On Oct. 9, Indianapolis attorney Carol Adinamis will become the third woman to serve as president of the Indiana State Bar Association in its 119-year history. While practicing business planning, estate planning, taxation and business law at Adinamis & Saunders has prepared her as a lawyer, her prior experience as vice president and president-elect of the ISBA will make Adinamis a well-rounded leader.
“I think it’s an honor to be chosen — just to be president, period,” Adinamis said. “Personally, I feel some sort of obligation to represent the women lawyers in the state of Indiana well. I want to make them proud of me.”
Although she’s developed a great deal of confidence over the years, Adinamis recalls feeling nervous when she joined the ISBA, and she admits, “I never imagined myself in this position when I first started.”
After graduating with a B.S. in accounting from Indiana University in 1987 then earning her J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law in 1992, Adinamis became a member of the ISBA legal ethics committee and fell in love with what the legal organization had to offer.
“The state bar is the one place where I can say that being a woman, I haven’t been treated differently than men. … That’s the wonderful thing about this organization; there’s a place for everybody,” Adinamis said.
Throughout her time on the ethics committee, Adinamis served as chair for three years, along with other positions. It was during this time that Adinamis met family law attorney Patricia McKinnon.
“After watching her as a leader, I was struck by her ability to be respectful of differing viewpoints, but (also to) still keep the group focused on completing a task on time,” McKinnon said. “I took her aside when her time was up and asked her if she had ever been approached to be in leadership for the state bar. I asked her to consider it.”
Adinamis became inspired by McKinnon’s suggestion and soon found herself pursuing higher roles.
As she prepares for her year as president, Adinamis is looking forward to meeting more people and helping lawyers across the state.
“Over the years, I’ve figured the most enjoyable thing (about law) is the people that I meet.”
However, she also expects there to be moments when she’s tested.
“The challenge is going to be being that representative — representing attorneys in the state of Indiana and making sure that the bar association serves them well so that they get what they need in order to practice their area of law,” Adinamis said.
Adinamis will continue her work as a certified civil mediator and certified public accountant at Adinamis & Saunders throughout her one-year term, which will add to her already full schedule. But because she practices alongside her sister and husband, Adinamis has reliable support to help out when her to-do list becomes too long. Besides that, she’s had some practice in time management, having a full-time career with three children.
“The juggling is what you do when you’re faced with something new,” Adinamis said.
Jim Dimos, who transitioned Sept. 1 from Frost Brown Todd LLC to his new position as deputy executive director of the Chicago-based American Bar Association, also believes that Adinamis is up for the challenge. The two met through bar work, which is when Dimos first took note of the attorney’s commendable qualities.
“Carol has the ability to listen to all (people),” Dimos said. “She makes them feel that their voice is being heard and works toward a resolution. … I think she will be a fantastic president for the ISBA.”
“What struck me about Carol is that she’s always calm, always respectful of differing viewpoints,” agreed McKinnon. “That’s certainly a different way to practice law.”
With high hopes and ample support, Adinamis plans to live up to the bar set by those who came before her.
“The people that have been president before me are just outstanding people, and I just want to build on that base and refine what we have to make it even stronger than it already is,” Adinamis said.
Her plans include improving CLE programs, providing practice tools for attorneys on the ISBA website, and leading a higher-level discussion about the future of the legal profession and how lawyers can stay relevant in the future.
“My mission is to advocate for lawyers in the state of Indiana and the justice system,” Adinamis said. “I think we best do that by helping lawyers practice law in a good way and making them more efficient at what they do.”•