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Leadership in Law 2013: Anna (Obergfell) Kirkman

Associate counsel, Wishard Health Services, Indianapolis Indiana University Maurer School of Law

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anna-kirkman01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

In the three years since she graduated from law school, Anna (Obergfell) Kirkman’s development and leadership of the Medical-Legal Partnership at Wishard Health Services has not only improved the health of patients and influenced the way care is provided, it has become a national model for similar partnerships. The MLP, which intervenes when patients have health problems that require a legal remedy, has expanded to five Wishard locations under Anna’s watch. Through her work, she’s developed her knowledge of general health care law and demonstrates true compassion for Wishard patients.

What’s the most important thing your mentor has taught you?
To be responsive and thorough.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
It’s great to sometimes shut down and get away from the constant buzz of email and social media, but technology also supports life-saving medical equipment and many other tools that we rely on to keep us safe.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
I would be a reporter for the radio program “This American Life.”

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
Gandhi began as a lawyer, and in many ways, that laid the groundwork for his zealous and compassionate advocacy.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
Reinvesting in the local community. Whether by going to the farmer’s market, volunteering with local nonprofits or participating in local professional organizations, it’s important to develop our surroundings.

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do?
Since much of history is marked by war and tragedy, instead of choosing a significant historical event, I’d like to go back and be a fly on the wall of the “Saturday Night Live” set during the late ’70s when Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray were part of the cast.

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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