Hickey: Common Goal

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IBA-Hickey-Christine“Common,” as in shared by two or more people or as in done often or not rare. Common can also mean belonging to or affecting the whole of a community as in common land. These definitions capture the spirit of the members of our Bar; I witnessed this first-hand recently through an initiative called Common Goal.

Several months ago, the IBA was approached by the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce to host two “at-risk” high school interns who expressed an interest in the law. Appreciating the importance of this program, the Executive Director of the Bar, Julie Armstrong, and I agreed to shepherd these two young girls through a law-related experience that would be fitting for our Association.

Time being the scarcest commodity for our profession, I have always maintained that lawyers are as giving as they are busy. Despite clogged calendars, trial schedules, and a multitude of other commitments, they always manage to squeeze in volunteer time; this internship was no exception. I envisioned a schedule for my student, Cheyenne, that would expose her to different areas of the law through various bar leaders. When I picked up the phone to call on IBA members to spend an afternoon or a day with a high school student, the answer from all was the same and without hesitation: yes.

From criminal law, family practice, bar review and law school lectures, civil matters, and a “view from the bench,” the internship provided an 80-hour behind-the-scenes, real-life look at the legal profession. Whether a lunch and encouraging dialogue, or a full-day of shadowing, our attorneys and judges did the Bar proud and I extend my appreciation to Kelly Scanlan, Erin Durnell, Jimmie McMillian, the Honorable Heather Welch, Marie Castetter, the Honorable Robyn Moberly, and Nissa Ricafort.

In a recent newspaper article, Cheyenne credited her internship experience as energizing her longtime goal of becoming a lawyer. As a 15-year-old mother with much on her plate, Cheyenne chose to spend her summer days learning about the law. Despite having to rely on others for transportation, she showed up on time, well mannered and eager to see what the day would hold for her. As much as she learned from her experience with the Bar, she likewise left something behind for me: a renewed sense of pride in a profession that encourages “yes” even with a jam-packed schedule, and a reminder of the importance of mentoring.

Whether to a high school student, a law student or a young lawyer who is new to the courtroom, taking that extra step to involve, engage, and lead is part and parcel of what we do as lawyers and judges. The importance of this was crystallized recently at a board meeting where a member lamented the death of a lawyer who helped to shape his early law career. He remarked that three lawyers spoke at the service, all of whom credited the attorney with being their mentor. He commented that he hoped we have not lost that in this day and age. I can assure you that we have not and this internship experience assures me of that.

As an IBA member, I encourage you to take someone under your wing and show them the ropes, answer a question, have lunch with a young lawyer, attend the IBA Law Student Division Summer Connection on July 29th and the Mentors Who Matter lunch in September. Continue to mentor and continue daily to be an inspiration to others. Although common can also mean “without special qualities or ordinary,” this is one definition that does not apply to the members of our Bar.•

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.