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IBA: Institute Offers Advocates an Invaluable Resource

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The Indianapolis Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Section recently created the Indiana Appellate Institute, a resource available to lawyers throughout the state who have oral arguments scheduled before the Indiana Supreme Court or Court of Appeals. Modeled after the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown Law School, the Indiana Appellate Institute offers “moot” or practice argument sessions before a panel of experienced appellate advocates, former judicial clerks, and law professors well-versed in the subject matter of the case and general appellate court procedures. The Institute’s mission is to elevate the quality of oral advocacy, especially by assisting advocates with limited oral argument experience, with the hope of assisting courts in deciding cases.

The Institute’s first moot was held on October 22 in the Wynne Courtroom of the Indiana University School of Law—Indianapolis. A distinguished panel of section members took on the role of justices in posing questions to Jim Rossow of Rubin & Levin in Indianapolis as he prepared for his first oral argument before the Indiana Supreme Court. The issue in the case, Gibraltar Financial Corp. v. Prestige Equipment Corp., was whether a lease was a true lease or a disguised security agreement. As Mr. Rossow stood at the podium and delivered his argument, the panel asked questions for about forty-five minutes. After the formal part of the moot, the panel members spent the next forty-five minutes offering constructive and candid advice as part of an informal dialogue with Mr. Rossow.

Mr. Rossow recommends the program to both new and experienced advocates as an effective way to receive “independent, outside advice about how best to present an oral argument.”  He remarked the “panel judges helped me understand how the appellate court approaches a case on appeal. They asked tough questions.” Mr. Rossow’s argument was a success; he persuaded the Court to grant transfer. A decision on the merits will follow in the next several months.

Attorneys with cases scheduled for oral argument who are interested in scheduling a moot argument with the Indiana Appellate Institute should complete the “advocate form” on the Appellate Practice Section’s page on indybar.org. Requests should be made at least three weeks before a scheduled oral argument. Mooting sessions will generally be held one week before the argument to allow counsel adequate time to incorporate the panel’s critique. There is no charge for the service at this time. Finally, although the Institute currently has about 45 volunteer judges, the Section welcomes additional volunteer judges. Please complete the “volunteer judge” form available on the Section’s website. Any questions about the Institute may be directed to Joel Schumm at (317) 278-4733 or jmschumm@iupui.edu.•
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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