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ISBA hikes member dues at annual meeting

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Hundreds of attorneys and judges converged on Indianapolis for two days this week, attending the Indiana State Bar Association annual meeting.

The annual conference, this year at the Hyatt in downtown Indianapolis, offered multiple educational sessions during the day Thursday and Friday, while the ISBA's House of Delegates voted on policy matters and reflected on the past year before new officers took over for the next year.

At the delegate meeting this morning, the ISBA approved without any opposition the first dues hike in eight years. Earlier this year, ISBA President Bill Jonas appointed a special committee to examine the issue of increasing dues, particularly what impact it could have on members during the tough economic times. The committee recommended a $45 to $55 increase, and the governing board recommended a $50 annual increase for members serving six or more years. Other members will see various increases, depending on their membership classification.

The increase takes effect in May and amounts to a 21.74 percent hike - compared to the past three increases of 24 percent, 27 percent, and 27 percent, respectively. This hike puts Indiana somewhere in the middle nationally of dues amounts, and it's expected to bring in about $428,170 in additional income, Jonas said.

"We know these are difficult economic times for everyone, but we have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure the budget is adequately funded so that we can continue offering services and programs," Jonas said.

Delegates also amended the ISBA bylaws, allowing for what has traditionally been an annual audit to be conducted every two years because of the cost involved.

In other business, Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard praised the Hoosier legal community in relation to the difficult economy, recognizing the many efforts that have materialized even as the state's judiciary saw more than 2 million filings for the first time ever in trial courts. U.S. Magistrate Judge Tim Baker also asked the delegates to recognize Rep. Ed DeLaney, an Indianapolis attorney brutally attacked last week.

Following that morning meeting, new board members for 2009-2011 were announced at the ISBA luncheon where Jonas handed the presidency over to Roderick Morgan, a partner at Bingham McHale in Indianapolis, who is the bar association's first African-American president.

The ISBA meeting culminates tonight at 6 p.m. with the Randall T. Shepard Award Reception and Dinner, recognizing and awarding the legal profession's pro bono efforts during the past year.

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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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