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Lucas: 2013 Leadership in Law Award winners revealed

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EidtPerspLucas-sigIn the news supplement you will find inserted in this issue of the Indiana Lawyer, we are pleased to introduce and congratulate our 2013 Leadership in Law Distinguished Barristers and Up and Coming Lawyers. While the interests, practice areas and geographic locations of these individuals are diverse, the common threads are the drive these men and women display in their work and the commitment they’ve shown to support fellow attorneys and the pursuit of justice.

Through the profiles in this award supplement, it is our goal to introduce IL readers to the men and women behind the public and professional personas. Lawyers, like members of other professions, can be the victims of stereotypes, and what we learned is that it is sometimes wise to expect the unexpected. We asked our honorees a few questions, and some of their answers surprised us. We hope that you will take a moment to get to know these accomplished and intriguing individuals a bit better.

For example, when asked whether a world without 24/7 technology would be a good or bad thing, I assumed that our Up and Comers would balk at the idea of disconnecting. Surprisingly, a number of these young lawyers expressed a desire to temporarily put down their beloved smartphones, making comments like “face time should be more than an app on my iPad.”

There seemed to be consensus that today’s fascination with legal drama on television and in the movies doesn’t accurately represent the reality of practicing law – although several suggested that scenes from “My Cousin Vinny” came very close. When asked what lawyer from history he or she would most like to spend a day talking with if given the chance, Thurgood Marshall received multiple votes. The collection of individuals suggested by our 2013 class would likely make the most fascinating panel ever assembled.

Responses to our “what scares you” question made us laugh, cringe and nod heads in agreement. As an editor, I particularly appreciated Judge L. Mark Bailey’s answer: missing a deadline.

The “advice I would give to my 25-year-old self” provided by our Distinguished Barristers and “the most important thing my mentor has taught me” relayed by our Up and Coming Lawyers provide valuable insights and common-sense suggestions for lawyers at all stages of their careers. I hope that you will take a few minutes to peruse these profiles.

Again this year, we received a number of impressive nominations and, as I’ve said before, the most difficult thing about the Leadership in Law Award is that not all deserving nominations can be selected. But to that, I say, there is always next year. Very soon, we will open the 2014 award nomination process, and I hope that you will consider submitting a nomination.

As you consider 2014, I’d like to make one observation. While an abundance of outstanding nominations for the Distinguished Barrister Award were received this year, the number of female attorneys nominated who fit the award criteria in this category was low. Why did this happen? We are unsure. We know that many qualified women have been practicing law for 15 years or more in Indiana. It was rather apropos that Judy Woods’ nominator told us that many times in Judy’s career she has found herself to be one of a few females or the only female in the room, and that she “has quietly opened doors for women and patiently held them open for the women who have come after her.” Clearly, the work is not done.

Please join me in congratulating the Indiana Lawyer’s 2013 Leadership in Law honorees. These very deserving individuals – some relatively new to the profession, some seasoned in their work – inspire those around them, representing the profession admirably.•

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  1. Call it unauthorized law if you must, a regulatory wrong, but it was fraud and theft well beyond that, a seeming crime! "In three specific cases, the hearing officer found that Westerfield did little to no work for her clients but only issued a partial refund or no refund at all." That is theft by deception, folks. "In its decision to suspend Westerfield, the Supreme Court noted that she already had a long disciplinary history dating back to 1996 and had previously been suspended in 2004 and indefinitely suspended in 2005. She was reinstated in 2009 after finally giving the commission a response to the grievance for which she was suspended in 2004." WOW -- was the Indiana Supreme Court complicit in her fraud? Talk about being on notice of a real bad actor .... "Further, the justices noted that during her testimony, Westerfield was “disingenuous and evasive” about her relationship with Tope and attempted to distance herself from him. They also wrote that other aggravating factors existed in Westerfield’s case, such as her lack of remorse." WOW, and yet she only got 18 months on the bench, and if she shows up and cries for them in a year and a half, and pays money to JLAP for group therapy ... back in to ride roughshod over hapless clients (or are they "marks") once again! Aint Hoosier lawyering a great money making adventure!!! Just live for the bucks, even if filthy lucre, and come out a-ok. ME on the other hand??? Lifetime banishment for blowing the whistle on unconstitutional governance. Yes, had I ripped off clients or had ANY disciplinary history for doing that I would have fared better, most likely, as that it would have revealed me motivated by Mammon and not Faith. Check it out if you doubt my reading of this, compare and contrast the above 18 months with my lifetime banishment from court, see appendix for Bar Examiners report which the ISC adopted without substantive review: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS

  2. Wow, over a quarter million dollars? That is a a lot of commissary money! Over what time frame? Years I would guess. Anyone ever try to blow the whistle? Probably not, since most Hoosiers who take notice of such things realize that Hoosier whistleblowers are almost always pilloried. If someone did blow the whistle, they were likely fired. The persecution of whistleblowers is a sure sign of far too much government corruption. Details of my own personal experience at the top of Hoosier governance available upon request ... maybe a "fake news" media outlet will have the courage to tell the stories of Hoosier whistleblowers that the "real" Hoosier media (cough) will not deign to touch. (They are part of the problem.)

  3. So if I am reading it right, only if and when African American college students agree to receive checks labeling them as "Negroes" do they receive aid from the UNCF or the Quaker's Educational Fund? In other words, to borrow from the Indiana Appellate Court, "the [nonprofit] supposed to be [their] advocate, refers to [students] in a racially offensive manner. While there is no evidence that [the nonprofits] intended harm to [African American students], the harm was nonetheless inflicted. [Black students are] presented to [academia and future employers] in a racially offensive manner. For these reasons, [such] performance [is] deficient and also prejudice[ial]." Maybe even DEPLORABLE???

  4. I'm the poor soul who spent over 10 years in prison with many many other prisoners trying to kill me for being charged with a sex offense THAT I DID NOT COMMIT i was in jail for a battery charge for helping a friend leave a boyfriend who beat her I've been saying for over 28 years that i did not and would never hurt a child like that mine or anybody's child but NOBODY wants to believe that i might not be guilty of this horrible crime or think that when i say that ALL the paperwork concerning my conviction has strangely DISAPPEARED or even when the long beach judge re-sentenced me over 14 months on a already filed plea bargain out of another districts court then had it filed under a fake name so i could not find while trying to fight my conviction on appeal in a nut shell people are ALWAYS quick to believe the worst about some one well I DID NOT HURT ANY CHILD EVER IN MY LIFE AND HAVE SAID THIS FOR ALMOST 30 YEARS please if anybody can me get some kind of justice it would be greatly appreciated respectfully written wrongly accused Brian Valenti

  5. A high ranking Indiana supreme Court operative caught red handed leading a group using the uber offensive N word! She must denounce or be denounced! (Or not since she is an insider ... rules do not apply to them). Evidence here: http://m.indianacompanies.us/friends-educational-fund-for-negroes.364110.company.v2#top_info

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