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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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  1. Bill Satterlee is, indeed, a true jazz aficionado. Part of my legal career was spent as an associate attorney with Hoeppner, Wagner & Evans in Valparaiso. Bill was instrumental (no pun intended) in introducing me to jazz music, thereby fostering my love for this genre. We would, occasionally, travel to Chicago on weekends and sit in on some outstanding jazz sessions at Andy's on Hubbard Street. Had it not been for Bill's love of jazz music, I never would have had the good fortune of hearing it played live at Andy's. And, most likely, I might never have begun listening to it as much as I do. Thanks, Bill.

  2. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  3. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  4. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  5. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

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