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. Especially I would like to see all the republican voting patriotic good ole boys to stop and understand that the wars they have been volunteering for all along (especially the past decade at least) have not been for God & Jesus etc no far from it unless you think George Washington's face on the US dollar is god (and we know many do). When I saw the movie about Chris Kyle, I thought wow how many Hoosiers are just like this guy, out there taking orders to do the nasty on the designated bad guys, sometimes bleeding and dying, sometimes just serving and coming home to defend a system that really just views them as reliable cannon fodder. Maybe if the Christians of the red states would stop volunteering for the imperial legions and begin collecting welfare instead of working their butts off, there would be a change in attitude from the haughty professorial overlords that tell us when democracy is allowed and when it isn't. To come home from guarding the borders of the sandbox just to hear if they want the government to protect this country's borders then they are racists and bigots. Well maybe the professorial overlords should gird their own loins for war and fight their own battles in the sandbox. We can see what kind of system this really is from lawsuits like this and we can understand who it really serves. NOT US.... I mean what are all you Hoosiers waving the flag for, the right of the president to start wars of aggression to benefit the Saudis, the right of gay marriage, the right for illegal immigrants to invade our country, and the right of the ACLU to sue over displays of Baby Jesus? The right of the 1 percenters to get richer, the right of zombie banks to use taxpayer money to stay out of bankruptcy? The right of Congress to start a pissing match that could end in WWIII in Ukraine? None of that crud benefits us. We should be like the Amish. You don't have to go far from this farcical lawsuit to find the wise ones, they're in the buggies in the streets not far away....

  2. Moreover, we all know that the well heeled ACLU has a litigation strategy of outspending their adversaries. And, with the help of the legal system well trained in secularism, on top of the genuinely and admittedly secular 1st amendment, they have the strategic high ground. Maybe Christians should begin like the Amish to withdraw their services from the state and the public and become themselves a "people who shall dwell alone" and foster their own kind and let the other individuals and money interests fight it out endlessly in court. I mean, if "the people" don't see how little the state serves their interests, putting Mammon first at nearly every turn, then maybe it is time they wake up and smell the coffee. Maybe all the displays of religiosity by American poohbahs on down the decades have been a mask of piety that concealed their own materialistic inclinations. I know a lot of patriotic Christians don't like that notion but I entertain it more and more all the time.

  3. If I were a judge (and I am not just a humble citizen) I would be inclined to make a finding that there was no real controversy and dismiss them. Do we allow a lawsuit every time someone's feelings are hurt now? It's preposterous. The 1st amendment has become a sword in the hands of those who actually want to suppress religious liberty according to their own backers' conception of how it will serve their own private interests. The state has a duty of impartiality to all citizens to spend its judicial resources wisely and flush these idiotic suits over Nativity Scenes down the toilet where they belong... however as Christians we should welcome them as they are the very sort of persecution that separates the sheep from the wolves.

  4. What about the single mothers trying to protect their children from mentally abusive grandparents who hide who they truly are behind mounds and years of medication and have mentally abused their own children to the point of one being in jail and the other was on drugs. What about trying to keep those children from being subjected to the same abuse they were as a child? I can understand in the instance about the parent losing their right and the grandparent having raised the child previously! But not all circumstances grant this being OKAY! some of us parents are trying to protect our children and yes it is our God given right to make those decisions for our children as adults!! This is not just black and white and I will fight every ounce of this to get denied

  5. Mr Smith the theory of Christian persecution in Indiana has been run by the Indiana Supreme Court and soundly rejected there is no such thing according to those who rule over us. it is a thought crime to think otherwise.