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Leadership in Law 2014: Darren A. Craig

Member, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Indianapolis • Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 2004

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15col-Craig.jpg Darren A. Craig (IL Photo/ Eric Learned)

Darren A. Craig might as well remove the door from his office because he rarely has a chance to close it, thanks to the frequent visitors he receives. Colleagues – both new and seasoned attorneys – often come to Darren for advice. In fact, just five years after joining Frost Brown Todd, he was recognized as Mentor of the Year in 2010.

Darren has realized significant professional success in his first decade of practice; he’s participated in drafting more than 30 appellate briefs and presented oral arguments to the Indiana and 7th Circuit courts of appeals. In 2012, Darren became an adjunct professor teaching contract drafting at IU McKinney School of Law. He also serves as board secretary for The Cheer Guild of Riley Hospital for Children and Indiana University Hospital Inc., and for the past five years has written the moot court problem for the Federal Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competition.

Why do you serve as a mentor to new attorneys?

The best legal education I received was individual guidance from experienced lawyers and judges. I want to contribute to that educational tradition, which is essential in all law firms and for the legal profession.

And speaking of mentoring, what is the most important lesson you learned from your mentor?

The importance of understanding your client’s business and how the legal issue you are working on affects the business as a whole.

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

My most memorable job was working for the educational publisher CTB/McGraw-Hill. I worked with CTB editors and state departments of education to develop guidelines for standardized tests. It has given me some perspective on the current controversies over school rankings.

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

Do first what you dread most. Letting unpleasant tasks go unfinished destroys productivity and lessens enjoyment of free time.

You’ve been a volunteer judge for the Indiana Mock Trial Competition for several years. Why is civic education important?

People are more likely to participate in their government and to respect the rule of law if they understand the law.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I can juggle.

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

John Marshall. His judicial opinions were essential to making the judiciary a co-equal branch of government and to validating the authority of the national government.

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

Only first-year courses were forced upon me. Of those, torts was probably the most dispensable, because the content of the course bore little relation to its title.

Why practice in the area of law that you do?

I enjoy learning about how businesses work and helping to solve business problems.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Strawberry pie from Gray Brothers Cafeteria.

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

Because lawyers advocate for clients, what position a lawyer takes on a legal question depends upon who hires the lawyer. Many people believe that all issues have a right answer and a wrong answer and, therefore, believe that lawyers’ ability to advocate for different answers reflects cynicism or lack of moral certainty.

Who is your favorite fictional lawyer?

Henry Drummond from “Inherit the Wind.”

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

English teacher.




 

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  1. Falk said “At this point, at this minute, we’ll savor this particular victory.” “It certainly is a historic week on this front,” Cockrum said. “What a delight ... “Happy Independence Day to the women of the state of Indiana,” WOW. So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)

  2. congratulations on such balanced journalism; I also love how fetus disposal affects women's health protection, as covered by Roe...

  3. It truly sickens me every time a case is compared to mine. The Indiana Supreme Court upheld my convictions based on a finding of “hidden threats.” The term “hidden threat” never appeared until the opinion in Brewington so I had no way of knowing I was on trial for making hidden threats because Dearborn County Prosecutor F Aaron Negangard argued the First Amendment didn't protect lies. Negangard convened a grand jury to investigate me for making “over the top” and “unsubstantiated” statements about court officials, not hidden threats of violence. My indictments and convictions were so vague, the Indiana Court of Appeals made no mention of hidden threats when they upheld my convictions. Despite my public defender’s closing arguments stating he was unsure of exactly what conduct the prosecution deemed to be unlawful, Rush found that my lawyer’s trial strategy waived my right to the fundamental error of being tried for criminal defamation because my lawyer employed a strategy that attempted to take advantage of Negangard's unconstitutional criminal defamation prosecution against me. Rush’s opinion stated the prosecution argued two grounds for conviction one constitutional and one not, however the constitutional true threat “argument” consistently of only a blanket reading of subsection 1 of the intimidation statute during closing arguments, making it impossible to build any kind of defense. Of course intent was impossible for my attorney to argue because my attorney, Rush County Chief Public Defender Bryan Barrett refused to meet with me prior to trial. The record is littered with examples of where I made my concerns known to the trial judge that I didn’t know the charges against me, I did not have access to evidence, all while my public defender refused to meet with me. Special Judge Brian Hill, from Rush Superior Court, refused to address the issue with my public defender and marched me to trial without access to evidence or an understanding of the indictments against me. Just recently the Indiana Public Access Counselor found that four over four years Judge Hill has erroneously denied access to the grand jury audio from my case, the most likely reason being the transcription of the grand jury proceedings omitted portions of the official audio record. The bottom line is any intimidation case involves an action or statement that is debatably a threat of physical violence. There were no such statements in my case. The Indiana Supreme Court took partial statements I made over a period of 41 months and literally connected them with dots… to give the appearance that the statements were made within the same timeframe and then claimed a person similarly situated would find the statements intimidating while intentionally leaving out surrounding contextual factors. Even holding the similarly situated test was to be used in my case, the prosecution argued that the only intent of my public writings was to subject the “victims” to ridicule and hatred so a similarly situated jury instruction wouldn't even have applied in my case. Chief Justice Rush wrote the opinion while Rush continued to sit on a committee with one of the alleged victims in my trial and one of the judges in my divorce, just as she'd done for the previous 7+ years. All of this information, including the recent PAC opinion against the Dearborn Superior Court II can be found on my blog www.danbrewington.blogspot.com.

  4. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  5. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

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