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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. 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!

  2. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  3. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  4. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  5. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

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