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Hebenstreit: One Lunch Hour You Shouldn't Skip

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IBA-hebenstreitHow long has it been since you were a law student? For some of us, it has been quite a few years (or decades, truthfully!), but some memories are still vivid. Do you have those “frustration dreams” where you are entering the lecture hall only to find that it is the final exam and you have not even bought the book? Do you remember the uncertainty and angst of trying to narrow down what type of law you were interested in practicing…and with whom? And trying to answer the questions of your parents and friends about when you are going to land a job?

I, for one, am very happy that those days are behind me. Law school was actually a fun time for me, but that uncertainty and apprehension are still embedded in my memory. Some things never change. The students today have all of those emotions, but also have a very competitive market place. In a legal world of increased specialization, the pressure has increased for them to know what type of law they want to practice, even before they have tried any areas. Many are getting close to the end, with no clear game plan. Others are just starting and want a little direction.

On March 24th, the IndyBar hosts its annual “Take a Law Student to Lunch” from noon to 1 PM at the Conrad Hotel. This lunch is the perfect opportunity to be a mentor for a law student. As a law student in the mid 1970’s, I responded to a notice about a similar event sponsored by the IBA. As a result of the IBA pairing, a lawyer named Tom Cobb called me and invited me to his office so he could share his thoughts about his practice, what it was like to practice Bankruptcy law, and what it was like practicing law in Indianapolis. I had no real idea what Bankruptcy even was, but over 35 years later, I still remember Tom and the fact that that he took an hour of his time to be randomly paired with me and share his experiences with me. You also can make that impact.

Don’t talk yourself out of coming just because you are not the hiring or managing partner or do not have a job to offer the student. While I am sure most would love to land a great job, the students are interested in the program because they want to learn more about lawyers and the profession they are planning to enter. Networking is very important to them.

Every year, the IndyBar receives requests from far more students who are interested in attending than lawyers who agree to host a student. This is quite unfortunate. They want to know what members of the “big” Bar do on a daily basis. We have all been in their shoes. But don’t procrastinate. The IndyBar staff needs to know how many lawyers are willing to be paired with a student. The sooner we know the numbers, the sooner we can confirm for each student that they will, in fact, be able to attend. It only costs a total of $60 which includes your lunch and the lunch of your student. If you are really feeling flush, you may host more that one student.

Once the pairings are made, the student is instructed to contact you. Although it is not a requirement, you may want to consider having the student meet you at your office a few minutes before the lunch. Although our offices are not particularly exciting, many of the students probably have never been in a law office before. Besides, it allows you the opportunity to get to know your student a little better and avoid trying to find your student at the Conrad.

If you are not already convinced to jump on the website and sign up, there is an added bonus. Starting with the March meeting, we are introducing a new feature for our monthly meetings. We will have a tech savvy member of the IndyBar present at least one helpful hint how to better use tech and/or social media to improve your efficiency and your practice.

Let’s consider it a challenge to have at least one lawyer for each student this year. They very much appreciate the contact with our members – and remember, they will be our colleagues and fellow members soon.•

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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