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Ladendorf takes helm as ITLA president

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Mark Ladendorf is a small-firm attorney who’s never shied away from taking the big cases. The Indianapolis personal-injury lawyer leads Ladendorf & Ladendorf, a practice of five attorneys – three of them in the family.

Ladendorf recently was named president of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association for 2013-2014. Here’s what he had to say in a recent Q&A with Indiana Lawyer, touching on the personal and the professional.

Q. Taking office as president of Indiana Trial Lawyers Association in May and serving until next April, what would you like members to know about you?

il-mark-ladendorf01-15col.jpg New Indiana Trial Lawyers Association President Mark Ladendorf of Ladendorf & Ladendorf takes great pride in serving those who need representation when the odds are stacked against them. (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

A. Born and raised in Hammond, Ind., the oldest of four children, I learned the value of hard work at an early age. My first jobs included the steel mills, a chemical plant, a railroad yard and working as a mechanic’s assistant at a diesel trucking garage. These blue-collar endeavors gave me real-world experiences in the various walks of life that would be forthcoming. Most importantly, they taught me the value of a higher education and what it would mean in my future.

Q. What are some major practice concerns for trial lawyers that you’ll talk about during your term as president?

A. I view my role as a facilitator for the growth of the ITLA in the many endeavors in which we already partake. Our outreach includes legislative, administrative, PAC, interaction with the judiciary, fundraising, CLE seminars and social events. All of these efforts are undertaken with the promotion of a strong civil justice system in mind. With the pervasive overview of the ITLA in the many aspects of the legal profession, I will attempt to balance many roles and bring my 33 years of legal experience to the table.

I feel fortunate to serve my administration under the guidance of Micki Wilson, Jason Bell, Lindsay Meyer and Bridget Gross as well as the executive committee who steer this great organization.

Q. If you had to give a brief “State of the ITLA” address, what would you say?

A. The practice of law is ever-changing: dynamic, creative, far-reaching and something that never rests. We must address the issues at hand to make sure we are doing the right thing for our clients and the citizens of Indiana. We have been given great responsibility in society to right the wrongs that are so easily inflicted on those who need us most.

Q. What is your favorite thing about being a trial lawyer?

A. I take great pride in being a trial lawyer, not for myself, but for being able to serve others who seek representation when the odds are stacked against them. Not that I have a “Robin Hood” persona, but it is always gratifying to assist someone who needs you most, especially against some of our society’s most powerful interests.

Q. We see that your son Lance joined Ladendorf & Ladendorf not too long ago, and you also work alongside your brother Dan. What’s that dynamic like?

A. Having Lance and “Uncle Dan” with me has been a blessing and a challenge. Dan is extremely competent and creative in the law and legislative endeavors, and Lance has a keen insight into the kind of lawyer he wants to become. The future looks bright.

Q. Staying with family for a moment, what in your mind is the difference between fatherly advice and legal advice?

A. Fatherly advice is tougher as sometimes you walk a fine line between reason and logic on one hand, and on the other, emotions and love. Combining all of these into a positive energy is a life-long journey that every parent hopes to attain.

Q. Besides Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” who’s your favorite fictional lawyer?

A. I enjoyed Harrison Ford in his role in “Regarding Henry.” Sometimes it doesn’t matter when the truth surfaces, as long as it does.

Q. We are granting you the imaginary power to change or enact one law in the state of Indiana. What’s your pleasure?

A. I would overturn Stanley v. Walker as it unfairly benefits the insurance industry while punishing the injured party who paid premiums for health insurance coverage. A close second would be to abolish the Medical Review Panel which has no purpose in tort law other than to delay cases indefinitely and allow the “fox to guard the henhouse.”

Q. Your son came out of law school at a time when many people are concerned about the future of legal education and prospects for careers in law. What would you tell a young person considering law school?

A. I would agree that it is much more difficult to graduate from law school today and engage in a legal career than it was 33 years ago. Having said that, there are enormous opportunities for a person who holds a legal degree as it is the most versatile degree in society. Go forth and serve and good things will happen.

Q. If you had not become a lawyer, what would you be doing?

A. I would be a psychology professor doubling as a basketball coach at a small college in northern Michigan.

Q. What’s your assessment of civility among attorneys today compared with when you entered the profession?

A. There is not as much camaraderie today as there was years ago. This can account for the difficulties in amicably resolving a case.

Q. Is there one particular case you’ve worked on that stands out as the most difficult?

A. By far, the toughest case I worked on was seeing my friend and fellow attorney, Joan Irick, pass as a result of malpractice. To everyone who knew Joan, she was a terrific person and consummate professional. My representation of her in the last years of her life was one of the most heartbreaking and wrenching experiences I have been part of. She will be endeared and missed forever.

Q. You’re working one very high-profile case at the moment, representing a motorcycle victim of a crash involving Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officer David Bisard. Any tips on smaller firms like yours taking on resource-heavy cases?

A. My advice would be to circle the wagons, my friend. Strap on your seatbelt and get ready to ride the tide for a long upheaval in a case you will become far too familiar with. Be prepared for power struggles and always fight for your cause, your client and for justice. Remember, nothing good comes easy.

Q. Something that hardly anyone knows about me is that I am a huge fan of _____.

A. Butterflies and birds because they can fly and I can’t.

Q. The philosophy that best describes my outlook on life is:

A. I wish I could say something clever such as that written by a far Eastern philosopher, but “The Serenity Prayer” is the best I can do. It simply says: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Also remember that all glory is fleeting. Never be too high on yourself or too low. Try to find a balance.

Q. Got any summer vacation plans?

A. By the time you read this, I will hopefully be catching a big walleye for shore lunch with Lance netting it. I also hope to take a family trip to a ranch in Montana to reaffirm the fact that I was never meant to be a cowboy.

Q. Any closing remarks?

A. I would like to thank everyone who stood by me in my life, especially my wife, Debi, my children, Lance, Luke and Hannah; and my parents, Bob and Shirley Ladendorf. •

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  1. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

  2. Low energy. Next!

  3. Had William Pryor made such provocative statements as a candidate for the Indiana bar he could have been blackballed as I have documented elsewhere on this ezine. That would have solved this huuuge problem for the Left and abortion industry the good old boy (and even girl) Indiana way. Note that Diane Sykes could have made a huuge difference, but she chose to look away like most all jurists who should certainly recognize a blatantly unconstitutional system when filed on their docket. See footnotes 1 & 2 here: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html Sykes and Kanne could have applied a well established exception to Rooker Feldman, but instead seemingly decided that was not available to conservative whistleblowers, it would seem. Just a loss and two nice footnotes to numb the pain. A few short years later Sykes ruled the very opposite on the RF question, just as she had ruled the very opposite on RF a few short years before. Indy and the abortion industry wanted me on the ground ... they got it. Thank God Alabama is not so corrupted! MAGA!!!

  4. OK, take notice. Those wondering just how corrupt the Indiana system is can see the picture in this post. Attorney Donald James did not criticize any judges, he merely, it would seem, caused some clients to file against him and then ignored his own defense. James thus disrespected the system via ignoring all and was also ordered to reimburse the commission $525.88 for the costs of prosecuting the first case against him. Yes, nearly $526 for all the costs, the state having proved it all. Ouch, right? Now consider whistleblower and constitutionalist and citizen journalist Paul Ogden who criticized a judge, defended himself in such a professional fashion as to have half the case against him thrown out by the ISC and was then handed a career ending $10,000 bill as "half the costs" of the state crucifying him. http://www.theindianalawyer.com/ogden-quitting-law-citing-high-disciplinary-fine/PARAMS/article/35323 THE TAKEAWAY MESSAGE for any who have ears to hear ... resist Star Chamber and pay with your career ... welcome to the Indiana system of (cough) justice.

  5. GMA Ranger, I, too, was warned against posting on how the Ind govt was attempting to destroy me professionally, and visit great costs and even destitution upon my family through their processing. No doubt the discussion in Indy today is likely how to ban me from this site (I expect I soon will be), just as they have banned me from emailing them at the BLE and Office of Bar Admission and ADA coordinator -- or, if that fails, whether they can file a complaint against my Kansas or SCOTUS law license for telling just how they operate and offering all of my files over the past decade to any of good will. The elitist insiders running the Hoosier social control mechanisms realize that knowledge and a unified response will be the end of their unjust reign. They fear exposure and accountability. I was banned for life from the Indiana bar for questioning government processing, that is, for being a whistleblower. Hoosier whistleblowers suffer much. I have no doubt, Gma Ranger, of what you report. They fear us, but realize as long as they keep us in fear of them, they can control us. Kinda like the kids' show Ants. Tyrannical governments the world over are being shaken by empowered citizens. Hoosiers dealing with The Capitol are often dealing with tyranny. Time to rise up: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/17/governments-struggling-to-retain-trust-of-citizens-global-survey-finds Back to the Founders! MAGA!

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