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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. 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.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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