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IndyBar: Interrogatories - Eric Schmadeke

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By Tyler D. Helmond, Voyles Zahn & Paul

Eric Schmadeke
Densborn Blachly LLP

He is a graduate of Indiana University and the IU McKinney School of Law. He was a Marion County Deputy Prosecutor before joining Densborn Blachly LLP. He is a 2013 Indiana Lawyer “Up and Coming Lawyer.” He is Eric Schmadeke, and he has been served with interrogatories.

Q:You recently transitioned from prosecuting criminal cases to civil litigation in private practice. What has been the hardest part about that?
A:Without a doubt – sitting down and typing.  Trials and contested hearings were once the routine; now it feels like I am going out for ice cream every time I get to argue on my feet. The rule jockeying which seems to plague civil litigation can become a little arduous at times too.  I really believe good outcomes would happen more often for our clients if we all focused on the merits a little more and rules ending in something like (m)(38)(P)(xxi) a little less.   

Q:…and the easiest part?
A:Transitioning from a job where I was surrounded by incredibly talented, hard-working and honest lawyers who would rather be hit by a bus than let down their victims, to a job where I am surrounded by incredibly talented, hard-working and honest lawyers who would rather be hit by a bus than let down their clients.

Q:Your office is now on the north side instead of downtown. What are your feelings about that?
A:Densborn Blachly LLP built a first-class modern law office as appealing and fun to work in as any other I have ever seen, and it is quite nice to walk into a place like that every day.  It also happens to be on the north side where I have grown up and currently reside, along with a lot of our clients too. 

On the other hand, I do miss the energy of downtown.  There was always just a touch of excitement that came with the uncertainty of what you might see that day, good or bad.  Am I going to be accosted by a vagabond whose breath smells like after-shave or see a couple silently and tearfully embrace on the sidewalk after learning their adoption has just been finalized?  Or both?  You never knew.  That is what I miss. 

Q:Describe your technology setup.
A:Smart phone, laptop, and docking station with dual monitors.  Big fan of the dual monitors.  Densborn Blachly LLP also makes use of cutting-edge practice management technologies that utilize the cloud.  The firm decided to make a commitment to staying ahead of the tech curve.  So far, that bet has paid off big time for us and our clients. 

Q:If you could bring one historically notable dead person back to life, who would it be and why?
A:Mark Twain.  He said of Jane Austen, “Every time I read ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”  If that is how he reviewed a novel about manners, I am dying to know what he would have to say regarding the 113th United States Congress, or TMZ.com.  It would also be fun to ask him why he kept reading ‘Pride and Prejudice.’

Q:Who is the most challenging judge you have practiced before?
A:Tough one.  It would be easier to name judges who would describe my practice before them as “most challenging.”   By the way, did you choose an adjective that means both inspiring and impudent on purpose?  If so, well played – but I am not biting. 

Q:You have tried more than 75 juries in a relatively short career, and rumor has it, you are pretty hard to beat.  What’s the secret?
A:First, there is no secret.  I am merely the common denominator.  It is truly the work of the investigators, paralegals, expert witnesses, administrative staff and co-counsel who have supported, taught and tolerated me over the years who won these cases.  Second, I would like to ask my grandmother to stop spreading rumors.

However, imagining for the moment that there is a “secret” recipe to win juries, I suspect it would read something like:

Six parts – good facts;
Five parts – preparation;
Four parts – co-counsel and support staff (only the finest quality);
Three parts – jury selection;
Two parts – persuasive story-telling and the cogent use of analogies to make relevant facts relatable;
One part – Providence, and –
A dash of pluck.

Q:What is your favorite Indiana craft beer?
A:Sun King: Cream Ale on the golf course or Indians Lager at the ballpark.•

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  • Hero
    My daughter called Mr Schmadeke a super hero in a tie after he successfully prosecuted a very evil man. We wish him great success in his private practice.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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