Voyles: Thoughts for this, my final column

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As my year as your President comes to an end and my friend, Chris Hickey, begins her year as your President, I just wanted to take this opportunity to jot down some of my random thoughts from the past year.

As a lawyer who practices in the field of criminal law - and one of the few who has been given the honor of being President of the IBA - I would like to thank all of the other great lawyers who also practice criminal law and all the public defenders who labor so long and hard, making us proud as they protect the rights of all citizens.

To all the other wonderful lawyers who have stopped me on the street or shook my hand at a social event to tell me that they are proud of the IBA, the work that we do and the effort that our staff makes to carry out its duties, I say "thank you."

At the beginning of my term last January, I could not have predicted all the support I have received. Those things I told you I wanted do for the IBA this year, I believe we have met our goals. We've increased membership and seen dues renewals come in at a tremendous rate, given the state of the economy.

We've seen young people get involved in the Bar, whether it's through committee work or pro bono projects. That's something that I am proud of - that our local practitioners continue to see the value of making connections and collegiality.

I must tell you that when I was asked to meet with the nominating committee almost three years ago as a possible candidate for the President of the IBA, I agreed very reluctantly to attend that meeting. When I was called and informed that I had been chosen, I was both surprised and fearful that I had just made a very bad mistake.

Now three years later, I can tell you it has been one of the best years of my law career. Somehow, with the help of all of the invaluable people I count on every day, I was able to make most of the meetings and social events - and finish this column on time. I have used other columns to thank both my staff and the staff of the IBA for all that they have done, but the sentiment bears repeating.

I guess you never really know if you have been able to keep up the standards that others have set for the IBA, but as I look back over the last year, I think we have had some success in that area. With my hard-working and dedicated board and the association's standing committees, we tackled issues such as judicial criticism, membership recruitment and retention, professionalism standards and recognition, and more.

One of the things I treasure most is having a sense of humor and boy did that come in handy this year. Not only did I take the time to laugh at myself pretty often, but also to enjoy some light moments with my board and fellow officers. As a famous comedian once said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people."

During the last year we have also had some sadness, as members of our profession have passed away, along with family members and friends. This is all just part of the human experience we deal with in our lives.

As we move into the new year, I hope all of you will continue to be active in the IBA by helping to bring in a new member and enjoying the benefits of the best bar association in the country.

The role any President has is merely a reflection of the quality of the organization he or she leads and to keep your hand firmly on the rudder so that you guide that association both through smooth and troubled waters.

I hope you believe I have done that for the IBA in 2009.

Thank you all for permitting me to lead you and for all of your support - it has been a wonderful experience. Please help Chris Hickey have an even better year in 2010 for the IBA.


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  1. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

  3. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise