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LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2018: Caitlin S. Schroeder

Associate, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Indianapolis Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 2011

May 2, 2018

Caitlin Schroeder is a skilled litigator who’s defended cases ranging from antitrust and product liability to attorney discipline. She’s an authority on social media discovery and frequently writes about legal ethics. She also dedicates her time to mentoring international law students and volunteering for Project Home Indy, which provides shelter for pregnant teens.

lil-schroeder-2018.jpgWhen did you first decide you would become a lawyer, and what motivated you?

I’ve always had a profound sense of right and wrong, and growing up, the lawyers on TV that I saw

appealed to that sense. I’m incredibly lucky that a career I first picked based on television shows ended

up being far from the drama they portrayed and much more about skills I really enjoy — reading and

writing.

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

Judge William T. Lawrence, late IU Maurer professor Dennis Long, and Don Lundberg all taught me that

being the best at what you do doesn’t give you permission to be unkind. You can uphold the law,

demand the best of your students, or be a zealous advocate while still respecting the humanity in

others.

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

Helping others understand their rights and defending their interests.

What drove your interest in the practice area of ethics and professional responsibility?

The lawyer-client relationship is pretty unique, but with all of its benefits and protections come

responsibilities too. I enjoy grappling with issues that require a very careful balancing of our duties to

our clients against the pressures of practicing law as a business.

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

Working in an office can lead to sedentary days, so I try to spend as much time moving as I can. I most

enjoy playing at the park or pool with my husband and daughter, but I also swim, lift weights or do yoga

most days of the week.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I hope that in 20 years I have been able to follow my faith, nurture my family, and serve my clients in a

way that inspires my daughter to believe in her power and worth as a woman.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I spent a year in college taking classes at Eberhard-Karls University in Tübingen, Germany. My classes

were in German and by the end of the year, I was fluent. I don’t have many opportunities to speak

German now, but when I hear German during the day, I dream in German at night.

What is your most rewarding volunteer or community involvement?

Serving on the board of directors for Project Home Indy, Inc. PHI provides holistic, trauma-informed services and residential housing to teen mothers who might otherwise be homeless or separated from their children. If I’ve given just one mom and baby a chance to succeed by breaking the cycle of abuse and poverty, it’s worth every minute.

What has been your most memorable case?

The discipline and bar admission cases I work on are always especially memorable because of the high

stakes; I am defending someone’s livelihood.

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

The legal profession will find ways to accept, integrate, and leverage technology to make the provision

of legal services more efficient. I hope we will react to the economic pressure from non-lawyer legal

service providers by finding ways to restructure legal services so that more people can access a lawyer

when they need one.

What was your most memorable job before becoming an attorney?

I was a swimming coach for 5- to 8-year-olds. I loved seeing the pride and confidence on my

swimmers’ faces when they completed a race for the first time or swam a personal best time.

If you hadn’t pursued a legal career, what would you be doing instead?

I would be a teacher. Helping others succeed isn’t really that different from what I do as a lawyer, and

it’s where my passion lies.•

Read more Leadership in Law profiles.

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