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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. The fee increase would be livable except for the 11% increase in spending at the Disciplinary Commission. The Commission should be focused on true public harm rather than going on witch hunts against lawyers who dare to criticize judges.

  2. Marijuana is safer than alcohol. AT the time the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was enacted all major pharmaceutical companies in the US sold marijuana products. 11 Presidents of the US have smoked marijuana. Smoking it does not increase the likelihood that you will get lung cancer. There are numerous reports of canabis oil killing many kinds of incurable cancer. (See Rick Simpson's Oil on the internet or facebook).

  3. The US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners. Far too many people are sentenced for far too many years in prison. Many of the federal prisoners are sentenced for marijuana violations. Marijuana is safer than alcohol.

  4. My daughter was married less than a week and her new hubbys picture was on tv for drugs and now I havent't seen my granddaughters since st patricks day. when my daughter left her marriage from her childrens Father she lived with me with my grand daughters and that was ok but I called her on the new hubby who is in jail and said didn't want this around my grandkids not unreasonable request and I get shut out for her mistake

  5. From the perspective of a practicing attorney, it sounds like this masters degree in law for non-attorneys will be useless to anyone who gets it. "However, Ted Waggoner, chair of the ISBA’s Legal Education Conclave, sees the potential for the degree program to actually help attorneys do their jobs better. He pointed to his practice at Peterson Waggoner & Perkins LLP in Rochester and how some clients ask their attorneys to do work, such as filling out insurance forms, that they could do themselves. Waggoner believes the individuals with the legal master’s degrees could do the routine, mundane business thus freeing the lawyers to do the substantive legal work." That is simply insulting to suggest that someone with a masters degree would work in a role that is subpar to even an administrative assistant. Even someone with just a certificate or associate's degree in paralegal studies would be overqualified to sit around helping clients fill out forms. Anyone who has a business background that they think would be enhanced by having a legal background will just go to law school, or get an MBA (which typically includes a business law class that gives a generic, broad overview of legal concepts). No business-savvy person would ever seriously consider this ridiculous master of law for non-lawyers degree. It reeks of desperation. The only people I see getting it are the ones who did not get into law school, who see the degree as something to add to their transcript in hopes of getting into a JD program down the road.

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