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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. IF the Right to Vote is indeed a Right, then it is a RIGHT. That is the same for ALL eligible and properly registered voters. And this is, being able to cast one's vote - until the minute before the polls close in one's assigned precinct. NOT days before by absentee ballot, and NOT 9 miles from one's house (where it might be a burden to get to in time). I personally wait until the last minute to get in line. Because you never know what happens. THAT is my right, and that is Mr. Valenti's. If it is truly so horrible to let him on school grounds (exactly how many children are harmed by those required to register, on school grounds, on election day - seriously!), then move the polling place to a different location. For ALL voters in that precinct. Problem solved.

  2. "associates are becoming more mercenary. The path to partnership has become longer and more difficult so they are chasing short-term gains like high compensation." GOOD FOR THEM! HELL THERE OUGHT TO BE A UNION!

  3. Let's be honest. A glut of lawyers out there, because law schools have overproduced them. Law schools dont care, and big law loves it. So the firms can afford to underpay them. Typical capitalist situation. Wages have grown slowly for entry level lawyers the past 25 years it seems. Just like the rest of our economy. Might as well become a welder. Oh and the big money is mostly reserved for those who can log huge hours and will cut corners to get things handled. More capitalist joy. So the answer coming from the experts is to "capitalize" more competition from nonlawyers, and robots. ie "expert systems." One even hears talk of "offshoring" some legal work. thus undercutting the workers even more. And they wonder why people have been pulling for Bernie and Trump. Hello fools, it's not just the "working class" it's the overly educated suffering too.

  4. And with a whimpering hissy fit the charade came to an end ... http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2016/07/27/all-charges-dropped-against-all-remaining-officers-in-freddie-gray-case/ WHISTLEBLOWERS are needed more than ever in a time such as this ... when politics trump justice and emotions trump reason. Blue Lives Matter.

  5. "pedigree"? I never knew that in order to become a successful or, for that matter, a talented attorney, one needs to have come from good stock. What should raise eyebrows even more than the starting associates' pay at this firm (and ones like it) is the belief systems they subscribe to re who is and isn't "fit" to practice law with them. Incredible the arrogance that exists throughout the practice of law in this country, especially at firms like this one.

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