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IBA: Seeking to Honor Excellence

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Awarding professional excellence on the bench and in the bar is the purpose of the Indianapolis Bar’s Silver Gavel and Professionalism Awards. Given annually, these awards honor two individuals whose achievements and demeanor display the best practices to which all legal professionals should aspire. Nominations are now being sought for the 2010 awards.

Created just a few years ago by the Bar’s Professionalism Committee, the Silver Gavel Award is designated for a member of the judiciary. The criteria for the award states, “Individuals whose contributions in the area of judicial professionalism set an example of insight into the demands of legal professionalism, dedication to the highest level of ethical conduct, and a vision of constant improvement of the perception judges in the public will merit strong consideration in the evaluation of nominees for the award. Significant scholarly contributions made in academic settings, creative judicial or legislative initiatives undertaken to advance the professionalism of judges, and other related types of contributions justify submission of nominations as well.”

Past recipients of the Silver Gavel include The Honorable John Tinder of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, The Honorable Ted Boehm of the Indiana Supreme Court and the late Honorable Charles Deiter.

The Professionalism Award is given to an attorney whose achievements are measured by the same criteria as the Silver Gavel Award but with emphasis on enhancing the perception of attorneys.

The Honorable James Kirsch of the Indiana Court of Appeals, Kristin Fruehwald of Barnes & Thornburg and Karl Mulvaney of Bingham McHale LLP are among the past recipients of the Professionalism Award.

Nomination forms for these awards may be found at www.indybar.org. The nomination period closes on Friday, August 5.

The awards will be presented at the Bar’s Mentors Who Matter luncheon which is scheduled for September 30 at the Conrad Hotel. Tickets will soon be on sale for $30 per person. The luncheon will also feature remarks from the newest judges to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Judges Jane Magnus-Stinson and Tanya Walton Pratt.•

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  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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