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IBA Bar Leader: A Graduate's Perspective

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Erin Durnell By Erin Durnel

On May 18th, I had the privilege of attending the graduation session of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series Class VII. Each year, the Series class is composed of twenty-five lawyers in their third through tenth years of practice who meet monthly from September through May. The class is further divided into five small groups, each one responsible for planning and implementing a community service project as a requirement for successful completion of the Series. Prior to the graduation celebration, the final session of the Series is dedicated to providing the class members with an opportunity to give a presentation explaining their projects – including the successes and challenges that they faced in the process – to their classmates, representatives of IBA leadership, and other special guests.

As a graduate of Bar Leader Series Class V, and a member of the Steering Committee for Classes VI, VII and next year’s VII, I can appreciate the time and energy that the groups put into their community service projects. Every year that I observe the final presentations, I am amazed at the quality of the projects. Every year, I am proud of the participants and their dedication to completing the Series. And every year, I am humbled to be a part of the Bar Leader Series community.

During the graduation session, it occurred to me that many IBA members probably aren’t aware of this excellent program. Many have no idea that each year, an ever-increasing number of worthy attorneys submit applications to compete for a spot in the upcoming class. Many are unaware that the participants have unparalleled opportunities for professional development and personal growth during the nine-month program.

The Series kicks off each year in August with an informal gathering to allow incoming class members to meet and interact with Series alumni. The class then travels to Southern Indiana for an overnight retreat in September that provides concerted leadership training and sets the stage for the rest of the program. Thereafter, the class meets monthly for half-day sessions. Lunch discussions with special guests provide fascinating insights into the lives of community leaders. The “substantive” portion of each monthly meeting is deliberately planned to offer both CLE and thought-provoking information about the Indianapolis community, its history, challenges, and future.

Why does the IBA offer the Bar Leader Series, and why does the Indianapolis Bar Foundation continue to financially support this program? Simply put, “why” can be answered by acknowledging the “who”: graduates of Bar Leader Series are our future partners, future judges, future IBA presidents, and future community leaders.

The future isn’t very far away – graduates of the Series already serve in leadership roles in the Association and the Foundation. By offering this program, the IBA and IBF are investing in the future of our profession by training attorneys to be better leaders – lawyers of integrity and unwavering dedication to the practice of law. They are the “who.” And they are a worthy “why.”

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Erin Durnell is a family law attorney with Broyles Kight & Ricafort and a graduate and steering committee member of the IBA’s Bar Leader Series.Bar Leader Graduates

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  1. Indianapolis employers harassment among minorities AFRICAN Americans needs to be discussed the metro Indianapolis area is horrible when it comes to harassing African American employees especially in the local healthcare facilities. Racially profiling in the workplace is an major issue. Please make it better because I'm many civil rights leaders would come here and justify that Indiana is a state the WORKS only applies to Caucasian Americans especially in Hamilton county. Indiana targets African Americans in the workplace so when governor pence is trying to convince people to vote for him this would be awesome publicity for the Presidency Elections.

  2. Wishing Mary Willis only God's best, and superhuman strength, as she attempts to right a ship that too often strays far off course. May she never suffer this personal affect, as some do who attempt to change a broken system: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QojajMsd2nE

  3. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  4. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  5. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

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