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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues