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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. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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