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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. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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