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Leadership in Law 2014: Alexander J. Limontes

Of counsel, Mitchell Hurst Dick & McNelis LLC, Indianapolis • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, 2007

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15col-Limontes.jpg Alexander J. Limontes (IL Photo/ Eric Learned)

Alexander J. Limontes, a personal injury attorney, fights as hard for clients others may consider “too small” as he does for plaintiffs in million-dollar cases. He hung his own shingle at the age of 28 after working several years with the Marion County Public Defender Agency, and he serves as of counsel at Mitchell Hurst Dick & McNelis LLC. Alex is a strong supporter of solo and small practice, evidenced by his commitment to solo and small firm professional organizations.

Alex focuses much of his practice toward helping the Hispanic and Latino communities in Indianapolis. Those who regularly interact with Alex say he is a pleasure to work with and demonstrates a true desire to help his clients – his work ethic is reflected in the referrals he receives. Alex serves on the board of directors for Mental Health America of Indiana, which received a grant to provide low-cost legal advocacy for people with mental disabilities – the only such legal program in the state.

You’ve passed the bar in Indiana and Florida. How does Florida’s test compare to Indiana’s bar exam?

First, the number of people – I took a February bar exam in Florida and there were more people there than the Indiana July exam. Second, the Florida portion of the bar exam tested on many more areas of law than the Indiana exam. Third, they actually give you your scores in Florida, unlike Indiana.

Why practice in the area of law that you do?

I represent injured persons because it sure beats working for the insurance companies. I guess the simplest answer is to help people. Insurance companies have a host of resources and access to some of the top law firms in Indiana and so should the average person on the other side.  My job can be very difficult and unpredictable, however, I sleep well at night knowing that I have done everything I possibly could to help my clients.

You’re not a native Hoosier. What attracted you to Indiana and why have you stayed?

The people. I remember preparing to transfer from Hanover College to University of Central Florida during my first semester in Indiana and my mother told me to just give it one more semester (great advice). I did and it was the best decision of my life.

What are some tips for achieving a work/life balance?

Learn how to turn it off when you get home and enjoy those few precious hours with your family or loved ones.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your mentor?

We are here to help these people, focus on that first, and everything else (including making money) will fall into place. Never, under any circumstance, compromise your professional integrity.

Is there a moment in your career you wish you could do over?

My first jury trial as a public defender. I would have focused more on preparing my client for cross examination rather than focusing on what I had to do for the trial. Watching my client testify was like watching the Hindenburg go down in flames.

What civic cause is the most important to you?

Immigrant rights and immigration reform, I come from a family of immigrants and this country is long overdue for an overhaul of its immigration system.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Cuban cigars, if I can ever get my hands on one.

Who is your favorite fictional lawyer?

I know this has been said before, Ben Matlock. As a young teenager during the summers, I would have to stay home with my handicapped sister taking care of her and we really had nothing to do but watch television. I watched “Matlock” every day.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I learned how to speak Spanish before I learned English. Before leaving Miami, Fla., I had a serious accent.

What was the worst or most memorable job you had prior to becoming an attorney?

I was a social worker for the Devereux Foundation in Orlando, Fla. My primary job was reunification of families after the children had been removed by the state.

What class do you wish you could have skipped in law school?

International commercial arbitration

If you couldn’t be a lawyer, what would you do for a living?

Teach high school history and coach high school football.

If you could meet and spend the day with one lawyer from history, who would it be and why?

Fidel Castro. Just to ask him if it turned out the way he thought it would and if he could do it over again what would he have done differently?

Why do you think people often have negative stereotypes about lawyers?

As far as personal injury lawyers, there are some that focus their practice on making money, which you must make money, but it cannot be your focus.


 

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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