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IL celebrates 22 years covering legal community

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EidtPerspLucas-sigYou may not have realized it, but with this issue of the Indiana Lawyer – Volume 23, Number 1 – we celebrate an anniversary.

Much has changed in the 22 years since IBJ Media made the decision to launch a newspaper dedicated specifically to reporting Indiana’s legal news. Film was still the medium used to capture images for the publication, and a lower-cased “i” or “e” before a word would certainly have been considered a typographical error in 1990. But advances in technology have brought changes to media as well as the practice of law, and we’ve gone through the changes and discussed the challenges and opportunities they present together. As landmark legal decisions have been made, new practice areas have developed, and notable Indiana law firms have been created, merged or ceased to exist, the editorial staff of this newspaper has done its best to reach out to the newsmakers and opinion leaders involved and shared that information with you.

During the past 22 years, some things have stayed the same. Chief Justice Randall Shepard was Indiana’s chief justice when Indiana Lawyer published its first issue in 1990. When we celebrate our 23rd anniversary, a new chief justice will be serving our state. We thank Shepard for his support of our fledgling newspaper in the early days and for all the times he has paused from his busy schedule to talk with us in the years since.

As we celebrate another year, we reflect on our mission and promise to you, our readers. It is our job – our commitment – to report legal happenings throughout the Hoosier state. Accurate, fair and balanced reporting is not just a goal, it is an expectation. Have we wished for an “editorial mulligan” from time to time so that we could pull a story back and report it a bit differently? You betcha. But as we begin our 23rd year reporting the news, our staff continues to challenge itself to reach all corners of the state and report the stories Indiana lawyers will find interesting and compelling.

Some wondered if a legal newspaper was sustainable in Indiana. Would there be enough to report every two weeks? The answer is yes. Not only does Indiana’s legal community comprise more than enough interesting people and generate enough legal news fill a newspaper, since 2007, Indiana Lawyer has also produced a daily email newsletter that allows our editorial staff to deliver breaking stories and daily reports on Indiana’s appellate court opinions, law school and bar association news, and other legal updates. If you do not currently receive this free email news service (yes, I said free), I encourage you to visit www.theIndianaLawyer.com and sign up for the IL daily.

Like any 22-year-old, the Indiana Lawyer is still growing and evolving. We are constantly evaluating our work to reflect the changing legal landscape. But one thing has not changed – from Day One we have welcomed input and ideas from our readers. Whether you’ve been with us two months or 22 years, we encourage you to contact us, we thank you for reading, and we look forward to the next 22 years together.•

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  1. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  2. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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