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Judge, others honored around Law Day

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The Evansville Bar Association recognized a judge and others in the legal profession during two annual events that take place near Law Day.

The association honored Vanderburgh Superior Judge J. Douglas Knight April 23 with the James Bethel Gresham Award at the annual Law Day dinner hosted by the organization. The past president of the EBA and past co-chair of the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana has served as chief judge of the Vanderburgh Superior Court; supervisor of the Misdemeanor Traffic Court and Small Claims Court; and as court technology supervisor. Prior to becoming a judge in 1987, he worked in private practice and as a deputy prosecutor.

"Judge Knight's guidance, insight, and countless hours of dedicated work serves as an example to all of us of the importance of opening the courts and encouraging attorney pro bono service," said Shawn M. Sullivan, president of the EBA, in a statement.

Judge Knight is a member of the Indiana Supreme Court's Records Management Committee, Task Force on Public Access to Court Records and Privacy, the Protection Order Committee, and the Evansville/ Vanderburgh County Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence.

On April 21, the EBA and Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwest Indiana recognized attorneys P. Michael Mitchell and R. Scott Wylie; legal secretary Teresa Koch; and paralegal Lauren Hall Jones other attorneys and legal staff.

Mitchell, of Bamberger Foreman Oswald and Hahn, received the EBA and Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwest Indiana's Susan K. Helfrich Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service.

He presented it for "the attorney or law firm whose actions exemplify a true commitment to making justice accessible to all individuals, regardless of economic ability," according to an EBA statement. "Mitchell donated over 50 hours of pro bono service in 2009, often taking cases that he believed the person was being treated unfairly."

Wylie who works for the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwest Indiana, received the Doran Perdue Service Award for his service to the EBA. Wylie helped implement a law clinic for pro se litigants with family law issues. That clinic is considered to be a model for other counties.

Wylie is also an active member of the Boards of Centro Latino for Literacy, the Legal Aid Society of Evansville, Families Thru International Adoption, Lampion Center, Vanderburgh Community Foundation, New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, Hoosier Salon and Gallery, and USI/New Harmony Foundation.

Koch, who works at Bamberger Foreman Oswald and Hahn, received the Florence Britzius Award, which recognizes legal secretaries who have shown outstanding commitment to the profession and the legal community. Koch helped organize, prepare, and revise a number of exams for legal secretaries in Indiana, and encourages others to become certified.

Jones received the EBA Outstanding Paralegal Award, which was established in 2009. Jones is currently a member and holds leadership positions on a number of national and state paralegal associations.

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  3. 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.

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