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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. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  2. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  3. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

  4. My dear Smith, I was beginning to fear, from your absense, that some Obrien of the Nanny State had you in Room 101. So glad to see you back and speaking truth to power, old chum.

  5. here is one from Reason magazine. these are not my words, but they are legitimate concerns. http://reason.com/blog/2010/03/03/fearmongering-at-the-splc quote: "The Southern Poverty Law Center, which would paint a box of Wheaties as an extremist threat if it thought that would help it raise funds, has issued a new "intelligence report" announcing that "an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) -- a 244% jump." To illustrate how dangerous these groups are, the Center cites some recent arrests of right-wing figures for planning or carrying out violent attacks. But it doesn't demonstrate that any of the arrestees were a part of the Patriot milieu, and indeed it includes some cases involving racist skinheads, who are another movement entirely. As far as the SPLC is concerned, though, skinheads and Birchers and Glenn Beck fans are all tied together in one big ball of scary. The group delights in finding tenuous ties between the tendencies it tracks, then describing its discoveries in as ominous a tone as possible." --- I wonder if all the republicans that belong to the ISBA would like to know who and why this outfit was called upon to receive such accolades. I remember when they were off calling Trent Lott a bigot too. Preposterous that this man was brought to an overwhelmingly republican state to speak. This is a nakedly partisan institution and it was a seriously bad choice.

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