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, 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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.