Indy attorney Joe Hogsett tapped for U.S. Attorney post

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When Indianapolis attorney Joe Hogsett received the news Wednesday that he’d been chosen by President Barack Obama to be the next U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, he wasn’t in court or handling a client’s legal matters.

The senior partner at Bingham McHale was walking out of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, where he’s on vacation for his 12-year-old son’s weeklong baseball tournament.

“Walking out of the home of baseball when you get a call about the president giving you such an honor… You can’t get any more American and patriotic than that,” the 53-year-old lawyer told Indiana Lawyer within an hour of the White House announcement about 7:15 p.m. “What a uniquely American experience, and I’m so extremely honored to be thought of for this.”

Limited in what he says publicly about the job prior to getting Senate approval, Hogsett said he’s looking forward to the confirmation process and will leave comments about why he applied for the post until that’s complete. He’s honored the president would tap him for such a critically important post, which hasn’t had a presidentially appointed leader in nearly three years.

The most recent confirmed leader was Susan Brooks, who left in October 2007 to take a general counsel spot at Ivy Tech Community College. Longtime second-in-command and previous interim leader Tim Morrison took over that role temporarily until a new nominee could be found.

For the Southern District, the U.S. Attorney manages a staff of about 80 people that includes roughly 30 lawyers. Morrison said the office in recent years typically handles an average 1,300 new civil cases and 1,300 pending ones, 350 new criminal cases and about the same number of pending ones, as well as about 2,000 active financial litigation cases that have collected about $20.1 million in the past three years.

Indiana’s Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh had recommended Hogsett, who’s been practicing since 1981 and had previously served as chief of staff and senior advisor to Bayh during his governorship. Hogsett has long been expected to be the choice for the post, given his experience in working with Bayh in the past, his time as the state Democratic Party chairman several years ago and his service as Secretary of State during Bayh’s time as governor.

Bayh praised the nominee’s experience, intellect, and temperament and highlighted Hogsett’s supervision of numerous fraud prosecutions during his time as Sectary of State.

Hogsett now handles individual employment contracts, non-compete agreements, sexual harassment and retaliation claims, and immigration compliance, and he defends businesses in employment discrimination and civil rights litigation at the state and federal levels. He also assists the firm’s government department in advising Hoosier cities, towns, and counties on various issues. Hogsett graduated from what is now the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington.

Now, Hogsett faces a confirmation process that requires U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee approval and confirmation by the full Senate. Spokesman Brian Weiss in Bayh’s office in Washington, D.C., said there isn’t a set timetable for when the Senate might take action on the nomination, but it could take longer with the pending confirmation of Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the U.S. Supreme Court. Some have generally speculated that the process might wrap up by year’s end, when Bayh leaves office after his decision to not return to the Senate.

If confirmed this year, Hogsett would be the state’s second new U.S. Attorney following the Senate’s approval in May for interim leader David Capp to take that position for the Northern District of Indiana, following the elevation of Joseph Van Bokkelen to the federal bench in mid-2007.


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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.