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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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  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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