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IndyBar: Zore, Russell Recipients of Professionalism Awards

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Gerald Zore Zore

The IndyBar Professionalism Committee has named Hon. Gerald Zore of Marion Superior Court the 2013 recipient of the Silver Gavel Award, while C. Joseph Russell has been posthumously awarded the bar’s Professionalism Award for 2013.

Both will be honored at the upcoming IndyBar Professionalism Luncheon to be held on Wednesday, September 25 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Hyatt Indianapolis. The luncheon will also feature special guest speaker Hon. Loretta Rush of the Indiana Supreme Court.

The Hon. Gerald Zore is currently the Presiding Judge of the Marion Superior Court, Probate Division, and has served as Superior Court Judge since 1974. His nomination notes, “As a judge, he is thoughtful, rules timely on matters and does not shirk his duty or recuse himself just because the matter before him is controversial or difficult.”

russell Russell

A longtime IndyBar member and volunteer, Judge Zore is also a member of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Commission on Race and Gender Fairness, the Board of Directors of Cathedral High School, the Board of Directors of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Alumni Association, and the Noble of Indiana Advisory Board. Born in Indianapolis, Judge Zore is a graduate of Cathedral High School, Marian University and the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law. A member of St. Pius X Catholic Church, Judge Zore has been married to his wife, Debra, for 32 years and they have two children: Meaghan, an attorney in San Francisco, and Matthew, a doctor in Indianapolis.

C. Joseph Russell was selected to receive the Professionalism Award posthumously after his sudden passing in July 2013. Joe was lauded as a pillar of professionalism in the legal community, with his nomination noting, “His passing was a shock, but I think everyone who knows him would agree he epitomized what this award is about. Joe was a class act and could always maintain civility in even the most contentious of cases.”

Russell was a Past President of the Indianapolis Bar Association, having served in 1999. He held numerous other positions within the bar, including roles as the IndyBar’s representative to the ABA House of Delegates from 2001 to 2007, the co-chair of the Professionalism Committee, on the executive committees of the Litigation, Environmental Law and Criminal Justice Sections, and the chair of the Bench Bar Conference. He also held positions within the Seventh Circuit Bar Association, the Hendricks County Bar Association, the Hamilton County Bar Association, the Indiana State Bar Association, Federal Community Defenders Inc., the Hamilton County Vesta Foundation for Children and Orchard Park Presbyterian Church.

Russell was a graduate of Western Kentucky University and received his J.D. from the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He is survived by his wife Betsy, an attorney at Krieg DeVault LLP, and son Marc.•

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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