LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2016: Hon. Craig J. Bobay

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When commercial courts start operating in Indiana, Allen Superior Judge Craig Bobay will have had a hand in their procedures and function. The judge’s court is one of six participating in a pilot project established by the Indiana Supreme Court in January 2016 that will run three years, and he chairs the Indiana Commercial Court Work Group. He has served the Judicial Conference of Indiana on several committees, including the Judicial Administration Committee. He worked in private practice for five years before becoming a magistrate judge in Allen Circuit and Superior courts. He became a Superior Court judge in 2013. Craig currently is president of the St. Thomas More Society of Fort Wayne and writes extensively on various topics in the law.

bobay-15col.jpg (IL photo/Eric Learned)

Your writing has been published in state and local bar journals. What do you enjoy about writing?

By conducting the research and spending time in thought searching for just the right words to express myself, I gain an even better grasp of the material. I also believe the judiciary has a leadership role to perform in providing legal education, and I am honored to be able to fulfill that obligation.

You give tours of the historic Allen County courthouse. What’s something about it most people don’t know?

Many people know that the Allen County courthouse opened in 1902 and cost a little more than $800,000 to build. (Most counties were spending about $300,000 to build new courthouses at that time.) Many do not know that Allen County retired the bond that funded the courthouse construction in a little less than 40 years, and in fact had a community gala celebrating the Allen County courthouse “mortgage burning” on Jan. 1, 1940. A large poster advertising the “mortgage burning” was found in the archives a couple of years ago, and now hangs on a wall in Room 300, near the Circuit Courtroom.

What will the legal profession look like in 15 years?

The basics of a litigation practice will remain the same, with incremental change; however, technological advances will continue to impact the profession in significant ways. The profession will continue to ignore the problem of an oversupply of lawyers and the related problem of massive student debt loads for new lawyers. These problems could cause a significant growth in ethical lapses and further erode public confidence in the bar.

Have you noticed a change in civility since you began practicing?

No. The level of civility among the bar in Allen County continues to be very high and makes our work environment very enjoyable.

Why did you become a lawyer?

I had been a juvenile probation officer and then a court administrator in Allen County before I attended law school. I hoped I could be a more effective change agent for the community if I earned the J.D.

If you couldn’t be a lawyer, what would you do for a living?

Unless another opportunity would have swept me away, I was very happy as a court administrator. Before starting on this career path, I was also interested in working in our state or national park systems.

What was the most memorable job you had prior to becoming an attorney?

Being a dad to my daughters.

What’s something you wish you could tell your younger self?

Don’t worry, younger self. Stay on the path you have begun. All will work out well.

What’s been the biggest change in the practice of law since you began?

The enormous impact of electronic information and communication in almost every facet of legal practice.

What’s something about you not many people know?

My first date with my lovely wife, Nancy, was at the Valentine’s Day dance when we were seniors in high school, 42 years ago.

What do you like the most about being an attorney? What do you like least?

There really is nothing that I dislike about my job. It is always challenging and never boring. I am proud to be in the profession that protects our constitutional rights and enforces the rule of law.


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