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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. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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