New state public defender, BLE director chosen

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Announcing two new appointments simultaneously, the Indiana Supreme Court has chosen the state public defender and director of the Board of Law Examiners.

The court announced its decisions Thursday, filling the two vacancies and completing search processes that have been under way for months.

Stephen T. Owens of Indianapolis is the new state public defender, one of 43 attorneys who applied to succeed Susan Carpenter after her retirement May 31. He has been a deputy and chief public defender in the statewide office for nearly 25 years after being admitted to practice in October 1985.

Owens immediately begins a four-year term as the administrative head of the 67-person office with about 1,150 ongoing criminal appeals, including two death penalty cases.

“I’m extremely excited and honored, and all I can hope is to maintain what (Carpenter) has established,” Owens told Indiana Lawyer.

In addition to the public defender appointment, the court selected Bradley W. Skolnik as the next BLE leader. The Indianapolis partner at Stewart & Irwin succeeds Linda Loepker, who resigned in early December. More than 91 individuals applied for the post. While the search and review was pending, David Remondini from the Division of State Court Administration temporarily fulfilled the duties of the director.

At Stewart & Irwin, Skolnik practices in the areas of securities regulation, financial services, and general corporate litigation. Prior to his private practice, he worked as the Indiana securities commissioner in the Secretary of State’s office. He served as president of the North American Securities Administration Association, and in that role he has testified before the U.S. Congress.

“Serving as the executive director will afford me a unique opportunity to use the skills I developed as a regulator and private practitioner in an area that deeply interests me,” Skolnik said in a news release. “I passionately support the Board’s role in maintaining the integrity and high standards of the legal profession.”

The state BLE plays a pivotal role in the legal community, overseeing not only the admission of attorneys in Indiana through the bar exam but also administering legal intern certification and the formation and renewal of professional corporations, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships within the legal profession.

 “It is a coup for us to bring Brad Skolnik back to state government,” Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said in a prepared statement. “Having his management and investigatory skills at work in the judicial branch will allow us to continue ensuring the legal profession embraces the highest standards.”



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  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues