Each year, the IndyBar Women and the Law Division presents the Antoinette Dakin Leach Award to recognize the accomplishments of a female attorney in central Indiana. The award is named in honor of Antoinette Dakin Leach, one of the first women admitted to the Indiana Bar.
In the same spirit of Antoinette Dakin Leach, this year’s recipient, Sue Shadley of Plews Shadley Racher & Braun, has made her name as she has ticked off a number of her own “firsts” for female attorneys in the Indy legal community.
Among them: First general counsel of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. First woman to become a name partner in a top 15 Indianapolis law firm. First woman to become managing partner in a top 15 Indianapolis law firm.
Partner George Plews notes in his nomination, “Sue is truly an example for female attorneys in Indiana. She uses her success to elevate other female attorneys so that they can leave their own marks in the law. Sue continually offers support, guidance and reassurance.”
Before she co-founded Plews Shadley Racher & Braun in 1988, Shadley held a series of prominent environmental law, public service positions in Indiana, including attorney for the Air Pollution Control Division of the Indiana State Board of Healh, attorney for the Division of Reclamation in the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, administrative law judge for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, and general counsel for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s Solid Waste Management Board, Air Pollution Control Board and Water Pollution Control Board. She was also an attorney for Indiana University from 1977-1978.
Shadley became the Indiana Manager of Governmental Affairs for Waste Management Inc. in 1988. That same year, she started Plews & Shadley as a founding partner. Now known as Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, the firm celebrated its 25th Anniversary on August 1.
As a partner in the firm, Shadley has worked tirelessly on behalf of the firm’s growth and success, devoting much of her time and energy into mentoring younger lawyers in the firm. As a female pioneer in the field, she has been a natural role model to other female attorneys.
While building a successful firm and becoming a leader in her practice area, Shadley has also served on numerous government commissions, including panels to revise medical waste regulations and environmental crime statutes. She has chaired both the IndyBar and Indiana State Bar Association environmental law sections. Shadley has been very involved in the Central Indiana Technical and Environmental Society (CITES) for several years. She has also spoken at innumerable continuing legal education programs and other workshops on a wide variety of environmental topics.
Shadley’s passion for environmental issues and protection of the earth and its creatures permeates her daily life, where she is also an avid animal lover who opens her home and heart to countless animals.
Plews notes, “Sue has absolute integrity in how she approaches any legal question. She believes the law, particularly environmental law, is a very vital, precious thing that is to be honored so we all can enjoy a better environment. Her depth of knowledge and attention to detail are inspiring.”
Shadley will be honored at a luncheon held at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in downtown Indianapolis on October 12. Registration is available online at indybar.org/events.•