This is the last column I will write as president of the Indianapolis Bar Association. I’m sure it won’t surprise you that writing this column was one of the hardest duties of the job for me. My fear of failure was so bad that it kept me from expressing interest in serving as president for quite some time. I hope we haven’t lost readership as a result of my columns.
As with most things we dread, it’s the anticipation of the task which is usually worse than actually doing it. This has been true of most of the bi-weekly columns. Once I have the idea, the writing comes easily. But, ironically, this time it’s especially hard because it’s the last time I’ll do it.
I started to write about the things that were hard in this job and the things I enjoyed the most. I quickly realized that readers don’t read this to learn about me, but to learn about the association. So, for my last stab at this task, I’ll tell you what’s in store for all of us as members.
Our new president will be Nissa Ricafort and her right hand man will be James Bell, president-elect. They have been friends since college days at DePauw and they are really fun to be around. Nissa calls James out when he needs it and he gives it right back. James told me 2018 seemed so far away until recently when he realized that it’s fast approaching. He’s “taking notes” about everything Nissa does this year. Both are outstanding and well-known lawyers in their fields, and they both work in “smallish” law firms. So, they’re dealing with the same practice management issues most of our members are facing. They “get it.”
The leadership and the staff of the IndyBar are determined to up our game next year. First up, we’ll be changing many of the CLEs. While we’ll still do some basic CLEs, we’re going to encourage every section to sponsor high-level substantive learning. Judge Graham and I have led the Advanced Bankruptcy Roundtable at the IndyBar for a few years and it’s always a packed house. The educational experience is excellent and I always leave the room with “news I can use” immediately. The IndyBar is going to expand this to more substantive areas.
We’re also going to fool around with the length of the CLEs. We’ve always been known for our brown bag lunch CLEs but we’ve grown up and it’s time to expand upon that. We’ll be doing more half-day and full- day seminars, still taught by leaders in an area of law. We’re also considering doing the opposite: micro-learning online CLE for 15 minutes, earning .25 hours of credit.
And, speaking of mixing it up, we’re going to do more events on the north side of Indianapolis to make it easy for the increasing number of north side members to participate without the drive downtown. We’re thinking of doing it on the same day of each month, so members can plan in advance to be there. So, if your office or your home are on the north side, please look for these.
I also hear talk about a Walk to Louisville in anticipation of Bench Bar next year. No, we won’t actually walk to Louisville, but we’ll do a treadmill-type challenge. Eric Engebretson is the chair of the Bench Bar Conference, and he’s got some great plans. Eric is from the Indiana side of Louisville, so Bench Bar will almost be in his backyard. There will be more family programming and, if you’re not looking for family entertainment, I hear talk of some bourbon tasting. Stay tuned to hear much more about that. It’ll be the best Bench Bar event we’ve ever had.
We’re talking about lots of other new ideas such as bringing in a national speaker, providing a personal tax seminar for young professionals, maybe having yoga or pilates in the office at the end of the day, tech training, and literally pages of other new ideas. If you have ideas or if you like some of these new ideas I’ve mentioned, please let someone on the board or a staff member know what you want from your association.
But, now it’s my time to end this chapter of my career with the IndyBar. J.K. Rowling said that there are some things you just can’t share without ending up liking each other. And sharing the IndyBar experience is one of those things for me.
After 38 years as a lawyer in this community, this year I’ve met and shared so many experiences with lawyers I wouldn’t have ever known and I’ve had the priceless chance to take many professional relationships to the level of friendships. Thanks for sharing your time and yourself with me this year. Thanks to the staff and to the board and to the volunteers for sharing the IndyBar with me this past year. It’s been more fun than I ever expected and much like a good book, it has come to an end far too soon.•