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IBA: Defining Professionalism, or the 'Case of the Incredible Shrinking Crack'

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Professionalism is a very difficult word to define with any precision. Sometimes professionalism is found in the things we do. For example, treating an opposing counsel and his/her clients as people rather than enemies. Or being kind to support staff of both attorneys and Courts. And sometimes professionalism is found in just being patient when faced with a situation that might otherwise bring you to tear your hair out.

As a part of its Pause for Professionalism video series, the Professionalism Committee has recently released its third video. In this video, criminal defense attorney Bob Hammerle recounts a time when he was faced with a very difficult situation, which he dubbed the “Case of the Incredible Shrinking Crack,” where he managed to keep his cool and maintain his professionalism, ultimately prevailing on behalf of his client.

While this video focuses on a particular story from criminal defense litigation, there are civility lessons that are appropriate for everyone in the profession. Bob’s nearly forty years of experience bring insight to practitioners across the board and can lend understanding to interactions between parties in every court.

New videos will be distributed every other month and are available on the IndyBar website at http://www.indybar.org/resources/video-gallery.php. If you have any suggestions for future topics regarding professionalism and civility, please e-mail them to Caren Chopp at cchopp@indybar.org.•

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  1. IF the Right to Vote is indeed a Right, then it is a RIGHT. That is the same for ALL eligible and properly registered voters. And this is, being able to cast one's vote - until the minute before the polls close in one's assigned precinct. NOT days before by absentee ballot, and NOT 9 miles from one's house (where it might be a burden to get to in time). I personally wait until the last minute to get in line. Because you never know what happens. THAT is my right, and that is Mr. Valenti's. If it is truly so horrible to let him on school grounds (exactly how many children are harmed by those required to register, on school grounds, on election day - seriously!), then move the polling place to a different location. For ALL voters in that precinct. Problem solved.

  2. "associates are becoming more mercenary. The path to partnership has become longer and more difficult so they are chasing short-term gains like high compensation." GOOD FOR THEM! HELL THERE OUGHT TO BE A UNION!

  3. Let's be honest. A glut of lawyers out there, because law schools have overproduced them. Law schools dont care, and big law loves it. So the firms can afford to underpay them. Typical capitalist situation. Wages have grown slowly for entry level lawyers the past 25 years it seems. Just like the rest of our economy. Might as well become a welder. Oh and the big money is mostly reserved for those who can log huge hours and will cut corners to get things handled. More capitalist joy. So the answer coming from the experts is to "capitalize" more competition from nonlawyers, and robots. ie "expert systems." One even hears talk of "offshoring" some legal work. thus undercutting the workers even more. And they wonder why people have been pulling for Bernie and Trump. Hello fools, it's not just the "working class" it's the overly educated suffering too.

  4. And with a whimpering hissy fit the charade came to an end ... http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2016/07/27/all-charges-dropped-against-all-remaining-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/ WHISTLEBLOWERS are needed more than ever in a time such as this ... when politics trump justice and emotions trump reason. Blue Lives Matter.

  5. "pedigree"? I never knew that in order to become a successful or, for that matter, a talented attorney, one needs to have come from good stock. What should raise eyebrows even more than the starting associates' pay at this firm (and ones like it) is the belief systems they subscribe to re who is and isn't "fit" to practice law with them. Incredible the arrogance that exists throughout the practice of law in this country, especially at firms like this one.

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