An Indianapolis attorney is the new magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana.
Debra McVicker Lynch, of counsel at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, fills the position left empty after Judge William T. Lawrence was elevated to Article III judgeship July 1.
Lynch said she is elated and honored that the court expressed its confidence in her to select her as magistrate judge. Although she has enjoyed her time in private practice, she said she’s aspired to be a judge for many years.
More than 50 applications were submitted for the magistrate judgeship, with five candidates recommended to the U.S. District judges in the Southern District by the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Committee chaired by retired Magistrate Judge V. Sue Shields.
In addition to practicing antitrust and litigation law, Lynch is an adjunct professor at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, teaching a complex litigation course. Lynch is a Muncie native and graduate of Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. She served as a law clerk in the District Court for Judge Sarah Evans Barker from 1986-1988.
Lynch said she hopes to continuing teaching once she becomes magistrate judge.
“My current intent is to keep teaching. I think it will be a real challenge, especially with this fall semester with so many changes occuring,” she said.
A critical part of a magistrate judge’s position is conducting mediation and settlement proceedings in civil cases. U.S. magistrate judges are appointed by the judges of the U.S. District Court for an eight-year term and are eligible for reappointment to successive terms.
Lynch’s appointment will start upon completion of required IRS and FBI background investigations. She said the investigations are out of the court’s hands, but the court hopes the process is expedited. She doesn’t have a timetable for when she may start as magistrate judge.
“In all the years I’ve been in private practice, I’ve really felt fortunate to practice regularly before the Southern District of Indiana. This opportunity to join their ranks is an awesome responsibility,” Lynch said. “My primary goal is to continue the excellence of the court.”