ILNews

Leadership in Law 2012: James B. Godbold

Attorney, Kightlinger & Gray, Evansville Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

April 25, 2012
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James Godbold (IL Photo/Jordan Barclay)

James Godbold is diligent about having a positive influence on society and potential attorneys. The litigation attorney is active in the Evansville community, working with Teen Court and the Evansville Bar Association High School Mock Trial. He is also involved with the federal court’s Mediation Assistance Program and the Indiana Appellate Pro Bono Project. His professionalism and community service is a blend of competence, experience and dedication.

In 2012, I’d like to
see the Cubs win the World Series (nobody said this had to be realistic).

My long-term career goal is
to make partner with my firm, and maybe eventually become a judge. 

The best advice I could give a recent law school graduate is
to be yourself.  If you try to carry yourself and practice law in a way that does not fit your personality, you will end up being miserable.  Be yourself in the way you handle clients, in the way you deal with opposing counsel, in the way you interact with partners or supervisors.  You will be happier and more successful in the long run if you do this.

The three words that best describe me:
I’m never good at talking about myself, so I asked my wife.  She said humble, compassionate and easy-going. 

If I weren’t an attorney, I’d be
a teacher.

My escape from work is
spending time with my family, reading and Crossfit.

My mentor has taught me
to always remember to be courteous.  You will run into situations and people in this profession that will bother and frustrate you.  The only thing you can control in those situations is yourself, so remember to be courteous. If you develop that reputation early, it will stay with you for a long time and will benefit you in the future.  
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. 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.

  5. 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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