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IBA: Racing Attorney Conference Returns to Indy in April

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By Wes Zirkle, Just Marketing International

Indianapolis prides itself as the “racing capital of the world.” Even as a young boy growing up in Northern Indiana, I knew that Indianapolis had something special because of the city’s indelible connection to motor racing. Much has been said about the importance of motor racing not only to Indianapolis, but also to Indiana (as was evidenced by a Purdue University study published in September 2012). But even as numerous industries in Indiana have benefited enormously from motorsports, for many years the benefit to the legal community of Indiana was less certain.

Doubtless, as there are many Indiana-based businesses who supply and support motorsports, those businesses likely have Indiana-based attorneys to provide counsel. But where do those attorneys go for counsel, networking and education?

That was the question I asked seven years ago in Boston.

Boston? Yes, Boston. I know, Boston is to motorsports as Orlando is to shovels. But the story is nice and one I reflect on fondly.

I was in Boston to attend the 33rd Annual Sports Lawyers Association conference. It’s a tremendous conference and, really, the only conference to attend for lawyers whose practices touch sports law. After a day of learning about typical stick-and-ball issues (labor, agency, arbitration, etc.), I struck up a conversation with three lawyers during a break in the agenda. I remember it clearly. In front of me was Stoke Caldwell and Brooke Beyer from Charlotte, and Mark Richards from Indianapolis was on my right. All of us have heavy motorsports practices. During that conversation, I commented (okay, I complained) that motorsports is a “sport” but had no real representation at this national sports law conference. To which Stoke replied, “well, let’s just start a motorsports law conference.”

So, we did. We enlisted the help of another Charlotte-based attorney, William Bray, who had just organized a day-long motorsports CLE in Greensboro, North Carolina. The concept was simple: Between Indianapolis and Charlotte was a wealth of knowledge on the topic of motorsports law and the five of us would reach out to every attorney we knew who practices in motorsports and invite them to participate in a day-and-a-half session of education and networking. TRAC was born.

The Racing Attorney Conference (TRAC) was first held in April of 2008 at the infield media center of what was then Lowes Motor Speedway in Charlotte. We had hoped to attract 50 attorneys. Over 100 attended and we had to set up extra chairs. Attendee comments after the conference were terrific despite first-day speakers having to yell over the sound of stock cars doing laps around us. The next year we held TRAC in the media center of Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Again, nearly 100 attorneys attended. We had something. The five of us then committed to organizing TRAC every April and host it on a rotational basis between Charlotte and Indianapolis.

Now in its sixth year, TRAC 2013 is being held on April 9-10 at the Conrad Hotel in Indianapolis (after two years of noisy media centers, the conference was moved to swanky hotels with proper acoustics and better coffee). Over the years, the conference has evolved from attracting just the attorneys in the host city to being the must-attend conference for attorneys nationally who have clients in the motorsports industry. This year we have commitments from attorneys in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, Chicago, Daytona Beach, New York, and Washington, D.C., including, of course, Indianapolis and Charlotte.

And the organizing committee has expanded beyond the original five founders and now includes Eric Anderson from Sears, Katherine Wallace from Alston & Bird, Lauri Eberhart from NASCAR Hall of Fame, Matt Efird from Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, and this year’s local co-chairs Mark Owens from Barnes & Thornburg and Tiffany Hemmer from INDYCAR.

Over time, the topics have also evolved from introductory issues to compelling and timely topics that will be useful to attorneys at all levels of experience and many types of practices. This year, among other topics, TRAC will examine Sweepstakes and Promotions, Sponsorship, Insurance and Indemnity, Multi-state Taxation issues, and Social Media. The conference will also highlight a luncheon keynote address from Mayor Greg Ballard which will be followed by a panel discussing motorsports’ impact on state and local government.

I suppose I have penned this article not only as an open invitation to the Indiana legal community, but also to try and sell that TRAC has become what I had hoped it would be: a tangible benefit to the Indiana legal community directly derived from motorsports.

I invite you to learn more about TRAC on www.racingattorneys.com, on Facebook or on Twitter (@RacingAttorneys) and, of course, to register for the conference either through the TRAC website or through the IndyBar website.

This is a unique opportunity for you to learn from and socialize with a body of attorneys who are, on a daily basis, shaping what is “motorsports law” in the United States and internationally. And, also, an opportunity to participate in that conversation.•
 

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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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