Maybe it’s no surprise that after a long week in the office meeting with clients, attending court hearings, and handling filings that a journey on the open road with nothing but a motorcycle and maybe a few friends is the perfect way to spend the weekend.
Or, maybe it’s just something an attorney has done long before law school and has continued as a hobby.
Whatever the reason, a number of attorneys can be found on back roads and on charity rides that take them around the state.
Jimmie “Tic Tac” McMillian, a partner at Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis, and his wife, Tamara McMillian, a non-practicing attorney who is a consultant for FlashPoint Human Resource Consulting, both started riding in the past few years and have traveled all over Indiana.
Tic Tac got his bike first in 2007 and currently rides a 2008 Kawasaki ZX14 Special Edition. Tamara, who had grown up with family members who rode motorcycles, started about a year later and currently rides a 1990 Honda Shadow Aero 1100.
Both took the safety class offered by American Bikers Aimed Toward Education, or ABATE, and said they ride with all or at least most of the recommended safety equipment, including a helmet every time. They highly recommend the ABATE class for anyone who wants to learn how to ride safely.
To increase their level of safety, they often ride with their motorcycle club, 317 Ryders. On longer trips, the group will have someone driving with a trailer in case a bike breaks down so riders don’t end up stranded.
With the group and on their own, Tic Tac and Tamara have traveled around the Midwest, including Louisville, Chicago, and Cincinnati, but they have also gone as far as Miami; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; and Baton Rouge, La., on their bikes.
Tic Tac is the group’s vice president, and Tamara is an event coordinator. Tic Tac said the motorcycle club’s 52 members have diverse backgrounds, including many professions, and are family-oriented.
Earlier this year, the group conducted a charity ride and car wash for Reach for Youth Inc. and the teen court program.
In September, 317 Ryders participated in a charity ride to Nashville and back – one of the McMillians’ favorite rides – to benefit the children of Christel House, based in Indianapolis with locations around the world. The title sponsor for that event was the Indianapolis law firm Hensley Legal Group.
While no rides are planned until next year, the 317 Ryders later this year will adopt a family for the holidays.
Tamara said that as a woman, it has been empowering to own and ride her own bike. She said a number of women and kids will give her a thumbs-up sign or wave when they see her riding.
Both she and Tic Tac also sometimes ride their motorcycles to work. Tic Tac added others at his firm also ride, which has made for interesting conversations about their bikes and different places they’ve gone on their motorcycles.
Another attorney who rides his bike to work is sole practitioner Stephen Terrell. Terrell has been riding since he was 17, but he took a break when he was starting to settle down with his job and family. About five years ago, he started thinking about riding again and now has a Honda VTX-R 1300 cc cruiser and rides regularly.
Terrell said he rides on his own and in charity rides, including a recent March of Dimes ride. Some of his family members, including a nephew and brother-in-law, also have motorcycles and they ride together sometimes.
While he does represent personal injury cases involving motorcyclists, it’s not something he advertises, he said. However, he said it does help to have knowledge about how motorcycles work when handling those types of cases.
The favorite ride he’s ever taken was through West Virginia, but he said, “Indiana has a lot of great places to ride, mostly in southern Indiana, through Morgan-Monroe State Forest, to Bloomington, near Brookville Reservoir, and along the Ohio River.”
In June 2009, he enjoyed riding his bike to the Indiana State Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Conference at Belterra Resort on the Ohio River in the southeast corner of the state.
He said it’s not uncommon on nice days for those who visit his law firm to see two motorcycles in the parking lot – he and his secretary often ride to work.
Terrell also rides with another attorney, Patrick Olmstead of the Indianapolis firm Hoover Hull. Olmstead has also been riding since a young age – his father taught him how to ride dirt bikes when he was 14 or 15, he said.
Like Terrell, Olmstead rode a motorcycle for a while – including as a student at Notre Dame for undergrad and at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, but after he graduated from law school in 2001, he sold his motorcycle and quit riding for a while.
Recently, he took up riding again and currently rides a 1999 Honda Magna that’s black with an orange sunburst.
Olmstead also enjoys riding through southern Indiana, particularly along the Ohio River, which was the next ride he planned after speaking with Indiana Lawyer for this article.
It’s not just about getting away from the office, but, he said, “I enjoy the feeling of riding the bike. I’ve always loved working on cars and to have a perfectly tuned engine that goes fast.”
When he rides with his wife, Julie, and their kids, he said, “I like to put Julie or one of the kids on the back and it’s uninterrupted time.”
They’ve added an intercom system on their helmets to connect them while they ride. And his 19-year-old daughter recently bought her own bike and is also learning to ride from Olmstead’s father, he said.
Olmstead also rides his bike to work, depending on his schedule for the day.
Another attorney who might be spotted on a motorcycle is I.U. School of Law – Indianapolis Dean Gary Roberts.
“I have had different bikes over the years, ranging from a larger 750cc Honda to an 80cc scooter,” he said via e-mail. “What I currently have is a 250cc Vespa – it’s a motorcycle engine in a scooter body, and it’s wonderful. I zip around on it all year long, even in the winter unless the streets are icy.”
While he doesn’t take it on long trips, he said, “The Vespa is perfect for getting around the metropolitan area – it is fun, it is easy to maneuver through traffic, it is very easy to find a spot to park for free (even right downtown), and it gets phenomenal gas mileage (about 70 mpg).”
Roberts said he is sometimes tempted to buy a bigger bike for longer trips, and the others agreed that the best part of riding is being close to nature.
Olmstead said he often looks for old-growth forests to ride through. Tamara, a Chicago native, said if not for riding she probably would never have seen Indiana’s back roads.
“We see trees, farms, fields, flowers – it’s very beautiful. It’s very different from a car, it’s even different from riding in a convertible,” she said.
Tic Tac and Olmstead said that not only do events for riders support various charities, but riding can lead to networking opportunities. Olmstead said he’s started client relationships after meeting people on rides, and Tic Tac has met other lawyers that way.
“Some attorneys golf,” he said. “We ride.”•