Leadership in Law 2014: Kelly A. Doria

Investment counsel, Indiana Public Retirement System, Indianapolis • Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, 2005

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15col-Doria.jpg Kelly A. Doria (IL Photo/ Eric Learned)

Kelly A. Doria is on a path to becoming the preeminent Indiana lawyer focused on public institutional investments. While at Indiana Public Retirement System, she has vastly expanded the role of the transactional attorney on staff, reducing the reliance on outside counsel and expanding the organization’s level of legal due diligence. As part of her job with INPRS, she ensures there are legal safeguards on the state’s $27 billion public retirement assets.

A longtime volunteer and advocate on youth issues, Kelly has served on the Marion County Commission on Youth board of directors in various leadership roles for the past seven years.

Since your work involves retirement funds, do friends and family ever ask for retirement planning advice?

Rarely, investment options and considerations for retail investors are vastly different than institutional investors, so my work is inapplicable unless the person is investing $50M+. … I don’t have any friends or family that fit that profile.

Why practice in the area of law that you do?

Institutional transactional law tends to be more logical and predictable, less burdened by emotions and irrationality, plus I get to work with very sophisticated clients.

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

I’ve learned to understand my life priorities (and accept that they will change) and ensure such priorities align with my employer’s expectations – if they don’t align, there can never be balance.

You are an alumni volunteer for your undergraduate alma mater Villanova University, working to encourage central Indiana students to attend the Philadelphia-area university. Does this mean that you are not a native of Indiana?

I’m originally from Philly, but I grew up on the east side of Indy and graduated from Warren Central (unfortunately, the lean football years!). I convinced my husband to settle in Indy because it is a great town, friendly people, ripe with opportunities and a wonderful place to raise a family.

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

Don’t aspire to be the smartest person in the room, plan to be the most prepared.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I’ve completed five marathons.

Who is your favorite fictional lawyer?

Jessica Pearson (“Suits”) … minority female managing partner of BIG law!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I love the lottery. I’ve never won anything, but I truly believe I’m an insanely lucky person.

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

Daniel O’Connell (b.1775) challenged Irish laws prohibiting Catholics from becoming lawyers or serving in parliament (not by violent rebellion, but by his wit and knowledge of the law). His work inspired Frederick Douglass, MLK and Gandhi.

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

All of the UCC classes – sales, secured transactions and commercial paper.

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

Lawyers are called when something goes wrong and many practices have no winners (divorce, disability, custody, personal injury, estates, etc.). Even if the attorney does an amazing job and earns a great outcome for the client, the lawyer can’t truly “fix” the circumstance that generated the initial call. So lawyers are held to an unreasonable expectation and guilty by association to unfortunate circumstances.

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

Shortly after I was married, senior counsel was introducing me to a prestigious board and he used my new married surname, which didn’t immediately register with me, and I turned to see who he was speaking about…needless to say, it was not the most confident first impression!

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

My first (and worst) job was working the front desk at a YMCA, where one of my duties was to wash and fold members’ dirty workout clothes.

What civic cause is the most important to you?

Ensuring the positive development of youth in our community.

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

Pastry chef.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.