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IBA: In His Shoes: Beginning the Bar Leader Series Journey

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Throughout the 2012-2013 Bar Leader Series, we’ll follow the experience of Series member Kevin Morrissey, Lewis & Kappes PC.

This September, 25 young lawyers from Indianapolis retreated to the Waycross Camp in Morgantown, Indiana, to kick off the 2012-2013 iteration of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series, known as Bar Leader Series X (“BLS X”). The initial retreat was an opportunity for the members of BLS X to turn off their cell phones, forget about email (cell service was not available out there anyway), take a break from the rigors of daily law practice, and come together in the Indiana wilderness for a collaborative two-day workshop as the first of eight leadership sessions to take place over the next nine months. I am honored to be a participant in BLS X, and I look forward to chronicling my experiences as our class moves forward to explore the wide variety of issues, challenges, and opportunities facing our community and our profession.

Our BLS X retreat was led by BLS X Chair Kevin McGoff of Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP and our facilitator, Stuart Shepley. Although we are sworn to secrecy about experiences unknown—think “Survivor” or “The Amazing Race”—I can say that Mr. Shepley brought us together in the great outdoors to get to know one another quickly (and closely) through some unique physical group challenges.
 

iba-bls-group-15col.jpg Members of Class X of the IndyBar’s Bar Leader Series gather during the class retreat, held September 20-21 at the Waycross Camp in Morgantown, Indiana. Created in 2003, the Bar Leader Series is the IndyBar’s leadership development program for young attorneys. This fast-track series empowers participants to make the most of their innate talents, while emphasizing the importance of service to the community. Following the retreat, The Series continues with monthly presentations for an entire afternoon for a nine-month period on a broad range of topics presented by local legal, political and business leaders.

These exercises not only broke the ice, but also taught us a great deal about our individual leadership styles, and that of the group as a whole. Admittedly, certain group members were apprehensive when the blindfolds and ropes came out, yet the consensus was that these collaborative exercises were a lot of a fun and a great learning experience. I can testify that I had more than one “light bulb moment” during the course of the retreat while debriefing with Mr. Shepley.

We also had the good fortune of listening to many words of wisdom about leadership and the legal profession from one of our BLS X moderators, John Trimble, a partner at Lewis Wagner LLP. We are also fortunate to have David Herzog, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, as our second moderator for BLS X. Our moderators have graciously agreed to guide the members of BLS X through this dynamic nine month experience and impart their considerable wisdom and experience along the way. I am sure I am joined with the other 24 members of the group in extending my heartfelt thanks to these busy men for volunteering their time to the next generation of Indianapolis attorneys and prospective leaders.

At the retreat, Mr. Trimble addressed the qualities and characteristics that constitute a successful leader in the 21st century. This session had a particular impact on me as Mr. Trimble shared his vision of the daily habits and values shared by successful leaders. As put forth by Mr. Trimble, individual habits may seem small when taken alone, but when combined into a consistent routine, they converge to make a stronger leader, lawyer and individual. This speech reinforced the importance of the Bar Leader Series for the young lawyers in our legal community.

As I reflected on this session, I thought, where else could a young attorney participate in a candid, interactive session with one of the foremost leaders of the Indianapolis Bar? This opportunity was truly unique. Barriers were taken down. We came together as a group to talk frankly and openly about leadership and the legal profession during challenging times for our profession.


iba-bls-kevin-15col.jpg Our author, Kevin Morrissey of Lewis & Kappes PC, smiles at center with fellow Class X members at the BLS Retreat this September.

In October, BLS X held its second session. The setting had changed. This time we were inside four walls in our familiar city of Indianapolis. This session focused on the strengths, weaknesses and challenges faced by the Indianapolis community. Dan Evans, CEO of IU Health, led a discussion concerning the attributes of successful leaders that he learned over his years in politics, private practice and the corporate space. Mr. Evans stressed the importance of developing strong professional relationships in our 30s and 40s, as these are the connections that will carry forward throughout the course of our legal careers. The second session further included interactive sessions with several community leaders and executives of economic development organizations from the Indianapolis area. We dove into specific issues facing our community today, including brain drain, transportation infrastructure and a changing workforce. This was a unique experience for all of us to learn from individuals on the front line of contemporary Indianapolis issues.

The first two sessions of BLS X have been eye-opening and thought provoking. Our first two meetings have also been very enjoyable and have resulted in new friendships and connections. I look forward to relating the experiences of BLS X as our group of 25 eager, young lawyers progress through each of the dynamic leadership sessions in the coming months.•

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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