IndyBar: 2017 'Suited Up' a Resounding Success

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By Dalton Thieneman, Robert H. McKinney School of Law 3L

The Indianapolis Bar Association, partnering with Starfish Initiative, hosted the second annual Suited Up “Senior Send-Off” event on Wednesday, May 10. Students not only received college and career development tips, but also newly tailored suits, thanks to generous donations from IndyBar members.

iba-suitedup1-15col.jpg Suited Up students, IndyBar volunteers and Attorney General Curtis Hill smile for a photo following the “Senior Send-Off” event on Wednesday, May 10.

This year, we were fortunate to have Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill in attendance. Attorney General Hill shared his story and advice on career development and professionalism. It was a fitting celebration recognizing the countless hours these outstanding high school seniors have put into their academic and extracurricular endeavors.

As high school freshmen, the Starfish Initiative Scholars are matched with college-educated adult mentors who help prepare them for college. These volunteer mentors serve as a “life or college coach” to keep students working toward achieving their goals, whether it be graduation from high school, college or beyond. Thanks to this one-on-one guidance, 100 percent of the Starfish Scholars who completed the four-year program have graduated from high school and 98 percent have been accepted by colleges or universities.

“Starfish Initiative is so thankful for the partnership with the Indianapolis Bar Association and the Suited Up program. One-hundred percent of the students in our program are low income, so the opportunity for them to own nice dress clothes like this would not be possible if it weren’t for Suited Up. Watching our students try on their new suits and seeing not only their excitement, but also the change in their overall self-confidence was priceless,” said Starfish Initiative Match Specialist Jordan Byrd.

Looking to the Future

The students will be attending college in the fall at universities all over the state of Indiana, pursuing majors in everything from architecture, biology, computer science, engineering, neuroscience and pre-dentistry. “The students have incredibly bright futures and we can’t wait to see the impact they will have. We are excited that Suited Up has been so successful in only year two and hope to continue growing to support more and more kids around the community,” said Suited Up Co-Founder Alex Blackwell.

iba-suitedup2-15col.jpg One-on-one help can make all the difference! Here, IndyBar volunteers, including Attorney General Curtis Hill, show students how to master the art of the tying a necktie.

Suited Up year two was a resounding success and we could not have done it without our partners, sponsors, and volunteers around the community. A special thank you to the Indianapolis Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and Law Student Division, Starfish Initiative, Lewis Wagner LLP, Classic Cleaners, Men’s Wearhouse, Hogan Transfer & Storage Corp. and the Indianapolis legal community for making all of this possible!

About Suited Up

The Suited Up program is a partnership between the Indianapolis Bar Association and Starfish Initiative. In collaboration with Classic Cleaners, Men’s Wearhouse, Hogan Transfer & Storage Corp. and the Indianapolis legal community, the program provides at-risk, economically disadvantaged college-bound students with dress attire and professional development support.

Suited Up was created two years ago by Barath Raman, an attorney at Lewis Wagner LLP and Alexandra (Alex) Blackwell, a law clerk for the Indiana Court of Appeals. Raman and Blackwell realized that attorneys, many of whom have suits that have gone unworn for years, could fill a void for talented young men and women who need dress clothes but don’t have the resources to obtain them. “These kids have overcome many hardships to go to college and their talent and achievements should be recognized. They will need suits in college for career fairs, interviews, internships, or even for formal dances; and we’re going to provide them their professional attire,” Suited Up Co-Founder Barath Raman said when asked to describe the impact of the Suited Up program.

Starfish Initiative is a mentoring program that works to inspire, encourage, and prepare academically promising, economically disadvantaged high school students for college and career success. Starfish is currently recruiting volunteer mentors to match with incoming freshmen scholars this summer, for more information on Starfish and how you can help, visit•


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  1. The voices of the prophets are more on blogs than subway walls these days, Dawn. Here is the voice of one calling out in the wilderness ... against a corrupted judiciary ... that remains corrupt a decade and a half later ... due to, so sadly, the acquiescence of good judges unwilling to shake the forest ... for fear that is not faith ..

  2. So I purchased a vehicle cash from the lot on West Washington in Feb 2017. Since then I found it the vehicle had been declared a total loss and had sat in a salvage yard due to fire. My title does not show any of that. I also have had to put thousands of dollars into repairs because it was not a solid vehicle like they stated. I need to find out how to contact the lawyers on this lawsuit.

  3. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  4. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  5. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.