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Indiana has new ALJ chapter

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Two state government attorneys have founded the Indiana chapter of the National Association of Administrative Law Judiciary. Their goal is to organize and connect those individuals in the state who are working in an ALJ capacity.

A kickoff luncheon on Nov. 4 marked the beginning of the organization’s new Hoosier affiliate, which joins more than a dozen other jurisdictions with local chapters. The NAALJ is a non-profit entity founded in Illinois in 1974, and it describes itself as the “largest professional organization devoted exclusively to administrative adjudication within the executive branch of government.”

The national organization says its mission is “to promote an impartial, professional administrative judiciary that adheres to high ethical standards and furthers the recognition and understanding of its necessary role in the function of government.”

In Indiana, attorneys Linda B. Klain and Catherine Gibbs – both ALJs in the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Adjudication – founded the Hoosier chapter after seeing firsthand the loose network of ALJs who work in the state.

“We have many talented, career people who aren’t lawyers working as administrative law judges in many state and even federal branches of government,” said Klain, who’s been a part-time ALJ for about three years. “But we really don’t know how many there are, because everyone’s kind of practicing in isolation on the basis that we’re supposed to be independent and neutral. We just don’t communicate and it’s all word of mouth without much structure.”

Currently, Indiana’s state agencies use ALJs on a case-by-case basis, and no one tracks their use on a statewide basis. Each agency must be contacted, but not every agency keeps accurate tabs on how many ALJs it uses in a given year. A study determined the state had more than 50 ALJs within various agencies at one point in 2008, but the examination wasn’t comprehensive and didn’t include all departments.

Klain hopes the group can organize to connect and meet other ALJs to discuss issues and trends, as well as increase professionalism and education. One potential area of discussion involves centralizing ALJs, as well as whether individuals serving in that role should be lawyers. Those are topics the Indiana General Assembly has studied in recent years, but no revision of the state’s existing ALJ process has occurred.

“Some things are universal no matter where you practice as an ALJ,” Klain said. “We hope this will be a positive force in our agencies and in the legal community.”

The next organizational meeting will be in December, though a date has not been set. Klain said the group will discuss potential bylaws and organizational structure, with an advisor from the Kentucky chapter present. Attorney and non-lawyer ALJs are welcome to attend, and more information can be obtained by contacting Klain at 317-518-1100.
 

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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