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Leadership in Law 2013: Richard A. Waples

Partner, Waples and Hanger, Indianapolis Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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rIchard-waples01-15col.jpg (IL Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Richard A. Waples is a leading attorney in the area of Section 1983 litigation and constitutional law. He’s achieved landmark decisions that have advanced the protection of individual rights and liberties, including a wrongful death suit that led to changes in the Marion County Arrestee Processing Center so that suicidal inmates are tracked and monitored. His pro bono work includes helping a 15-year-old boy move from solitary confinement in an adult correctional facility to an age-appropriate unit with supportive services and education. He also advises many attorneys with questions on Section 1983 law and serves on the Local Rules Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Before entering private practice, he was legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana for 11 years.

If you could take a sabbatical from the law for a year to work your fantasy job, what job would you choose?
Combating ivory poachers in Africa.

If you could meet and spend a day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?
Abe Lincoln, because of his historical importance and his sense of humor. 

What civic cause is the most important to you?
I consider global warming to be the most important and greatest challenge of our time. 

If you could go back in time, “when” would you go to and what would you do?
To the time when Jesus was alive. And I’d bring a video camera. 

In life or law, what bugs you?
Pretence.

What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Relax, focus, and stretch. 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
Flight.

What do you find scary?
Intolerance and ignorance, especially in combination.

If you could pick a theme song to describe your life, what would it be?
Not a song, but a poem, “The World’s Alright,” by Robert Service.

Would a world without 24/7 technology be a good or bad thing?
Technology is neither good nor bad, it’s what we do with it.

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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