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Knox County Bar memorializes lawyer

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Bar Crawl is Indiana Lawyer’s section highlighting bar association news around the state. We try to include bar association news and trends in our regular stories, but we want to include more news from specialty and county bars. If you’d like to submit an update about your bar association or a photo from an event your bar association has hosted to Indiana Lawyer, or if you have questions about having your bar association news included in the newspaper, please send it to Rebecca Berfanger, rberfanger@ibj.com, along with contact information for any follow up questions at least two weeks in advance of the issue date.

The Knox County Bar Association adopted a resolution to memorialize former Indiana State Bar Association president E. Rabb Emison in mid-November. Emison died in September. He was 85.

“Although he was widely known and honored, Rabb had a special love for his community and the lawyers he practiced with and against all of whom were treated with respect and unfailing courtesy,” the resolution stated. “Rabb’s quick wit, infectious smile, and enthusiasm for life enriched all of us who knew him.

“Retired from the active practice of law, Rabb continued his community involvement working tirelessly for projects that would benefit Vincennes and Knox County. He was instrumental in getting the Walnut Grove project adjacent to the William Henry Harrison Mansion to become a reality.

“The Knox County Bar, indeed Knox County and Vincennes, will miss E. Rabb Emison. It does hereby extend its collective condolences to Kathleen, Susan, Anne, and Gordon, and to all members of the extended Emison family. Rabb was a genuinely unique person who will not be easily forgotten.

“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Knox County Bar Association hereby memorializes in perpetuity the life and accomplishments of E. Rabb Emison and extends to each member of his family its expression of sympathy and loss,” the resolution stated.

In the resolution, the bar association also recognized Emison for his contributions to the ISBA, of which he served as president from 1986 to 1987. He was perhaps best known for his efforts to improve diversity in the Indiana legal community. An ISBA award was named for him and is given to other attorneys who follow his lead.

The resolution also mentions the more than 50 columns he wrote for the ISBA publication “Res Gestae.” Those columns were unlike others because instead of writing about the law, he wrote about how to be a better lawyer.•

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  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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