Hickey: Napoleon Who?

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IBA-Hickey-ChristineFrom what started as a 30-member group in 1878 to what is now a growing association with nearly 5,000 members, the IBA has come a long way since well before we became members. With the original intention of providing a law library and a central gathering place for the local legal community, the Bar has grown into an association involved in everything from legal education, local legislation, judicial excellence, pro bono service, and so much more. Despite enormous growth and change, the Bar’s core has remained the same: service to its members and the community, and the unfaltering excellence of those that we are lucky to call our fellow lawyers and judges.

Through the years, the IBA has seen members move on, move up, and move out. We have said hello to new faces and good bye to dear friends. Like the change in the seasons, our most senior lawyers have moved over to make way for young attorneys fresh out of school. Our members have become as diverse in person as in practice, and we have room for more. Still, as we prepare today for the future for our association and profession, we nevertheless love to hear the stories of “back in the day”, when the courtroom community was small, laughter had a part in our daily practice, and a handshake sealed the deal over lunch.

Do you know the history of our Bar or those members that have preceded you? Did you know that the Indiana Historical Society maintains the IBA records from 1878 to 1987, consisting of 4.25 linear feet of Bar history? (I am not sure if that includes the four manuscript boxes and the one oversized folder in addition to the 29 bound volumes.) There is an impressive box and folder inventory that includes everything from meetings of minutes to the guest book for the Centennial Celebration held on November 30, 1978. If you are interested in something a little more recent, however, chances are that you’ll look for it on the web. Sadly enough, you’ll not find a lot. The IBA and its members have long been good at making history, and not as good at preserving it.

Google Indianapolis judges and you might find Judge’s Barbeque in Indianapolis. Search for detailed information on many of our local judges and you are likely to come up with similar scant results. The Bar has a goal of creating a comprehensive history of our lawyer leaders and many recorded conversations from past legal icons exist today as a result. The intention is to make our history available in a user-friendly format that is accessible when you want it and how you want it. That project will continue on.

In the meantime, however, as the investiture ceremonies of two new federal court judges approaches, we thought it a fitting time to start honoring members’ achievements with a lasting gift. As a result, the IBA has commissioned the creation of biographies befitting of the honor and perfect for web placement. In the near future, we will be unveiling the biographies of the Honorable Jane Magnus Stinson and the Honorable Tanya Walton Pratt, not just for our legal community, but the community at large. With only one other female judge on the Southern District bench, the Women & the Law Division of the IBA has agreed to sponsor the creation of a biography for the Honorable Sarah Evans Barker. Our excitement to release these biographies is only matched by our determination to continue with this project, building a legal history one biography at a time and leaving a lasting legacy available at the touch of your fingertips.

And so, you ask, Napoleon who? Not Napoleon Bonaparte or Napoleon Dynamite. Rather, the Napoleon to which the title refers is Napoleon B. Taylor, a man famous in his own right. He was, in 1878, the first President of the Indianapolis Bar Association.•


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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.