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IndyBar: I am humbled

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Kelley J. Johnson, 2013 Indianapolis Bar Foundation President Cohen & Malad, LLP
 

johnson-kelly--iba Johnson

I tell my 6-year-old and my 8-year-old that being your Indianapolis Bar Foundation President is a very, very important job and a big responsibility. My kids, however, seem unimpressed at my undertaking and, without fail, do their best to keep me humble. They constantly tell me that I am old; that I am weird; and no matter how many Top 40 songs I can sing back to them – that I am so not cool.

During my service this year as your Foundation President, I am also continually humbled by all of you – IndyBar members – albeit in a much nicer way than my children. As you know, our Foundation helps fund incredible IndyBar programs and initiatives, as well as the yearly Impact Fund grant that is awarded to a deserving community initiative. However, without you, our Foundation simply would not exist without each of your generous donations. I know that, too, and yet I am still humbled by your acts of generosity.

For example, in May I attended the graduation of Bar Leader Series Class X, where each team of five young attorneys presented their successes, challenges and benefits they gave to others during their self-created community service projects. The BLS graduations are a much anticipated celebration after these attorneys, in addition to their paying jobs, work on developing and executing these projects during the nine-month series. As I was leaving the half-day celebration, one of the class members approached me and handed me a wad – and I do mean a wad – of cash that Class X put together to donate to the Foundation. It was their day, and yet they thought of the Foundation. Wow! I was humbled.

In another instance of humility, one of our judicial members recently received an award from the prestigious Richard Lugar Excellence in Public Service Series, which came with an honorarium. This judge generously donated her honoraria to the Foundation. Again, I was humbled.

For the first time at Bench Bar, our Foundation Board of Directors sought to raise visibility and money for the Foundation and again, you IndyBar members didn’t disappoint. We had over 100 members play at our Trivia Night with our volunteer hosts James Bell and Adam Christensen. We also had overwhelming participation in the raffle drawings conducted at dinner and during the trivia night. We recognized those who previously donated to the Foundation with distinct lanyards. Many of you traded in your regular lanyards for the Impact of One lanyards, showing your pride for the Foundation. You came through again. I was humbled.

I have yet to mention the numerous law firms that are contributing to our Lawyer Links Classic this month and our Evening Under the Stars gala in September, in addition to the several, unsolicited individual donations that have come in through the mail, in person and through our online donation link.

Thank you, to each and every one of you who have donated to your Foundation this year. Most importantly, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping me humble and being a little bit nicer than my kids in doing so.•

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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