Leadership in Law 2013: Kevin P. McGoff

Of counsel, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, Indianapolis Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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kevin-mcgoff01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

When lawyers need an attorney – for firm management issues, malpractice or professional licensure matters – they often turn to Kevin P. McGoff. Kevin is well known among his peers for his work in the field of legal ethics, which spans 33 years beginning as a law clerk for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. Kevin gives frequent presentations on legal ethics, and it’s important to him that attorneys around Indiana know of ethical issues so that they can avoid similar situations and problems down the road. The former Indianapolis Bar Association president is recognized by fellow attorneys for his kindness, character and outstanding judgment.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Guide Touristique in Provence, spending a few days a week shepherding small groups through villages and local historic sites. They could treat me to a nice lunch at a table in the shade. After an afternoon of more sightseeing, I would head home for a glass of rosé on the terrace.

What is your preferred means of relieving stress?
A brisk, mid-afternoon walk around downtown Indy or along the canal.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
Efforts to make it more difficult to vote or disenfranchise citizens. We should be working to make the process easier and accessible to everyone.

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do?
I would travel with Davy Crockett to Texas and spend a few weeks touring San Antonio, catching up with Davy, Jim Bowie and Col. Travis of an evening. At the end of my visit I’d head north, before Santa Anna arrived in town, and write about the people I met on the trip.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
“When Irish Eyes are Smiling.”

In life or law, what bugs you? 
Artificial deadlines – imposed for no reason or for the convenience of the proponent – without regard for the schedule, priorities and time commitments of others.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
“McGuffy’s Simple Sandwich” – whole wheat, smoked turkey breast, slice of bacon, provolone, lettuce and tomato. No mayo, no mustard, no dressing and definitely no pickle in the vicinity to soak into the bread, rendering a sandwich inedible. The MSS would be a big hit among sandwich purists.

What do you find scary?
1. Pickle juice on a sandwich.
2. The girl who goes down the basement steps in every scary movie. Why do they keep doing that? There is never a way out of the basement.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Listen more. Talk less.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
It would be a good thing if it were shut down on Sundays.


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  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?