ILNews

Leadership in Law 2012: Hon. Thomas J. Felts

Judge, Allen Circuit Court, Fort Wayne Indiana University Maurer School of Law

April 25, 2012
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Thomas Felts (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Judge Thomas Felts’ legal knowledge and practice advice to young professionals has helped improve the legal community around him. He embraces the idea of mentoring not only his law clerks but also young attorneys litigating in his court. The former president of the Indiana Judges Association board is active in the legal community, including his involvement with the state bar and Commission on Courts. He also devotes time to improving the Fort Wayne community, including his service on the board of the Foellinger Foundation.

The best advice I ever received was
“always keep your eyes open for opportunities.”

I wish I had known when I graduated law school that
the practice of law is, like most things, mostly about relationships.

My best stress reliever is
running.

If I weren’t a lawyer, I’d
be a teacher or professor (but wishing I was singing and playing the piano in a bar somewhere tropical).

In 2012, I’d like to
have an even better year than a pretty-great 2011.

The three words that best describe me are
passionate, busy and well-rounded.

In my community, I’m passionate about
the not-for-profit community and my place in it.

In the movie about my life,
a somewhat younger Michael Douglas would play me.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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