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Leadership in Law 2014: Scott Evernham

Senior vice president, assistant general counsel and assistant corporate secretary, Old National Bancorp, Evansville • University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law, 2003

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15col-Evernham.jpg Scott Evernham (Photo/ David Greene, DIA Photography)

It was a bit of a gamble for Old National Bancorp to hire Scott Evernham straight out of law school as just the second in-house attorney for a rapidly growing company. But the gamble has paid off in a big way. He’s grown into a true leader within the company’s management team and is the “go to” attorney for all regulatory and compliance issues and merger and acquisition activity. He was honored in 2010 by the company’s executive leadership team as the Larry Dunigan Leader of the Year. Scott and his late wife, Robin, founded the Robin’s Nest Charitable Fund after she was diagnosed with cancer to assist those battling the disease.

Your boss described the position you were hired into directly out of law school as a “sink or swim” opportunity. Clearly, you’ve swam. What skills or traits helped you succeed?

There are several traits my parents encouraged that I try to utilize in everything I do, including my work at Old National. My parents instilled in me and my siblings to work hard, be unselfish, be accountable and develop a plan for your life, but be willing to adjust it and accept unforeseen opportunities.

Why practice in the area of law that you do?

I work as in-house counsel and represent a single client. As a result, I am able to become more deeply involved in the business of the company and develop a closer relationship with my business counterparts. I think it can be more rewarding to be a part of the company, its mission, strategy and success.

The Robin’s Nest Charitable Fund has raised more than $100,000 to help area families in their battle against cancer. What do you hope the organization will achieve in the future?

Our mission is to ease the financial burden for cancer patients so that they can focus on the fight of their life. Our hope is to be able to shut down Robin’s Nest because that will mean a cure for all cancer will have been discovered.

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

Learn to say no. I believe strongly in community involvement, but it is impossible to be involved and a part of everything. I feel that you better serve your family and the community when you only say yes to initiatives you are passionate about, and more importantly, when you have sufficient time to be committed to the organization.

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

Admit it when you do not know the answer. A phrase that he taught me to use when I first started practicing (and I still use a lot today) is, “I do not know, but let me look into it and get right back to you.” As lawyers, we often feel that we need to have an immediate answer to every question. One of the worst mistakes a lawyer can make is to give inaccurate advice.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Turoni’s Pizza – House Special

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

I am not sure. Maybe it would be something in the medical profession. I have a lot of respect for medical professionals. In my experience, they are very passionate about their work and they make a difference in people’s lives every day.

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

My first paying job was in high school working as a delivery driver for a pharmacy my dad owned. That was my first and only experience witnessing him run his business. He passed away a couple years later.

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

There are numerous negative stereotypes that people have about lawyers and each stereotype has its own reason. It would take several paragraphs to analyze why that is the case. In my short career, I have been fortunate to work with many lawyers that are passionate about representing the best interests of their clients and upholding the professional and ethical responsibilities of a lawyer.

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

There are moments from every day that I would handle differently if I could do it over again. I view them all as learning opportunities, attempt to handle those moments better the next time and try not to dwell too much on the past.

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

Domestic relations. There was nothing positive about the divorce cases we studied in law school.

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

Abraham Lincoln

Who is your favorite fictional lawyer?

Lt. Daniel Kaffee – “A Few Good Men”
 

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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