ILNews

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. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  3. Don't believe me, listen to Pacino: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bC9w9cH-M

  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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