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. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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