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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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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