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Institution's lawyer finds client a hybrid

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In-House Counsel

Kiply Drew knows her job as an in-house counsel for the one of the country’s top 100 universities means every day is different.

That’s why the associate general counsel at Indiana University can don any number of fun titles colleagues use when referring to the type of work she does each day: the construction queen, eviction queen, and mold or storm water queen. On occasion, she might even have to become a “mattress attorney” to navigate the varying legal issues that have come before her in the 16 years she’s been with the Bloomington-based school.

While those designations bring laughs internally and are all in good fun, they serve as gentle reminders for Drew about how quickly her job can change with every phone call or e-mail.
 

drew-kip Indiana University associate general counsel Kiply Drew has worked at the Bloomington campus for 16 years after leaving private practice. She said you have to be prepared for anything. (Photo submitted)

“You truly never know what comes with the next phone call,” she said. “You have to be prepared for anything, and the word ‘generalist’ almost doesn’t cover everything you have to become a mini-expert on. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Drew’s 21-year career has taken her from private practice to the corporate counsel arena, and paved the way for her most recent application and interview for an opening at the Indiana Supreme Court where she clerked right after law school. Though she was one of nine semi-finalists considered for the post and didn’t make the final cut, Drew has no regrets and said the experience has at least caused her to reflect more on her role in the legal community

“It’s probably too soon to speculate what kind of impact this may have on my career,” she said. “Being selected as a semi-finalist and contemplating the prospect of actually joining them on the court was exciting and inspiring. But being in-house at IU has been so varied, so interesting and, frankly, so all-consuming that I have not given much thought to pursuing a career change.”

Graduating in 1989 from what’s now Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington, Drew took her first position clerking for Justice Roger DeBruler on the state’s highest court before going to work for the environmental group at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis. She returned to her beloved Bloomington in February 1994 as an associate at Andrews Harrell Mann Chapman & Coyne, but within a few months Drew’s career took a decisive, unexpected turn.

Associate general counsel Alvin York at IU died of a heart attack and the university asked the Bloomington firm to help. Drew took on the task, assigned to help the university’s legal department assess and complete what York had been working on at the time of his death. She spent half days at IU billing the university as a firm client, and then went back to the firm for the afternoons to tend to her other clients.

That summer, IU decided to expand the legal department and add another lawyer. Drew wondered about applying but wasn’t planning on it until her husband nudged her to do so. She started Aug. 1, 1994, joining four other associate general counsels.

In her in-house role, Drew has handled a wide variety of legal issues and describes herself as one of the few remaining “general practitioners” left. Some of the lawyers have specific topics they might know best, and the team turns to them first, but they all have some level of familiarity with those topics, Drew said. For example, when she started, her background in environmental law meant that she was the environmental lawyer for a time. That led to her titles of “mold queen” and “storm water queen.” Since then, she’s taken on more of a focus with construction issues, Drew said.

“As time passes, you develop these areas of expertise that maybe started out because of a cold call from someone at the university,” she said. “Then, they call you first the next time something comes up.”

For the most interesting aspects of her job, Drew immediately perks up when talking about constitutional issues. She sees situations ranging from due process and housing rights to police force search-and-seizure issues. With the university grounds being public places and being state-owned, they always have to be mindful of what might be constitutionally off limits. Drew recalls the past presidential election when two candidates visited and rented Assembly Hall for speeches, and the legal team had to make sure they weren’t infringing on any legalities there.

First Amendment issues have been challenging and engaging to her personally, and she enjoys that work the most. But aside from all that, Drew also deals with budget topics and contracting, and those three elements are what she says makes the job unique for the in-house world.

“Universities are a hybrid creature, and I like that variety the best,” she said. “We’re very comparable to a small city or corporation, but we’re not and in many ways and are very corporate in some of our dealings.”

On the flip side, she said one aspect she enjoys the least is being the “eviction queen” when it comes to removing students from campus. Drew pointed out that IU is known as the “nicest landlord in town” for allowing students to remain through the end of a semester.

Then there are other issues that arise at a moment’s notice, Drew said in reflecting on one instance in particular. At the time, she’d been caught up on a constitutional free-speech issue about how demonstrations could take place on campus. Drew was at her desk working when she heard a “ping” from her computer regarding a new e-mail.

“I turned around to look at the e-mail that didn’t have any subject line or context, just asked a question: ‘Can we sell used mattresses?’” Drew said. “I blinked my eyes and didn’t know what to think.”

Picking up the phone, she learned that the employee was asking how the IU hotel – that was buying all new mattresses – could dispose of the used ones. Her research taught her that the university could sell them, as long as they met health department regulations.

“Thankfully, that’s the only time I’ve had to be a mattress lawyer. But it just shows that you have to be prepared for anything,” she said.

She also directs and acts as university liaison to outside counsel who are hired to represent IU in litigation. That means reviewing and drafting documents that have to be filed in state and federal courts, and she keeps her internal clients informed about the case status.

“We’re about problem prevention, rather than disaster recovery,” she said. “That means always having to look at would could be a small problem now but turn into something bigger down the road.”

Her boss, vice president and general counsel Dottie Frapwell, said Drew is a crucial member of the legal team that can’t be replaced. She echoed the thoughts that the in-house lifestyle is much different than a traditional law firm or public sector position in many ways, but it’s also the same in other situations.

“Being a university general counsel, you’ve got to know a little about everything,” she said. “Some have said it’s like rowing on a river that’s a mile wide and an inch deep, and no single day is the same.”

For Drew, being able to walk around the campus and see her legal work transformed into practical results is what she enjoys the most about her position. When she enters the IU Auditorium and sees murals on the walls that were refurbished about a decade ago, she knows that her work with people at the museum and consortium to get that done was a critical component.

“When I go in there and look at those murals, I feel like I had a part of that,” she said. “That experience of being able to look around and see that you contributed to something, you know that you’re part of something good.”•

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  1. This guy sounds like the classic molester/manipulator.

  2. Louis D. Brandeis was born in 1856. At 9 years of age it would have been 1865. The Brandeis family did not own slaves. My source Louis D. Brandeis: A Life, by Melvin L. Urofsky.

  3. My name is Matthew Lucas Major, I recently went through a jury trial in Bloomington , In. It was the week of Feb 19-21. Although I have been incarcerated since August 5, 2014. The reason I 'am writing to you sir is on the 21 of February the jury came in with a very excessive and wrongful verdict of guilty on 6 child molesting charges against my daughter who was 9 at the time I was accused. I also had 2 other Felonies one of Intimidation and 1 of Sexual Vicarious Gratification. Judge Marc Kellam on the second day of trial gave me a not guilty on those 2 felonies. The jury was sent out during that time and when brought back Judge Kellam told them to not concern themselves with the 2 Felonies that he ruled on them. They were told to not let evidence they had already heard influence there verdicts. I never in my life touched any child sexually and definitely not with my own daughter. When I was arrested Detective Shawn Karr told me I would be convicted guilty just on my daughters word even without evidence. That's just what happened. my public defender did me so wrong he never once proved to the court and jury all the lies the child told, and Jeremy Noel my public defender could of proven the lies easily. The stories in Serenity's depositions and Forensic interview changed and were not consistent as Prosecutor Darcie Fawcett claimed they were. Yet my attorney never mentioned that. The facts that the child accused me of full penetration in her vagina and rectum was proven lies. Doctor Roberta Hibbard of Riley hospital in Indianapolis confirmed Serenity's hymen intact, no scars, no tearing, no signs of rape to her. Yet my attorney didn't use that knowledge . the DNA was all in my favor. I tell you I will spend my entire life in prison going through rape and beatings etc. even Judge Kellam abused his authority by telling the jurors to listen and believe what the prosecutors side in evidence like my daughters testimony. In one interview with the detectives my daughter got flustered with her mom and said on camera " I'm saying what you told me to mom"!! Yet Mr. Noel said nor did anything to even resemble a defense attorney. Judge Kellam allowed edited version of a taped conversation between the child and her mother. Also Judge Kellam allowed the Prosecutor too bring in to my case a knife found under my seat, the knife wasn't part of my case. She was allowed by my attorney and the judge to put a huge picture of it on the screen and huge picture of my naked privates in a full courtroom and open court. Ms. Fawcett says to jury see how easy Mr. Major could reach the knife and cut his Childs throat. Even though I had no weapons charge against these cases. This gave the jurors prejudice thought against me thinking I threatened her with that knife and how scared she would of been knowing i could get it and kill her. On my sentencing court March 19, 2014 my public defender told Judge Kellam he wish to resign from being my attorney and wished for the court to give me outside council to file a error to trial or appeal. We were denied. Now after openly knowing my public defender don't want to represent me he has to. Well when as parents we make our kids clean a room when they really don't wish to, well the child will but don't mean she will do a good job, that's where I'm at with Mr. Noel. please dont ignore mine and my families pleas for your help . we have all the legal proof you could need to prove Im innocent. Please dont make my spend years in prison innocent when you can fix this wrong. Im not saying Im a perfect man or that I was a perfect dad to my 2 children none of us are. Ive made some bad choices in life and I paid for them. But I didnt ever touch or rape my daughter . I love my children with all my heart. And now through needing attention and a ex-wife who told my granny several times she wish she could put me in prison to get me out of their lives. Well my ex finally accomplished her goal. Sad part is she is destroying our daughter with all this horrific lies and things she taught my daughter to say. My daughter will need therapist to ever hope for a chance of a normal life after what she had done to her by her mom and their side of the family. My daughter told everyone even on stand she had a dream months before i supposedly molested her in this dream I was molesting her and when I finally did it matched her dream perfectly. She admitted to watching movies about little girls being molested and watching U-Tube videos about child molesting all before it happened supposedly to her. Doesn't that sound very unusual that a non molested 9 yr old would need to know so much about being molested? The only reason I could think a 9 year old would need so much information is to be prepared to know what to say and be able to say how it felt what took place etc.. So when questioned by authorities she would be prepared. And there again sir if a parent is pre grooming a 9 year old child she would need intimate details . Like telling her daughter about a couple moles on my private area. The child admitted to sneaking my cell and looking many many times at nudes of me and my girlfriend even one where my penis was entering my girlfriends vagina. In that picture my moles are obvious. Yet when prosecutor showed everyone in court my privates and pictures of the moles she said the only way the child would know about them is if she saw them for herself. My attorney once again said nothing about the pictures my child saw. Or could a ex-wife be able to describe my moles to help her case against getting rid of me? I beg you help me. This is my very existence. Ive lost everything , a good job, a wonderful girlfriend, my freedom, but worse thing Ive lost is my children. They were my reason to get up every morning and strive to be better. The wonderful bond I had with my Serenity is gone. After this I would be afraid to even hug her for fear of what next can they do to me. I'm not afraid to tell you I sit here in this cell and try to hold back my tears. Everyone knows you cant show weakness in prison. My life has already been threatened here at Wabash Valley Prison. After only 3 days of arrival. I was tricked into signing a waiver now Im in G Block General Population with 6 child molesting felony charges. Mrs. Hart as a 18 year old I almost died hooked to machines in hospital almost 1 month and now I know that fear was childish compared to this . I cant help but put emotions in this, after all Mrs. Hart Im human and God help Me I never been more afraid in my life. I didnt hurt my little girl I didnt touch her sexually. As much as it shreds me and fills my mind what Im facing I worry more about my mom and granny because of their great love for me mam they are suffering so deeply. I aint done this things but my loved ones suffering right along beside me and If you take my case you will be in essence freeing them also. I sent momma this letter and asked her to email it to you. I'm scared I have been done so unjustly by our legal system and I need you to fix this and give me freedom. I ask you please don't just ignore my pleas. Here in America its nice to be able to trust our legal justice system, well they destroyed my and my loved ones trust in our justice system . And I'm trusting in You !!! My entire family is suffering this nightmare with me. My 77 year old granny had a stroke and isn't doing so well. My single mother that raised 3 kids alone is dying from Lupus and since my arrest has stayed so sick and weary. Our lives torn to peices by a government I was taught I could trust in. my momma has tried so many innocent project and wrongfully accused and cant get anywhere. please please help me. A quote from the late Nelson Mandela: To be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, But to live in a way that respects and enhances The Freedom Of Others. I have Faith in you and your clinic to cast my chains off and give me freedom I do deserve as a wrongfully accused Man, son, brother, father, friend. Matthew Major DOC# 246179 Cause # : 53c02-1308-FA-000779 God Bless you. Please contact me with your decision so I know you made a life changing decision for me , just please at least write me so I know you care enough about your citizens to respond to cries for your help. You can speak openly with my mother Charlotte Spain (828) 476-0406: 71 Lakeview Dr. Canton, NC 28716 Thank You Matthew Major I know yall get thousands of request and inmates claiming innocence, and each person who are innocent deserve to have organizations like yours willing to fight for them and I give yall so much Thanks and I thank God everyday yall are out there caring enough to help free the innocents. Since discovering firsthand how easily lives and families can be destroyed by Poor Defense attorneys not doing their job . And Prosecutors allowed to do as they please in court

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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