IndyBar: BENCH BAR 2015: Is it Too Good to Be True?

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john-trimble-ibaI was about 8 years old when I first learned the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it’s too good to be true.” I came home from school one day and my Mom told me that we were having dinner that night at Dairy Queen (we never had dinner at Dairy Queen). An hour later I was actually having dinner at Dairy Queen. However, I had also been to the local health clinic first for a very painful flu shot in my gullible rear end.

To all of you … my friends in the IndyBar, I am here today to break the rule:  Bench Bar 2015 is going to be off the charts GOOD, and while it may sound too good to be true, take my word for it.  It’s true.

My message this week is for everyone, but I am particularly interested to speak to those of you who have never attended. You simply have no idea about the fun you are missing and the opportunities Bench Bar presents.

We kick off on Thursday, June 18 with a golf outing for our golfing members at the Chariot Run Golf Club in southern Indiana. Due to a generous sponsorship by Wilson Kehoe & Winingham, the price for green fees, cart, lunch, beverages and bountiful favors and prizes is only $75 per golfer. Bragging rights are on the line, so golfers need to be there.

Thursday evening we will have a big cocktail reception followed by dine-arounds, dinner on your own, or a fabulous buffet at the Muhammad Ali Center. Hardy souls can then party on Fourth Street or come back to the President’s hospitality suite (or both.) The Thursday night activities have grown through the years, and it has become one truly great night of friends catching up with friends. You don’t want to miss it.

Our seminar gets underway on Friday morning with a nice breakfast. Then, acclaimed legal futurist, Prof. William Henderson of Indiana University Maurer School of Law, will speak to us about where the legal world is headed. Every commentator on the legal profession is in agreement that we are facing profound changes in our business, and the changes will eventually drop down to affect everyone. You need to know about these changes before they happen. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You don’t skate to the puck … You skate to where the puck will be.” Prof. Henderson will give you much needed guidance to survive and thrive when others will not.

Everyone will likely remember the Duke lacrosse scandal. What most people do not recall is that the lacrosse players were eventually declared innocent and the prosecutor lost his law license and was convicted of prosecutorial misconduct. One of the lead defense attorneys, Jim Cooney of North Carolina, will come tell us the fascinating story of how the defense team compiled a defense in the face of enormous public outrage. He will share tips on technology and social media that assisted the team in creating a timeline that exonerated the players.

At lunch on Friday, you will have the treat of hearing one of America’s most endearing legal speakers. Judge Alex Sanders, former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of South Carolina, will speak on the role of lawyers in America as we face and respond to shootings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, North Charleston and Baltimore. Judge Sanders founded the Charleston College of Law where all students are required to complete hours of public service and pro bono work in order to graduate. He is a master speaker and storyteller who you will long remember.

In the afternoon on Friday we are trying a format that has garnered great excitement. Instead of the usual panel discussions, each of the varying tracks will have 15-minute TED Talk style speeches by some of Indy’s most beloved and high-profile lawyers and judges. Come hear Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson speak on the topic “Don’t Go Breaking My Hart” or Erin Clancy’s talk on “Foul Mouth or Free Speech: A Foray Into the Fitness of the Four Letter Word.” The Civil, Family Law, and Criminal tracks will all have some of the most stimulating and entertaining oratory that you have ever encountered. Your only challenge will be how to choose from among the tantalizing topics and speakers.

Friday night will be another great reception and a dinner at the hotel with the entire assembly of attendees. After dinner many will head out to party while others will join the Indianapolis Bar Foundation for a night of Trivial Pursuit. Again, there will be major bragging rights on the line.

Saturday, after a great breakfast, we will have an outstanding ethics talk by attorney Mark Olson of Minnesota. Mark has been invited by lawyer groups nationwide to speak on ethics. His style is to throw out scenarios, poll the crowd for the right answer, and then straighten us all out when we get it wrong. We all need the ethics credits, and a talk by Mark Olson is a great way to get them.

Those of you who know me well might suggest that I am a bit of a huckster. You say, “Trimble, this can’t be as good as you are leading us to believe!” However, I stand by my statement at the beginning of this shaggy dog story:  It is all true. Bench Bar 2015 is going to be non-stop fun and excitement.  If you miss it, you may have the same regret your mother had when she passed on the chance to go to Woodstock.

It’s true. Life is too short for regrets, so come to Bench Bar 2015.• #WILLYOUBETHERE?

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