, but a good investment.•

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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