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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. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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