IndyBar: “We Should Do Lunch!” — Take Opposing (or Any) Counsel to Lunch August 9

iba-pres-bell-james-2018After a decade or so of working in downtown Indy, I moved my office to the north side in 2016. And even though I am required to be downtown for many parts of my professional life, it’s never been that big of a problem.

Until lately.

Lately, I feel like “Pitfall Harry” from the Atari 2600 game every time I get south of 20th Street. For example, last Wednesday, with the “Mission Impossible” music playing in the background, I successfully parked on the street, fed the meter, avoided a sinkhole and made it to the federal courthouse in time for a hearing. I then left the courthouse, dodged an electric scooter, twisted my ankle in a pothole and limped across the street to the IndyBar office for a meeting.

Once that was over, I descended down the elevator, walked out onto Penn and was contemplating whether it would be safer to make my way through the construction by the City-County Building by mounting pack mule or by riding a camel. While I was standing there making this very important decision, a guy from my law school class who I had not seen for years stopped me for a quick chat. We exchanged pleasantries, talked about our kids, he dropped the name of a country club I don’t belong to and then he “complained” about how busy he was. And then the even more predictable occurred.

As he walked away, he uttered the phrase that almost all lawyers recite when they end a conversation like this: “We should do lunch,” he said. So as I walked away, I shouted back the obligatory response, “We really should!”

At this point, we all know with certainty that that lunch is never going to happen. I don’t know why we even bother to say “let’s do lunch,” “we oughtta get a beer,” or “we should get together sometime,” anymore. These phrases have become less of an invitation to meet with an old friend and more of a polite way for us to disengage from a conversation. The French have “au revoir,” Spanish speakers say “adiós” and Hoosier lawyers always say, “let’s do lunch.” I guess it just feels less empty to say, “we should do lunch,” than it does to say “Goodbye. I may never see you again and I’m sadly cool with it.”

My wife Anne and I argue all the time over whether “we should do lunch” is the biggest lie ever told. To me, it’s not a lie. Usually, we should –in fact –“do lunch.” Anne argues that the spirit of the comment reeks of fraud because there was never intent to do lunch. She thinks that we should close these conversations by stating something more transparent like, “let’s talk about doing lunch, but never do it!” To her, that would make the world a slightly less evil place.

So I would like to challenge you to make good on your “let’s do lunch” rhetoric you spread outside of courthouses and actually do lunch with someone. Fortunately, the IndyBar has the perfect opportunity for you to pull this off. Please sign up for the Take Opposing Counsel to Lunch event, which will take place at noon on Thursday, August 9 at the Skyline Club. (Please note: you can take any counsel to the lunch if no “opposing counsel” in your life is lunch-worthy. No one will check court dockets to see if your guest qualifies as opposing counsel.)

When you make your lunch invitation, let your colleague know that Congresswoman Susan Brooks, a long-time IndyBar member, will speak on civility and professionalism from her vantage point as a former practicing lawyer, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and current member of the House of Representatives. This will not be a political event, but will be a unique opportunity for you to hear from an IndyBar member now serving in Congress.

So, let’s do lunch for real this time. The IndyBar is providing a great opportunity for you to get out from behind your desk, complete the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course that is now downtown Indy, arrive at the Skyline Club in heroic fashion and then enjoy the company of your colleagues. Go to to register! We look forward to seeing you.•

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