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Hickey: Food For Thought

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IBA-Hickey-ChristineSeveral weeks ago, I attended a press conference called by Attorney General Greg Zoeller. The news to be released: that attorneys are once again doing good. In fact, attorneys across the state banded together to contribute fifty tons of food for regional food banks. Indianapolis boasted the top firms with the largest contributions in each of three categories: large firms, small firms, and law offices of public or nonprofit lawyers. Not surprisingly, the attorney leading the charge for the large firm winner is a graduate of the IBA Bar Leader Series.

Fast forward to one week later: I attended the graduation of the IBA Bar Leader Series VI. Attorneys selected for the Bar Leader program are expected to develop and execute a community service team project, details of which are shared during the final day culminating in graduation from the program. Enter 25 lawyers, add the Bar Leader Series, and a grant from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation, and it’s pretty powerful. As I sat during presentations made by the groups of five, I was awestruck by the generosity of time and talent that these attorneys contributed to our community. It was during the presentation of these projects that I realized how important it was to share them with our members. These are their stories.

Abandoned Housing. For the homeowner, tackling a problem involving abandoned housing isn’t easy. In fact, when five lawyers got together to decide how best to help in this area, they discovered that first-hand. They set about to gather resources, find answers, and to create a resource guide to empower communities to use tools available to them to help combat the problem. The resource guide is a comprehensive tool for the public that provides in one place answers to problems presented by abandoned housing.

B.L.I.N.G. A second group chose to focus on mentoring young students by teaming up with B.L.I.N.G: Business Leadership in the Next Generation In doing so, the attorneys put together an orientation kick off program aimed at encouraging greater parent and student participation. In addition, two students in this summer program will be sponsored by this group of Bar Leaders.

Peace Coaches Program. These five lawyers underwent training through the Peace Learning Center and then took what they learned back to the Shortridge Magnet School in a firstof-its-kind Peace Coaches Program. Through the program, the attorneys taught children about managing emotions, listening skills, what makes an acceptable apology, and a host of other topics aimed at peaceful conflict resolution.

FUTSOUL. Concerned about combating gang-related activities in a suburb of Indianapolis, this group channeled their energies into creating something lasting for a multicultural community starving for a positive outlet for children. From securing a site to creating a logo, a youth sporting league was created. The attorneys not only organized, structured, and planned a long-term vision for the FUTSOUL league, but they learned this soccer-like sport themselves and even coach on the weekends!

Tumble for Troops. The final program created during this Bar Leader Series focused on the temporarily-fractured military family. Understanding that spouses and children grappling with a missing spouse or parent can feel isolated, this group hosted an event in April to bring these families together for a stress-free evening of fun and support. The event also served to announce the creation of a website to connect these military families to loved ones on active duty and to each other.

As diverse as they were creative, the projects selected by the attorneys were not in areas where their skill and training prepared them for practice. The projects chosen were as powerful as the message they delivered: that even in unfamiliar territory, attorneys are leaders who have the ability to make a difference when they set their mind to it. Whether through an organized forum or on your own, from helping to combat depletion of food for the needy to creating a positive outlet for impressionable youth, these types of community projects impact not only a community, but also the attorneys who participate in them. Now that is food for thought.

The IBA Bar Leader Series helps prepare attorneys to assume leadership roles in their profession and the community. The application process for the next series is now open and I encourage lawyers in their third through tenth year of practice to submit an application (available at www.indybar.org) by the deadline of June 21, 2010.•

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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