Leadership in Law 2013: David J. Cutshaw

Partner, Cohen & Malad LLP, Indianapolis Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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david-cutshaw02-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

David J. Cutshaw is described by his peers as a tough litigator who aggressively advocates for his clients but also practices a great deal of civility in and out of the courtroom. His clients are often impressed by his approachability and empathy for their situations. In fact, one client who did not receive a favorable outcome in his case sent a letter to David thanking him for his work on the case involving the soldier’s wife. The client, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, included with the letter a U.S. flag flown in Afghanistan in David’s honor. For the last eight years, David has been heavily involved in the hundreds of trials involving Dr. Mark Weinberger of Merrillville, who is being sued for medical malpractice. David has been mentoring young associates at the firm for more than 30 years and is the “go to” guy for those seeking guidance in their practice.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Major League Baseball umpire or do some acting in community theater.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
Take Justice Back:

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
I would name a sandwich “The Cut,” my nickname, which seems to have developed from my cut through the BS and get to the point persona. It would contain lean cuts of antipasto-type meats and cheeses.

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do?
I would go back to a certain football game in my college career and run a different route so as to not blow up my knee. Arthritic knees suck.

In life or law, what bugs you?
Lawyers and insurance companies delaying the inevitable. Too much time and money is dedicated to defending cases for which there is no defense.

What do you find scary?
The extreme polarization in politics today.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
“Breathe” by Pink Floyd, “Dark Side of the Moon.” Best line: “Don’t be afraid to care.”

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
That would be a great thing, as lawyers would have to talk to each other and get along without the nasty, immediate emails.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Stay intense and compassionate about what you do, but quit taking yourself so seriously.

What class in law school did you find the most difficult?
Property. I still have no idea what the Rule Against Perpetuities is.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
To read the minds of judges and juries would be fun.


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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