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Leadership in Law 2014: Phillip L. Bayt

Chief managing partner, Ice Miller LLP, Indianapolis • Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 1980

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15col-Bayt.jpg Phillip L. Bayt (IL Photo/Eric Learned)

Phillip L. Bayt has shepherded Ice Miller LLP through significant changes in the business and legal markets. Phil led the effort to combine the firm with the Ohio regional firm of Schottenstein Zox and Dunn Co. LPA, which added nearly 100 lawyers and two new offices to Ice Miller. In addition to building one of the leading practices in the state for sophisticated real estate transactions, he is a civic leader who has been involved in many major projects that have enhanced downtown Indianapolis and central Indiana.

Last year you led the firm through a successful rebranding effort – the first in 10 years. Why is it important to update the firm’s outward image?

It’s important to share with our clients and our prospective clients some clear messages about who we are and what we do to protect our clients’ interests. While our prior brand image served us well, it was time for a more up-to-date look and a new take on how we share that message.

Why practice in the area of law that you do?

Our team helps our clients build buildings and businesses to achieve financial success and add value to the community. It is personally very rewarding to see every day the tangible results of the hard work and creativity of those efforts.

How has the law in the gaming industry changed since you started?

In the beginning it was enormously exciting to be an integral part of building an entire industry in the state of Indiana from scratch – from the adoption of legislation, to the initial licensing and development of projects each in the hundreds of millions of dollars, to thousands of new jobs. The gaming companies in Indiana have now come down to earth as a mature set of businesses that compete for leisure dollars with each other in and out of the state as well as with other leisure activities. The industry remains a vital force in the Indiana economy and continues to be an important driver of tax revenue, wages and capital investment.

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

Film director. What a great and powerful way to communicate a story.

Who is your favorite fictional lawyer?

Denny Crane, “Boston Legal.”

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

Criminal law. I still don’t know what mens rea is.

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

Being a lawyer in private practice is very demanding. If you love doing that, it is all just one seamless life. If not, you should look for another profession.

What civic cause is the most important to you?

I sit on the United Way Capital Fund Committee which allocates grant dollars for new capital projects for United Way agencies. It is heartwarming to hear the stories of the great work these organizations do, and it is special to be a part of the decision-making process that can provide resources to those organizations to continue and enhance their missions to serve people in need.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I actually like our dog more than I let on.

What’s been the biggest change in the practice of law you’ve seen since you began?

Relationships were very stable when I began my career. Today, lawyers are more mobile and many clients find value in having multiple legal relationships.

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

Most memorable: In college I worked at the Hungry Mind Bookstore, which was a decade ahead of its time and one of the first adopters in the country of the modern format of books, coffee shop and easy chairs as a gathering place for those who love books and learning.

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

We start from a disadvantage because we are often at the center of a dispute and either have to disagree with others or dwell on the negative. The party on the other side doesn’t like us because we are advocating against that party. Our own client may not have a great experience because the client doesn’t want to be in the dispute in the first place.

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

No regrets. I have enjoyed serving clients and helping to build successes for them.

We hear a lot about civility. Have you noticed a change in how attorneys treat each other since you began practicing?

I have the opportunity to interact with lawyers in many states. We are blessed with a group of lawyers in Indiana who are civil to each other and, by and large, whose word is their bond.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Dark chocolate.

What’s something you’ve learned over the years that you wish you could go back in time and tell your younger self?

Patience.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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