The Indiana legal community will honor its top public defender, Larry Landis, this week for his contributions in the courtroom, the Statehouse and the classroom.
A special dinner for Landis will be held Thursday at the Indiana Landmarks Center, 1201 Central Avenue, Indianapolis. A cocktail reception will begin at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. More information, including how to make reservations, can be found here.
Landis retired July 2 after more than 40 years leading the Indiana Public Defender Council. The Indianapolis Legal Aid Society and Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Melissa May planned the dinner to recognize Landis and celebrate his service.
In addition to his duties at the IPDC and past tenure on the ILAS board of directors, Landis also taught trial advocacy as the lead adjunct professor for many years at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. May was among the co-adjuncts he tapped to help with the Saturday morning class.
More than teaching basic courtroom skills, like how to examine witnesses and present evidence, Landis gave his students a broader understanding, May said. He taught the class why they were doing something and how their actions would fit into the overall scheme of the trial.
“I think what makes him such a good teacher is how much he cares that the students learn,” May said. “He’s passionate about lawyers being good lawyers and lawyers following the rules.”
From working with Landis, May said she has learned to listen to the students and answer not just their questions, but also help them understand the underlying issues behind what they are asking. She’ll put that knowledge to use as she prepares to take over as lead adjunct of the trial advocacy course.
May, along with David Shircliff of the Lawrence County Public Defender Agency, will be hosting Thursday’s dinner. The evening will feature brief speeches by attorney David Cook, who has taught with Landis, Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, and Don Murphy of the IPDC. Also, an official from the office of Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, will present the remarks about Landis’ career and contributions that were read into the Congressional Record.
The money raised through the dinner will cover the cost for the evening. Any leftover funds will go to ILAS to support educational programs for lawyers.