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Justice finalists to students: Be careful on Facebook

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The three finalists to be the next justice on the Indiana Supreme Court offered advice to aspiring attorneys Thursday that included a caution about what they post on their Facebook pages and social networks.

Hamilton Superior Judge Steve Nation, Taft partner Geoffrey Slaughter and Tippecanoe Superior Judge Loretta Rush said they were required to provide their Facebook and social media user names and passwords as part of their vetting when they were interviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission.

The three participated in an hour-long panel discussion at the IU McKinney School of Law attended by about 30 students. The forum was sponsored by the McKinney Office of Professional Development.

Each of the candidates talked about their experience in law and answered questions from OPD associate director Sean Southern and during a Q&A session with students.

Nation advised students to become active in practice as much as possible.

“I think you need to go ahead and see the law and see the practice of law and how it’s accomplished,” Nation said, noting that most people have a misunderstanding of how the judicial system works based on what they see in popular culture.

“You need to respect the other people in the system,” he said. “You’re there to resolve conflict for your clients, and sometimes that is not done by going to court.”

Rush told students that the relationships they make in law school will follow them through their careers, and that an attorney’s reputation is formed in large part by how she relates with others inside the system and out.

“Link yourself up with people you admire,” Rush advised. “You’re going to be dealing with these attorneys for a long time. … How you treat your fellow attorneys will stick with you.”

Rush encouraged students to view the online applications that she, Nation and Slaughter had to file to be considered for the Supreme Court vacancy. “Our whole past comes back,” she said. “Every little thing you do to make our profession look better helps.”

Slaughter said students should seek out opportunities to help those most in need and not to be driven solely by the desire to make money. “We have an obligation beyond simply pursuing our own interests and maximizing financial benefits only for ourselves,” he said.

“Billable hours and money are the lifeblood of a law firm,” he said, “but some of the most gratifying work for me has been pro bono.”

He quipped that his application allowed him to share about himself, “I’m a patron of lost athletic causes – I root for I.U. football and the Chicago Cubs.” He said he was advised, “that reflects a tremendous lack of judgment on my part.”

Slaughter, Rush and Nation encouraged students to take an active role in local bar associations and be active in their communities outside the legal profession.

The finalists each have been interviewed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Frank Sullivan, who began teaching at I.U. McKinney School of Law in the fall term. Daniels has until Oct. 16 to name a new justice, his third appointment to the court.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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