In conjunction with its 2017 Annual Meeting in French Lick Nov. 16-17, the DTCI will recognize the outstanding defense lawyers of the year.
Defense Lawyer of the Year
Stephen R. Pennell has been named the 2017 DTCI Defense Lawyer of the Year. He is a partner in the Lafayette firm of Stuart & Branigin. The Defense Lawyer of the Year award is presented to an attorney who has promoted the interests of the Indiana defense bar in a most significant way in the fields of litigation, legislation, publication or participation in local, state or national defense organizations. Mr. Pennell has obtained defense verdicts in each of his cases in 2017. In Dodson v. Indiana University, the trial court granted his motion for summary judgment on all counts, which was affirmed by the Indiana Court of Appeals. In Howey v. Menard, a slip-and-fall case, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana granted his motion for summary judgment. Similar success at the motions stage occurred in Ferguson v. Menard, Jewel Washer v. Purdue, and Ward v. American Fibertech.
Diplomat of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel
The DTCI will also install as a Diplomat of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel a member of the Indiana bar who, in the judgment of the officers and directors of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana, has distinguished himself throughout his career through outstanding contributions to the representation of clients in the defense of litigation matters. The 2017 recipient is Douglas King, partner in the Indianapolis office of Wooden McLaughlin.
Outstanding Young Lawyer
The DTCI Outstanding Young Lawyer award is presented to a member of the Defense Trial Counsel, less than 35 years old, who has shown leadership qualities in service to the Indiana defense bar, the national defense bar or the community. The 2017 recipient is Elizabeth Trachtman Villa, an associate with Quarles & Brady. In her former firm, Ms. Villa practiced extensively in the defense of physicians and hospitals throughout Indiana, second-chairing several jury trials and helping to obtain multiple defense verdicts for her clients. After joining Quarles & Brady, she has developed a national practice in the firm’s commercial litigation and dispute resolution practice group. In 2016 and 2017, she was selected as a Rising Star by Indiana Super Lawyers and is involved in attorney recruitment and mentoring of law students. She regularly takes pro bono cases and is active in the firm’s community outreach program, “Quarles Cares.”•