Many professional organizations and continuing legal education providers are competing for your attention, your time and your money (including money for dues, for CLE registration fees and for the income you may be foregoing while attending the organization’s events).
By far, the organization that is the greatest value to me and my practice is the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana. I’d like to share with you some of the reasons why.
1. Friendships. Many of my closest friends in the legal profession are fellow DTCI members, whom I either met through DTCI or whom I met as counsel for co-defendants in litigation, and I have enjoyed further contact with them at DTCI events. This may seem peculiar, because just about all of them are also my competitors. But it is simply fun spending time with them. This includes both attorneys close to my age whom I have known for years, even decades, as well as younger attorneys who recently started their careers. I enjoy the camaraderie of the more senior attorneys with whom I have shared a similar journey, and I enjoy the fresh perspectives and challenging questions of the younger attorneys. Every DTCI event features a broad range of ages and experience levels among the participants. While this is a clear benefit for the more senior attorneys, I think it is especially valuable to the younger attorneys. There are very few comparable opportunities to spend time in a relaxed environment with attorneys from whom you can benefit so much.
2. Professional networking. As you probably know, networking specifically for the purpose of networking is almost always a disappointment. But when you develop real relationships (as you can in an organization such as DTCI), over time you will see referrals and other opportunities coming your way. The people you get to know in DTCI are also an invaluable resource for questions you may have, such as, “What about this expert?” or “I haven’t had a case before in this county; what about this judge?”
3. The two-day annual conference in November. I could spend a whole column just on this topic. Far more than any other conference or CLE I’ve attended, the annual conference provides the most useful, on-point information and insights for my practice focused on insurance defense and insurance coverage in Indiana. The programming is broad enough, however, to be very valuable to other defense and commercial litigators, even if their practices are not oriented toward insurance carriers. The conferences are held in great locations ranging from French Lick to Turkey Run State Park to the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. The added bonus is an ample opportunity to spend time with your colleagues at receptions and cocktail parties. And at this year’s conference in Bloomington, we are working on a new initiative to include CME-accredited programming for mediators along with all the CLE and ethics credits you will need for the year.
4. Sections. Business Litigation; Construction Law; Employment Law; Health Law; Insurance; Paralegals; Product Liability; Trial Tactics; and Worker’s Compensation: Each section has programming and communications targeted to members practicing in that area of law.
5. Amicus Committee and publication opportunities. These include the opportunity to be published in the Indiana Lawyer, the DTCI law review and the “Indiana Civil Litigation Review” (as well as benefitting from the writings of your colleagues when you receive your copy of the ICLR as a DTCI member).
DTCI is the organization that does it all for me. If you are a civil defense attorney or a commercial litigator, I’d like to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you think DTCI could be a professional home for you, as it is for so many of us; or feel free to contact the DTCI executive director, Lisa Mortier (email@example.com).•
Kevin C. Tyra is a director of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana and the principal of The Tyra Law Firm P.C. in Indianapolis. He is also the chair of the DTCI membership committee. The opinions in this article are those of the author.