By Tyler D. Helmond, Voyles Zahn & Paul
Donald R. Lundberg
Deputy General Counsel, Barnes & Thornburg
He is a graduate of the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington. He served as Director of Litigation at the Legal Services Organization of Indiana and as the Executive Secretary of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission before joining Barnes & Thornburg LLP. He is Donald Lundberg, and he has been served with interrogatories.
Q You spent about 20 years at the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission before leaving for private practice. What has been the biggest change?
A Remember, before that I was a lawyer for 15 years with what is now Indiana Legal Services. The biggest change for me has been experiencing the entrepreneurial aspects of the practice of law. New life experiences are good. I have been enjoying this one.
Q What is your default Starbucks order?
A Cuppa Joe. Black, no sugar. I’m easy to please.
Q If you decided to start tweeting, what would your twitter handle be?
A Your question assumes I do not tweet. I would be offended if it weren’t true. Never having thought about it before, I’d draw on my Res Gestae column and select @EthicsCurbstone.
Q What is your favorite part about practicing at Barnes and Thornburg?
A Easy. The great colleagues and clients. In every legal job I have had, the things that have sustained me in the long run are the personal relationships.
Q If you had the opportunity to meet one deceased jurist through time travel, who would it be and why?
A I’d say Learned Hand, if for no other reason than it’s such a great name. And then there’s the fact that he had one of the great legal minds. The meeting would be embarrassing though, since I would be a blithering idiot.
Q Who are the lawyers you admire most?
A The ones who have the passion to serve their clients well, with the humanity to avoid being jerks to their fellow lawyers.
Q Letterman or Leno?
A What a question. Letterman. Are you really from around here?
Q If you were to give a law school commencement address to one of the classes of 2014, what would you say?
A I think the title might be “The Importance of Plan B.” Most folks who go to law school think they will do well. It is simple math that half of the class will do less well (according to GPA) than the other half. Opportunities to practice in established firms will be difficult for many new law graduates. And striking out on one’s own can be terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a lawyer and would never discourage someone from following a passion for the law into practice. In fact, the practice of law is no longer (if it ever was) a place for lawyers without passion for the work. But there are alternatives to traditional law practice that can be at least as gratifying and rewarding. Single-minded focus on practicing law can blind recent law graduates (and practicing lawyers, for that matter) to neat opportunities for which a law degree can be helpful, even if it is not necessary. As I think about it, this would be a depressing commencement address, which explains why I have never given one. I pity the law school commencement speakers of today who have to capture the excitement of becoming eligible for admission to practice while remaining realistic about the prospects.•