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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 work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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