Profiles from 2017 followed lawyers’ personal, professional endeavors

December 27, 2017

Lawyers are an eclectic bunch who never seem to run out of stories to tell. Here is a look back at some of the memorable stories of Indiana attorneys and what they were up to — on and off the clock — from these pages in 2017.

Taking off and arriving: Rex M. Joseph departed after 29 years as counsel for Indianapolis International Airport, a period that saw a total reconstruction of the facility. Attorney Brian Tuohy landed in the position in January, bringing a bit of his own airport history — his father, the late John Tuohy, also had been an attorney and served on the airport board in the 1990s.

yir-rwanda-5-1col.jpg These Hoosier attorneys traveled to Rwanda in January on a mission trip and led legal workshops for African attorneys. (Photo courtesy of Jason Reese)

Rwandan legal missionaries: Joe Miller and Jacqueline Pimentel-Gannon of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Kelsey Raves with the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, Carrie Lynn with Indiana Legal Services Inc., and Jason Reese of Carmel’s Wagner Reese LLP took a 28-hour flight just after the new year to help attorneys in Rwanda and neighboring countries learn the skills they need to fight on behalf of the poor.

From big firms to startups: Well-known Indianapolis lawyers Donald Lundberg and Mark Waterfill left their big-firm homes at Barnes & Thornburg and Benesch, respectively, to start their own legal practices. “It’s a great adventure,” Lundberg said of opening a practice he now runs from his home.

Crash test human: New Albany attorney Dave Scott was out to prove a point about safety when he strapped himself into a retrofitted 1999 Ford Explorer — twice — that was then pushed down an embankment in a rollover test. His crash tests and video weren’t admitted in court, but he stood by the results: He was uninjured. “I went about it the same way an engineer would go about it,” Scott said.

yir-bachmeier-2-1col.jpg Barbara Bachmeier aims to empower her medical patients and legal clients and give them freedom in making decisions. (IL file photo)

Legal help, stat: Barbara Bachmeier came to the law in an unconventional way. As a nurse, she’d seen the results of domestic violence and sexual assault, among other things, and decided she could do more to help victims by going to law school. Now, she pulls ER shifts at Indiana University Methodist Hospital in addition to serving as a guardian ad litem and running her own solo law firm.

yir-hoteltango-26-1col.jpg Hotel Tango principals (from left) Adam Willfond, Hilary Barnes, Travis Barnes, Nabeela Virjee and Brian Willsey. (IL file photo)

Spirited lawyers: All lawyers pass the bar. Some open one. With a still inside. The attorneys behind the successful Indianapolis artisan distiller Hotel Tango — Hilary and Travis Barnes, Nabeela Virjee and Adam Willfond — said the decision to go into the distilled spirits business was due to Travis’ military veteran never-say-no attitude. “We literally had nothing to lose,” Virjee said.

Fashioning success: You may not know the name Mark Roscoe, but you may know the names of celebrities he’s dressed — William Shatner and Keegan-Michael Key to name just two. The Portage attorney and fashion designer continues to make a name for himself on the Hollywood red carpet with his creation of Mark Roscoe Couture.

Podcasting practitioner: Josh Brown has taken his practice to the online airwaves as the host of “Franchise Euphoria,” a top-rated podcast in its category. Thousands of listeners regularly download the Carmel attorney’s podcast to hear words of wisdom and advice about Brown’s area of professional expertise.

Finding your passion: As the focus on attorney wellness has increased in recent years, Indiana lawyers found lots of outlets for healthful “active relaxation.” For attorney Caitlin Byczko, CrossFit training relieves stress and keeps her fit. Maria Matters turns to the stage, where she’s appeared in Footlite Musicals productions. Such activities are touted as vital for wellbeing on and off the clock.

Painting his future: Justin Vining took up painting as a student at Valparaiso University Law School as a way to deal with the pressure. Turned out people liked his paintings and bought them. Now he’s building a career as a full-time artist, his plein air landscapes and cityscapes in high demand.

yir-coach-072617-7-1col.jpg Attorney and first-year Bishop Chatard High School varsity football head coach Rob Doyle works with players at practice. (IL file photo)

Leading a new practice: Longtime Indianapolis attorney Rob Doyle slowed down his practice a bit to shift his attention to a new concern: Coaching Bishop Chatard High School’s football team. Doyle took over as Trojans head coach this season after several years as an assistant. “It was just something that was really hard to pass up,” Doyle said.

yir-chavis-natalie-1col.jpg Natalie Chavis’ novel illustrates how foster care and adoption affects children and adults. (Photo courtsey of Natalie Chavis)

Novel endeavor: Indianapolis attorney Natalie Chavis’ debut novel, “Adopting Tiger,” was released to coincide with observations of National Adoption Day in November. A family law attorney, Chavis said her book portrays how foster care and adoption affects children and adults, drawing on some of her experiences representing parties in those situations.

Revving into high gear: Becca Polak took on a new role as president of TradeRev, leading a business unit of Carmel-based KAR Auction Services that’s poised to dominate the untapped market dealer-to-dealer auto sales market. As if that’s not enough of a task, she also remains chief legal officer and secretary of KAR.•


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