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Law School Briefs 10/26/12

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Law School Briefs

Law School Briefs highlights news from law schools in Indiana. While Indiana Lawyer has always covered law school news and continues to keep up with law school websites and press releases for updates, we gladly accept submissions for this section from law students, professors, alumni, and others who want to share law school-related news. If you’d like to submit news or a photo from an event, please email it to Marilyn Odendahl at modendahl@ibj.com, along with contact information for any follow-up questions at least two weeks prior to the issue date.

LACE attorneys from Kenya give lecture at IU McKinney

The Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law hosted a presentation Oct. 17 by the attorney leaders of the Legal Aid Centre of Eldoret in Kenya.

LACE Legal Director Milkah Mirugi Cheptinga and Board President Eric Gumbo spoke to a crowd of about 60 individuals in the Wynne Courtroom. Clinical professor Fran Quigley gave the introduction.

The Legal Aid Centre of Eldoret is a human rights law clinic working in close association with the Indiana University-affiliated and Nobel Peace Prize-nominated AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare) program. Since its founding in 2008, LACE has represented more than 3,000 HIV-positive AMPATH patients.

The central Indiana legal community has partnered with LACE since its inception when Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Patricia A. Riley, vice president of the I.U. McKinney Alumni Association board of directors, co-founded the organization along with Quigley and their Kenyan colleagues.

Valpo law students turn to new tool for career planning

Valparaiso University Law School has launched a new tool to help students complete the steps necessary to advance their careers and pass the bar.

Known at VOLT, the Valparaiso Online Law Tracker is a mobile online law tracker that is a password-protected, career planning aid with one-to-one proactive communication between the school and the students. The main functions of VOLT include providing students with a list of vital career planning steps, benchmarking the student’s progress against the entire class, and walking students through the steps to prepare for the bar exam.

VOLT is believed to be the first tool developed specifically to provide help with law career planning.

The success of VOLT will be measured by overall student participation and the completion of students’ lists. Quantitative and qualitative follow up research will be conducted.

Evan Bayh gives inaugurallecture at IU McKinney

Nearly 250 people crowded into the Wynne Courtroom at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Oct. 18 to hear former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh deliver the inaugural address in a lecture series to honor his father, former U.S. Sen. Birch Bayh.

The series is being sponsored by contributions from friends of Birch Bayh and from the Simon Property Group, where the elder Bayh was a board member for 17 years.

Evan Bayh spoke for about 30 minutes and then took questions from the audience for another half hour. The conversation ranged from politics and the presidential election to providing advice to students about public service.

Birch Bayh was unable to attend the event but he did send a letter to greet the audience which I.U. McKinney Dean Gary Roberts read before the lecture.

A native of Terre Haute, Birch Bayh received his law degree from the I.U. Maurer School of Law in 1960 and was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1961. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, serving three terms.•

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  1. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  2. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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