Leadership in Law 2013: Michael F. Drewry

Managing partner, Drewry Simmons Vornehm LLP, Carmel Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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mike-drewry02-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Michael F. Drewry has devoted his legal career to assisting clients involved in all aspects of the construction industry. When he began practicing law, there was very little in the state in the way of organized legal associations devoted to construction law. Mike helped create the Construction & Surety Law Section of the Indiana State Bar Association. He’s also active with the American Bar Association, serving on the inaugural committee for the ABA Forum on Construction Industry Trial Academy. He’s active with construction trade associations, and he has served on the board for the Indiana Construction Roundtable Diversity Initiative, a mentoring program that pairs experienced contractors with minority contractors.

You are a leader in the area of construction law. Are you handy around the house?
Unfortunately, I am not. I am willing but not capable. My wife is the one with hands-on skills, not me. Luckily, she did not know that until after we were married.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
I received my master’s degree in European History, so I would enjoy teaching history as a college professor or teaching construction law at a college or law school.

What class in law school did you find the most difficult?
All of the tax classes. I knew right away that I would never be a tax lawyer. I have heeded that self-assessment my entire career.

What civic cause is the most important to you?
I am a big supporter of the Center for Performing Arts next to our Carmel offices. It is nice to see what the arts are trying to bring to the community and to be a part of that.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The power to make all Purdue sports teams successful.

In life or law, what bugs you?
I hope that this does not sound self-righteous, but it would be the lack of integrity in some people. I was always taught that your word is your bond, that you maintain honor and good faith in your dealings. I took that to heart, and it saddens me when I see people that do not seem to value those principles.

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do?
I would like to go back to the mid-’70s so I could spend more time with my dad who died midway through.

If a drink or sandwich were to be named after you, what would it be called and what would be in it?
“Mike’s Old Fashion” – a really good, aged single barrel bourbon, bitters, orange liqueur, a splash of water and a cherry. No sugar is needed. Served on the rocks.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
A world without 24/7 technology would be a good thing. Old ways had their benefits – you cannot unwind technological developments today.

What do you find scary?
This one is easy. Spiders, all shapes and types. I guess you would say that I have arachnophobia.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Live a good life!


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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?