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LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2018: Kevin Charles Murray

Partner, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Indianapolis Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, 1979

May 2, 2018

Kevin Murray’s practice fittingly is government service. He’s served Indiana government in numerous capacities for nearly 40 years, including multiple Democratic governors and as counsel to Democratic caucuses of the Indiana House and Senate, and as Senate parliamentarian. He’s also been a tireless advocate for civility and a proud champion of Irish-American causes.

lil-murray-2018.jpgWhat was your most memorable job before becoming an attorney?

Farming — Garst Farms, Hancock County, the summer of 1973. I learned the concept of being a “professional” there. And I learned that if you pursue your passion, you never have to work.

When did you first decide you would become a lawyer, and what motivated you?

Age 14. I loved history and lawyers were agents of change for the common good. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Abe Lincoln were my heroes.

Who is someone who inspired or mentored you, and what did you learn from them?

I served as a Senate intern to Sen. Robert J. Fair, the last Democratic President Pro Tempore of the Indiana Senate (1977-78). Sen. Fair and his outstanding legal counsel, Jack Ross, both taught me how to think, act, and even look like a lawyer.

What’s been the most rewarding aspect of your practice?

I am my late Father’s son. Like Indianapolis Fire Department Capt. Kelly Murray, I enjoy the opportunity to help people.

You recently took obtained a master’s degree in historic preservation. What led to that study?

I simply love history and the built environment. Structures say so much about where we have been and where we are going. Preservation enhances our collective memory about what is truly important.

What do you most enjoy doing when you’re not in the office?

Spending time with Kasey Kendrick, visiting with the McGinleys at the Golden Ace Inn, and occasionally staying at my wee cottage in County Donegal, Ireland.

What advice would you give your younger self?

To paraphrase World War II hero Father Thomas Scecina: Do what is expected of you, then do more —always and in every endeavor.

You’re a strong advocate for civility in the profession. Why is that important to you?

Lawyers are the adhesive that keeps our diverse society together. Civility helps make that adhesion more flexible and forgiving. Together, we are a better people.

What’s something about you not many people know?

My previous business ventures include part ownerships in a liquor store and a minor league professional baseball team.

What has been your most memorable case?

Helping end the 35-year litigation over the unconstitutional conditions of the Marion County Jail, and thereafter, helping the Sheriff’s Office reach the top 1 percent in the nation. It was an arduous transformation that took nearly a decade to complete. My clients, former Sheriff Frank Anderson and Sheriff John Layton, are truly dedicated public servants.

How do you see the legal profession changing in the next decade?

I fear the depersonalization of the law and the legal profession. Lack of civility is easy when you do not really know your opponent. Lawyers should never become mere BattleBots.

How has the practice of law changed since you became a lawyer?

In 1979, our firm (Locke Reynolds) still had stenographers. The practice of law then was slow and methodical. Today, we communicate by email and text with such rapidity. Quicker is not necessarily better.•

Read more Leadership in Law profiles.

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