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Editor's Perspective: Warming thoughts of spring, Leadership in Law

January 10, 2018

editor-perspective-stafford.jpgWaking to a wind chill of -29 degrees recently, I fortified myself with these thoughts: In four months, it will be May, season of hope and renewal. Birds will sing once more, and flowers again will bloom. It will feel at least 100 degrees warmer.

And, as is our tradition in May at The Indiana Lawyer, we will host a ceremony to recognize 15 Distinguished Barristers and 15 Up and Coming Lawyers, as well as those who’ve earned these honors in years past. The warmth of May will bring with it the culmination of our annual Leadership in Law Awards, which begin with your nominations, due Jan. 17.

Like many professions, the law has its share of awards — some more or less meaningful than others. We believe the Leadership in Law recognition carries special significance for a few reasons. First, the award is based on peer nomination and support. Second, the quality of nominees is remarkably high, so selecting a limited number of recipients is never easy. Third, our honorees tell us what the recognition means to them.

“It was more meaningful because it was an honor bestowed upon me by colleagues ... who took the time to put their thoughts in writing,” said Samantha DeWester, who said she was humbled and honored to be nominated, then selected, as an Up and Coming Lawyer in 2014. She was an Indianapolis city prosecutor and deputy corporation counsel back then. In April, she took on the duty of general counsel for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Joseph Bumbleburg, a partner at the Ball Eggleston firm in Lafayette who’s closing in on 60 years in practice, was honored as a Distinguished Barrister, also in 2014. He’s become a welcome and familiar presence, attending Leadership in Law events each year since.

“I’ve been blessed by having friends and acquaintances who have been honored, and I use that as an excuse to pack my wife into the car and drive to Indianapolis,” Bumbleburg said. Some of those friends and acquaintances include former Chief Justice Brent Dickson, Thomas “Buddy” Downs, and D. William Moreau Jr., all of whom have been recognized in recent years as Distinguished Barristers.

Bumbleburg said he believes lawyers should lift up those who’ve done a good job, who deserve a pat on the back, and who serve as an example for the profession. So do we.

Since the inception of the Leadership in Law Awards in 2006, Indiana Lawyer has recognized 360 attorneys as Up and Coming Lawyers or Distinguished Barristers. Professional achievement and community involvement are among the most important criteria to determine who receives these honors, but compelling nominations tell us more about what sets a young or seasoned attorney apart to merit the awards.

If you know someone deserving of recognition as a Distinguished Barrister or an Up and Coming Lawyer, nominate them on our website — www.theindianalawyer.com/leadership-in-law-nominations-form. You also may email a nomination packet to me at dstafford@ibj.com. Or, you can mail a Leadership in Law nomination to 41 E. Washington St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

I hope you’ll take time in the days ahead to tell us about someone you believe should be a 2018 Distinguished Barrister or Up and Coming Lawyer. Meantime, stay warm, and think spring!•

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