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IBA: Celebrating the Journey

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By Kevin Morrissey, Lewis & Kappes PC

On May 22, 2013, the 25 members of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series (BLS) Class X gathered at the Skyline Club to cap off another successful iteration of the program. The five sub-groups of BLS X also presented the results of the various community service projects completed as part of BLS X. Overall, the presentations demonstrated that each group dedicated significant time and effort to each of the projects. It was clear that these community service projects were a labor of love for each of the participants.
 

bls-1-15col.jpgCongratulations Bar Leader Class X graduates!

What’s more, this event was the culmination of a rewarding nine-month long leadership experience for which I know every member of BLS X is extremely grateful to have been part. And so, for my final installment on BLS X, I would like to share some reflections and memories from my classmates about the program as well as our gratitude to the people that made it possible.

“The thing I enjoyed most about the Bar Leader Series was seeing motivated people work with people they have never met before to complete a common goal. Before the Bar Leader Series I did not know anyone in my five-person project group. [O]ur group used our various strengths to come up with a service project that made a difference in the lives of many people. It was great to see the smile on the children’s faces at Damar when they were trying on suits that we had donated for their prom…The families at Washington Community School were very appreciative of the donations that will hopefully give them a slight respite from their challenging day-to-day activities. It would be difficult for one attorney to tackle these projects on his own, but working with other leaders in the bar, we were able to make a large impact.” –Colin Connor, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP

“One theme stood out to me…in order to be an effective leader, you need to be an excellent listener. By nature, attorneys are anxious to start talking and solving problems before they fully understand the issue at hand. Listening is a key component in leadership, practicing law and life.” –Marc Pfleging, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

“The Bar Leader Series provided me with the opportunity to meet important individuals in our community and to meet and build relationships with attorneys outside of my firm. Also, our female-only team was far superior in the water pour event.” –Kiamesha Colom, Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aranoff LLP

“Our service project involved giving talks on Financial Literacy to Vocational Education students at Ben Davis High School. We gave the talks on two different days. When we arrived for the second day, the classroom teacher had asked the school’s vice-principal to come see the presentations as well. Afterwards, the vice-principal’s reaction was, ‘why aren’t we doing this for all of our kids?’ The teacher told me afterward that out at the construction site, the students were talking about our presentations, and were very interested in the topic.” –Carly Turow, Katz & Korin PC


bls-2-15col.jpgThe IndyBar Bar Leader Series Class X concluded with team presentations and graduations at the Skyline Club on May 22, 2013.

“Working on the community service project with my team was by far the most rewarding experience of the program. Our team, appropriately named ‘Women helping Women,’ organized an in-kind fundraiser to gather professional accessories for the women served by The Julian Center and Dress for Success. We were able to secure a generous sponsor, the Skyline Club, that provided us with a fantastic venue for the event—‘Give a Little, Get A Little.’ We chose that name since we asked our guests to bring a donation of professional accessories and at the event they were able to make a pair of earrings from the supplies we provided. We held the event in March during one of the worst snow storms of the year, and still so many of our friends and co-workers showed up to support the cause—we were floored. Their generosity and support was truly overwhelming. Presenting the donations to the Julian Center and Dress for Success was an absolute honor and one that would have not been possible without the Bar Leader Series program.” –Kendra Conover, Hall Render Killian Heath & Lyman PC

On a personal note, I want to extend my sincere appreciation to Kevin McGoff, John Trimble, David Herzog, and all of the members of the Steering Committee of BLS X for their hard work and dedication to the program. Each of those attorneys made sacrifices to volunteer their time and talents that made the program a resounding success. For that we are extremely grateful. Finally, I am confident I can speak on behalf of each of the members of BLS X in expressing our gratitude to Caren Chopp, Pro Bono and Legal Services Coordinator for the Indianapolis Bar Association, for all she does to organize and execute the Bar Leader Series.

Congrats to my fellow classmates who graduated from BLS X, and many thanks to those who spent time, money, and energy on the program. I know the community looks forward to seeing how the 24 other members of this group continue to emerge as leaders in the Indianapolis area and within the bar.•

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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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