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Hickey: Things You Can Count On

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IBA-Hickey-ChristineThis is not about death and taxes. Rather, this is an exciting time of year and as I sat down to write this article, it became clear to me how important it is to have things to look forward to, things you can count on. No matter how small, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, tradition is an important part of our lives.

For years, on the Monday after Thanksgiving at the office we would come back to fresh holiday greenery and an overwhelming smell of pine. Wreaths and garland filled the foyer, the stairwells, the air. It marked the official start of December and the end of another year. For so long it was expected, and after a while more attention was paid to the needles that fell on the floor than the spirit the garland brought to our space.

A few years back, the greenery stopped; the florist who came to hang it was needed no more. The Monday after Thanksgiving came and went with no greenery; it was just another day. We all went about our business.

Just this past week, the first snow of the season fell on downtown trees all aglow with holiday lights. Salvation Army bell ringers have taken their place on street corners, beckoning to passers by to fill their red buckets. Law firm cards, well wishes, and open houses have begun. Thoughts of New Year’s resolutions are pushed aside, to be considered only after the holiday feasts have come and gone. Sweaters worn only at this time are pulled off of shelves, and every possible new toy imaginable is giving Super Bowl commercials a run for their money. These are the things that come with December.

The Bar also has things you can count on at this time of year. You can count on the Bar to cover your CLE needs. Each year the IndyBar offers an 11th Hour Video Replay series that is convenient, perfect for last-minute planners, and the most affordable CLE around. The dates this year are December 28, 29, and 30. The full schedule of videos can be found at www.indybar.org on the Events calendar. No advance registration is needed, the cost is $30 per hour for members, and brown-bag lunches are welcome.

It also wouldn’t be that time of year if we didn’t ask you for a contribution to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation. So much of what the Bar does is made possible through support of the IBF. The Foundation provides funds to support local law-related initiatives and organizations, law students, lawyers, and many important Bar programs. Funding for books for naturalization ceremonies, underwriting of pro bono programs like Ask a Lawyer, and scholarships to replenish the profession all come from the Foundation. Without members of the legal profession who are committed to giving back, much of this would not be possible. So that we can continue to have an impact in our community and on our profession, please make your donation to the Foundation today by check or online through the Foundation link located on the IndyBar website.

Lastly, but certainly not least, get out that holiday sweater and take the time to spend a couple of hours with your friends. Regardless of what the year has brought, and never mind busy schedules, the annual IndyBar holiday party is an event not to miss. This gathering brings together our community of attorneys, some of whose paths may only cross at this event. It’s a great time to catch up with colleagues, give well wishes, and share a toast with a friend. This year, the Bar is hosting the party on the 15th floor at 135 North Pennsylvania, on December 14 from 5:00 to 7:00. It’s free to all members and you will find the same smiling faces and holiday spirit as you have in years past.

For me, although I do miss the holiday greenery, I always look forward to celebrating another year with friends at the IndyBar holiday party. It’s a part of my December tradition. Lots of great lawyers, great people, and a great time. That is something you can count on.•

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  1. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  2. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

  3. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

  4. For some strange reason this story, like many on this ezine that question the powerful, seems to have been released in two formats. Prior format here: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263 That observed, I must note that it is quite refreshing that denizens of the great unwashed (like me) can be allowed to openly question powerful elitists at ICE MILLER who are on the public dole like Selby. Kudos to those at this ezine who understand that they cannot be mere lapdogs to the powerful and corrupt, lest freedom bleed out. If you wonder why the Senator resisted Selby, consider reading the comments here for a theory: http://www.theindianalawyer.com/nominees-selected-for-us-attorney-in-indiana/PARAMS/article/44263

  5. Why is it a crisis that people want to protect their rights themselves? The courts have a huge bias against people appearing on their own behalf and these judges and lawyers will face their maker one day and answer for their actions.

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