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Hebenstreit: Game on

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hebenstreit Michael J. Hebenstreit Whitham Hebenstreit & Zubek LLP IBA President

It has been two years in training, watching first Jim, and then Chris, taking notes, learning, and getting prepared. Now the training is over, I am ready to start, and it is “game on.” It is going to be a busy and productive 2011.

Have you ever stopped to think about why you are a member of the IBA? What is it that makes us worthy of your interest and money? I certainly hope it is the collective good that our Association accomplishes, not only for you individually, but for the profession as a whole. I hope it is because you feel that you receive good value for your dues, both personally and professionally.

Since a year is a relatively short period of time, we generally do not adopt pet projects for the year. Rather, we continue to implement what has already been started and anticipate what your Association should be doing now and in the future. That is not going to change this year; however, I do hope the general themes for this year will be based on Service and Collegiality.

In addition to the many seminars, programs, and initiatives in which the Association is involved, there are a few new items that I anticipate will be coming up this year to serve you, our members. One is a new web based service for connecting our members with potential clients. It differs from the Lawyer Referral Service in that it would allow a potential client to preview information about attorneys on line rather than just getting the name of a possible referral over the telephone. With our new website, this type of project is now possible, as are a number of others. For those of you who understand social media better than I, we are also now on Facebook and Twitter to better say in touch with each of you—if, unlike me, you know how to access this new media. Maybe I will make that a New Years resolution for 2011!

Another issue facing the Association is the number of attorneys who have moved outside the Mile Square. We have a significant number of members around I-465 and beyond. It is important not to lose touch with those members of the bar, and we are developing the technology that will allow us to better serve the needs of outlying lawyers. That type of service is critical. If you happen to be one of those suburban lawyers, please let us know what we can do to better serve you.

We are also investigating ideas to assist the law students since they are the future members of the IBA. I recently read a New York Times article that was very troubling. It reported on the large number of law students emerging from law school with mountains of debt and few, if any, jobs available. Pretty distressing, but the apparent focus of the article accused the nations’ law schools of fraud—with the abundance of cheap student loans the price of tuition at these schools has risen tremendously and the law schools are continuing to entice young people to attend—presumably knowing that there is little hope of meaningful legal employment. I hope the day never comes when law schools have to add a warning label on their admissions packets warning the applicant that attending law school is not a guarantee of great jobs and quick riches. We hope to work with the law school in developing some mentoring and or apprentice programs to better assist the law student cross the bridge between law school and practice of law. Although reasonable minds may differ about how many new lawyers we need, it serves our profession as a whole to have better trained and better prepared colleagues.

So much for Service, but what about Collegiality. The dictionary defines collegiality as the relationship of colleagues. Isn’t that a huge part of what we do? Lawyers are bright, interesting and engaging individuals. Getting to know lawyers on a more personal level makes working opposite an attorney more pleasant----and frequently more productive. Being personally acquainted with other lawyers is not only good for business, but makes the practice more rewarding on a daily basis. The IBA can help with that.

If you are short on time (and who isn’t) I hope that you will at least read the weekly E bulletins and occasionally jump on the website. At a minimum, keep your eye out for the monthly Meeting of Members. They are an easy way to stay in touch with, or meet, other attorneys. Our next monthly meeting is February 17th when Jim Voyles will receive the Buchanan Award. It is a fun event and Jim is certainly deserving of this most prestigious award. In addition to registering yourself, why not bring a friend. Introduce that person to some of your friends and to the concept of Collegiality. I think you will find that it is contagious.

You are being served by a fantastic group of energetic and talented colleagues who have agreed to be Board members as well as Section and Committee leaders. I very much appreciate the trust that you have place in me this year, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to serve you and lead this terrific organization. It is both a privilege and a responsibility. It is going to be a great ride in 2011. Jump on board and don’t get left behind.•

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  1. 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)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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