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IBA: Metz, Zweig IndyBar Professionalism Award Winners

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Professionalism can be difficult to define, but it’s easy to spot. When it comes to the 2012 recipients of the Indianapolis Bar Association Professionalism Awards, professionalism is a characteristic that quickly rises to the top when they are considered by their peers.

Chosen by the bar’s Professionalism Committee, the 2012 recipient of the Silver Gavel Award is the Hon. Anthony Metz III of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana, while the 2012 Professionalism Award will be presented to Sally Zweig of Katz & Korin PC. Both recipients were roundly praised for their professionalism by the committee, which is chaired by David K. Herzog of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

Judge Metz has served as U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge since 1997, with 2012 marking his retirement. His time on the bench will be closed out by serving as chief judge of that court since May 2010. A native of Indianapolis, Judge Metz served as a Commissioner on the Marion Circuit Court and a Judge in the Marion Superior Court before joining the federal bench. Judge Metz’s law career includes several years as a private practice attorney and as an assistant attorney general in the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

Judge Metz earned his J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law—Bloomington and has been involved with numerous professional and civic organizations throughout his career, including the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the Indiana University Alumni Association, the Eiteljorg Museum and the Indianapolis Zoological Society.

Judge Metz’s involvement with the IndyBar has spanned numerous committees, task forces and boards since the late 1980s, including service on the IndyBar Board of Directors in 1989, 1990, 2010 and 2011 and on the Indianapolis Bar Foundation Board from 1995 to 1997. Judge Metz received the Paul H. Buchanan Jr. Award of Excellence, the bar’s highest honor, in 2001.

For Judge Metz, professionalism has continued to play an important role throughout his career, whether in private practice or on the bench.

“Attorneys should be doing their best when they are representing their clients, and judges should be doing their best when they are deciding cases. Being a professional comes with the responsibility to do your job to the best of your ability whether you are a lawyer or a judge,” says Metz. “Also, being a judge does not come with a pass on treating attorneys and litigants in a courteous manner. To do otherwise would be highly unprofessional.”

Zweig, a graduate of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and a current member of the bar’s Board of Directors, concentrates her practice in complex commercial litigation and health care law, while also representing clients with administrative and governmental contract concerns.

“To communicate professionalism, I aspire with every interaction to walk away thinking that there is nothing I would have said or done differently. Mind you, that is not always the case, but that is explicitly my goal,” says Zweig, commenting on the role that professionalism plays in her career. “I learned early on that table-banging and other shenanigans never signal strength or skilled advocacy. That stuff is simply ineffective and the refuge of the lazy.”

Zweig’s legal community service is wide-ranging. She recently accepted an appointment to the Indiana Pro Bono Commission after having served on the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission from 2000 to 2011. In addition to extensive involvement in the legal community, Zweig serves the community through a number of local organizations, including the Indianapolis Art Center, the Immigrant Welcome Center and the Festival Music Society.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Zweig was one of the founders of Indiana’s first Guardian Ad Litem/Court Appointed Special Advocate project, which laid the groundwork for providing independent representation and services statewide to children in the juvenile court system due to abuse and neglect.

Judge Metz and Zweig will be honored at the bar’s Professionalism Luncheon, to be held Thursday, October 11 at noon at the Columbia Club. The luncheon will also feature special guest speaker Hon. Sarah Evans Barker of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Registration can be found online at www.indybar.org.•

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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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