IBA: The IndyBar's Been Busy

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With 4,863 members, 22 sections and divisions and more than 120 events held so far in 2012, IndyBar Sections, Divisions and Committees have been busy!

For the second year, these groups were asked to compile mid-year reports to evaluate their progress and success toward achieving goals established early in the year. What follows is merely a snapshot into the myriad activities and initiatives undertaken in 2012. Many groups have taken the charge to evaluate their value and service to members seriously, gauging their current offerings and contemplating additional programs, services and benefits.

iba An IndyBar volunteer assists a member of the public at the Pro Bono Standing Committee’s Spring 2012 Ask a Lawyer event. More than 560 individuals received free legal advice as a result of the event.

To view the full versions of reports received from IndyBar Sections, Divisions and Committees, visit

Alternative Dispute Resolution Section

Chair: Darryn Duchon, Buck Berry Laundau & Breunig

The section is pursuing hosting a seminar for parenting coordination training. This is based on proposed changes to the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines, which include alternate dispute resolution by utilizing a parenting coordinator to be appointed by the court. The proposed rules require 20 hours of training that parenting coordinators must obtain within one year of the promulgation of the rule on January 1, 2013. We are working toward lining up sufficient speakers for the 20 hours of training in the event the rules are approved.

Appellate Practice Section

Chair: Arend Abel, Cohen & Malad LLP

One of the section’s key accomplishments this year was to fund a scholarship to the Appellate Judges Education Institute, which will be held in New Orleans in mid-November. One of the challenges faced as a small, relatively new section is visibility. The section has a great program—the Indiana Appellate Institute—available to section members and others, which provides a “moot court” experience for practitioners scheduled to argue before the Indiana Appellate Courts, including practitioners who are relatively new to appellate oral argument or who may not have the internal resources to conduct such sessions in their own firms. The executive committee would very much like to increase the visibility and utilization of this program.

Commercial & Bankruptcy Law Section

Chair: Jeff Hester, Tucker Hester LLC

The section has accomplished several notable items so far this year, including a full schedule of CLE events, involvement in the planning of a retirement reception for Judge Tony Metz, refreshing the format of the annual Opperman seminar to keep it attractive to the membership, and assisting Judge Louis Rosenberg with presenting a program regarding the small claims court report to the Indy legal community.

Criminal Justice Section

Chair: Hon. William Nelson, Marion Superior Court

With an increase in membership, increased and improved CLE, a new and improved Executive Committee, and new and improved social opportunities, we are very satisfied with the accomplishments of the Criminal Justice section so far this year. However, there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially in regards to more active participation from members, more unique events, and more member benefits.

Diversity Job Fair Committee

Chair: Brita Horvath, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

indybarweek.jpg IndyBar Law Student Division members smile during IndyBar Week in February, which featured several days packed with activities and events to help law students learn about benefits of IndyBar membership and IndyBar Review.

One goal outlined for the committee this year was to showcase that the IndyBar’s diversity efforts make an impact on law student and employer participants, the legal community and the Indianapolis business community. New efforts were implemented by the committee this year that achieve this goal, which include: outreach to the Marion County Bar Association’s executive committee members and an invitation to attend the welcome reception; new sponsorships and interviews secured from corporate legal departments; a lunch program hosted by the committee for the summer clerks who secured jobs through the 2011 fair; and the publication of a report about the IndyBar Diversity Job Fair in the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession’s national publication that showcases national legal diversity efforts.

Estate Planning & Administration Section

Chair: Sean Fahey, Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman PC

The main goal of the Executive Council is to provide meaningful and relevant continuing legal education to the members of the Section. An additional goal for 2012 was to provide opportunities for cross-networking between the members of the Estate Planning and Administration Section and the Young Lawyers Division. Based upon the progress toward our goals, reflected in both quantitative data and the positive feedback received from our members through program evaluations, the Estate Planning and Administration Section is strong and steady in providing services to its members.

Government Practice Section

Chair: Andrew Mallon, Drewry Simmons Vornehm LLP

reportcard.jpgIn July and under the leadership of Sue Beesley, the committee agreed to implement a scholarship program for law students interested in pursuing government practice after graduation. The scholarship amount is $1,000 for the year. The committee is currently accepting applications and plans to award its first scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year at the committee’s August meeting. We are currently on pace to meet expected goals for the number of CLEs and programs for the year. This includes a well-attended three hour ethics CLE for government officials, lobbyists and attorneys.

Health Care Section

Chair: Ike Willett, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

Our goals were to put on four CLE programs (with one being a multi-hour program), to expand the membership of our executive committee, to look for opportunities to partner with other sections on CLEs and social events and to rebrand our section to include the life sciences rather than just health care. So far we’ve completed two CLE programs and are in the process of planning our other two. Our multi-hour program is scheduled for October. We’re also making progress on the other initiatives noted.

Labor & Employment Law Section

Chair: Jeffrey Halbert, Stewart & Irwin PC

This year, the executive committee outlined goals in terms of section outreach and beneficial uses of section funds. For this purpose, we co-sponsored a social event with the Litigation Section on May 3rd, which was a success. In addition, we have begun doing regular postings on the IndyBar Labor & Employment webpage, where specific members are tasked with preparing a monthly article on a current topic. We will likely open up this opportunity to the members of the section as well.

Law Student Division

Chair: Travis Taggart, Robert H. McKinney School of Law

wld-reception.jpg Attendees at the Women & the Law Division’s annual Summer Reception mingle prior to enjoying remarks by featured guest speaker Hon. Denise LaRue of the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana.

The IndyBar Law Student Division wrapped up a successful spring semester in April, highlighted by weekly events designed to acclimate and prepare students for all aspects of the real legal world. Among these, the honorable Judge Tim Oakes candidly spoke with students about successful relationship building and the value of networking, board members provided a hands-on presentation for practical blue-booking tips, and the division put on its biannual “One-Stop Shop” for summer bar applicants. The board has an even more ambitious schedule lined up for the Fall semester and is excited to implement a more focused networking strategy built around IndyBar Section membership and participation. The Division will hold a Section Fair on August 28th to introduce the Sections to first year students at Robert H. McKinney School of Law and will continue our monthly series, Breakfast with the Bar, featuring a particular Section for a breakfast information and networking session. 

Membership Committee

Chair: Lizzie Schuerman, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

In addition to our annual recruitment efforts, the committee has spent several meetings brainstorming certain aspects of membership. In particular, we have focused on attorneys in the five to nine years of practice range. We have generalized that the members of this group are likely in some sort of transition, possibly leaving firms to start their own business, starting families thereby leaving less time to participate in extracurricular activities, or perhaps these attorneys are on the brink of, or have just achieved, partnership and are fully focused on firm activities. We have tried to consider how the IndyBar might be able to better appeal to this group. This brainstorming is still evolving and hopefully we will develop some concrete ways to appeal to this group of attorneys.

Paralegal Committee

Chair: Joanne Alexovich, Cantrell Strenski & Mehringer LLP

One of the Committee’s goals this year was to build upon previous efforts to recognize Law Day throughout the Indianapolis Bar. This sub-committee created a great partnership with the Shortridge Law and Public Policy magnet school. On May 1, 2012, the committee sponsored a career fair at Shortridge to educate students on law-related careers. Approximately 225 eighth and ninth graders participated in the 90-minute event and were able to receive information and career advice from probation officers, court reporters, court clerks, bailiffs, court interpreters, law librarians and assistants, and many more legal-oriented agencies and organizations. It was a successful event and created partnerships the committee hopes to build upon in the future.

Professionalism Committee

Chair: David Herzog, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

The committee has continued its “Pause for Professionalism” program, producing short, instructive videos featuring leading practitioners who instruct on various topics and skills, covering both the substantive aspects of the tasks and the professionalism components. We have also continued our “Nod to Professionalism” recognitions in the Indiana Lawyer, but have broadened the theme to showcase practices and specific examples of individual behavior and circumstances in which practitioners exhibit behavior that brings honor to the profession while still serving the best interests of their clients.

Real Estate & Land Use Section

Chair: Mary Lisher, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

iba Legislative Committee Chair Hon. Heather Welch, Marion Superior Court, poses a question to the more than 20 Indiana legislators attending the annual Lawyer Legislator Luncheon held on March 5, 2012.

The section has advocated on behalf of its members on several issues in 2012. One issue included submitting proposed changes to the Lawrence Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) rules of procedure to address the representation of petitioners before that BZA by non-lawyers not working under the supervision and direction of a lawyer. For over a year, the Committee has discussed various concerns identified by it relating to representation of parties in land use proceedings by non-lawyers who are not working under the supervision and direction of a lawyer. The Committee concluded that the best approach was to encourage the adoption of rules of procedure by BZAs that would require parties representing a petitioner before the BZA to be a lawyer or a non-lawyer working under the supervision and direction of a lawyer. This recommendation was approved by the IndyBar Board of Directors in June and forwarded to the BZA for consideration.

Senior Counsel Division

Chair: Jeffery Meunier, Attorney at Law

The Senior Counsel Division is on its way to a very productive year. One of our goals was to increase our social interaction. We have an event scheduled at the BMW PGA Championship, an outing to Symphony on the Prairie at Connor Prairie, and we are planning a presentation for bar members from a neurologist on the signs of dementia and how to recognize it in yourself and in your colleagues. At least three additional events are scheduled to take place for the remainder of the year.

Sole Practitioner/Small Firm Practice Section

Chair: Alex Limontes, Mitchell Hurst Dick & McNelis LLC

One of our section’s main goals this year was to work closely with other IndyBar sections, which we have accomplished. This year we have worked closely with the Paralegal Committee and the Young Lawyers Division. We co-hosted a breakfast series CLE with the paralegal section, and we also co-hosted a social event with the young lawyers division and presented a session for solos/small firm practitioners at their annual Applied Professionalism Course. In addition, the section’s annual “Surviving and Thriving” program was refreshed with new speakers and topics and will be held on October 5.

Sports & Entertainment Law Section

Co-Chairs: Wes Zirkle and Jason Bonikowske, both of JMI Inc.

This has been a rebuilding year for the Executive Committee, which has grown complacent by a dearth of fresh membership. Our primary focus this year has been on identifying and reaching out to potential Executive Committee members who would be committed to taking the section forward. We have done that through active in-person contact and by hosting a free social for all section members at the track during Carb Day, which appears to have been a success. At least two people have since expressed an interest in taking a leadership role on the committee as a direct result of the social. Still others have expressed an interest in being more active with the section in some way.

Tax Section

Chair: Katie Lodato, Eli Lilly & Company

For the annual Tax Section social event, we are in the process of teaming up with the Indiana State Bar Association for a combination CLE/Networking event in November. We are partnering with the ISBA to increase attendance and networking opportunities as well as potentially reduce the cost of the social to the Tax Section. The other two professional organizations that the section has traditionally partnered with for the annual social—the Estate Planning Council and the Financial Planners Association—will also take part in this event.

Women & the Law Division

Chair: Anne Cowgur, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

The Women and Law Divison has continued to strive to find new ways to serve its members as well as the IndyBar and the community. In January, the WLD launched the first year of its Mentor Program, pairing newer lawyers with experienced practitioners in groups of four or five, charged with meeting at least once a quarter for informal mentoring experiences. In July, the WLD held its inaugural Third Thursday Coffee gathering at Starbucks on Ohio Street with a great turnout, and future gatherings are scheduled for August 16, September 20, October 18 and November 15. The WLD has an exciting fall CLE brown bag series kicking off on August 29 with a session on “Certifying Your Practice as Minority/Women Owned and Investing in Your Career.” And, the WLD is excited about its upcoming half-day event titled “Women’s Legal History – Major Movements and Local Impact,” October 23 from 1-4:30 p.m., with a faculty including Judge Margret Robb, Judge Nancy Vaidik, Jan Ellis, Kathleen DeLaney, and Norah Macey, as well as Professor Jennifer Drobac and graduate students who have been studying women’s suffrage in Indiana. This program will be followed by a reception and dinner in honor of the 2012 Antoinette Dakin Leach award winner Kathleen Lucas.

Young Lawyers Division

Chair: Stephanie Eckerle, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

The YLD is very excited to offer a training program for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana’s Mediation Assistance Program (“MAP”) with the Honorable Denise LaRue. The MAP training will take place on November 9, 2012. The MAP is a court-wide program which allows pro se litigants to have the benefit of an attorney at settlement conferences. In this voluntary program, attorneys who are members in good standing will provide free legal assistance to pro se parties regarding settlement of their cases, including attending and assisting parties in connection with settlement conferences. Please watch for more details about this event!•

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