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Hickey: Out with the new and in with the old

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Recently, I cleaned my office. That alone is worthy of a President's Message; however, the story gets better. What began as an almost-as-good-as-a-root-canal experience turned into a journey back in time with a treasure-trove of items that hadn't seen the light of day in decades.

As I pulled out boxes from law school, I was reminded of stories of offices with grease-stained files from doughnuts having been smashed between them while the pile sat. I worried about whether something would nibble on my hand or whether I would mourn the death of a once-living thing crushed by mountains of legal prose. Other than a smashed pretzel and one dead fly, I was pleasantly surprised with some of my discoveries. Among them were . . .

My law school notes. Amazingly, I saved every last scribbling from school. At first, I kept them in case the need arose to resort to textbook definitions for basis and other pressing tax law questions. Then, I had high hopes of passing them on to future law school friends. That was as silly as my fascination with the environmental law outline it took me a semester to craft. I decided to part with the notebooks that represented so many hours of study; however, as I did, I was reminded of a time when passion, patience, and perseverance ruled the day.

Various Certificates of Admission and Appreciation. Wow. I was admitted to practice in places I had never been and awarded certificates for things I didn't recall. I dusted those off and now they have been elevated to the top of a table. One day, they might make it to a frame. Maybe, maybe not.

A very-young-looking photo of me behind my desk with piles of files. It could have been taken 15 years ago, but my surroundings were still the same: a computer, lots of work, and candy on my desk. That was in the same box as a Ziggy cartoon about organized chaos; I threw that away since it clearly had not served me well over the years.

The IBA Standards of Professionalism and a book on Integrity. If you have not seen the Standards of Professionalism in a while, I encourage you to read them; they make you stand a little taller and practice law a little better. I believe these have a place right next to the paperclips and pens on our desk as an indispensable item to be consulted often. These, I kept.

Many old copies of news articles about colleagues, local Bar events and special people. I took some time to look back through these. Yellowed papers showed smiling faces of young lawyers who are now our seasoned leaders in the community. They smiled from behind an award being presented, or above a caption recognizing them for something wonderful they did as a new attorney. At the time, I had no idea that I was saving clips about what would be the future of our legal profession. It was nice to take a trip back in time with so many close friends, trusted colleagues, and respected leaders.

Personal notes that I had kept for one reason or another. While email and texting are all the rage, the personal note has all but died. I saved personal thank you's written for Bar work done from over fifteen years ago. I tucked away personal sentiments from attorneys and IBA staff who took their time to give me words of appreciation and encouragement. Even in the day of less is more, we should not underestimate the power of the personal note.

Finally, a faded copy of a Xeroxed paper was lodged between memos, books, and other items of no import. I am glad I took the time to read it before pitching it with the many other items that had our shred bins bulging at the seams. I don't know where I got it, or who gave it to me, but I kept this one. It had a short message and one that is worth saving: Today is What I Make It.

It seems to me that things require dusting off every once in a while. Remind yourself what was important to you at one time, what remains important to you now, and what you might have lost sight of. Take a moment to write a personal note to a trusted friend or a colleague whose photo is in the paper. Reflect back on your law school days, the people who helped get you where you are, and remember that today is what you make it.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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