The following attorneys will receive the accolades of their colleagues at the DTCI Annual Meeting, November 15-16. Below are summaries of their letters of nomination.
Outstanding Young Lawyer: Jessica Williams Schnelker, Frost Brown Todd
Ms. Schnelker had an exceptional year. In January/February 2018, she was an invaluable member of the trial team representing Suzuki Japan and Suzuki America in a high-profile four-week products liability recall trial in Georgia state court. Jessica was in Atlanta for 31 days drafting briefs and motions, working with appellate counsel, preparing daily trial reports to Japan, and researching on the spot as Georgia evidentiary issues arose. The case was televised by Courtroom Viewing Network and was the subject of numerous articles. Her exceptional performance was noted by the client. She was asked to participate in the next recall trial in California.
Jessica is very involved in both DTCI and DRI and is a stalwart of her firm’s product litigation area. She has participated in several trials in 2018, including a significant federal court trial in Reno, Nevada. (Her outstanding performance while in the last stages of her pregnancy impressed the court staff, which surmised that it was the first such occurrence in that court.) She also has authored articles for DTCI publications, including the Indiana Civil Litigation Review. In short, Jessica more than meets every mark of the “Outstanding Young Lawyer” criteria.
Defense Lawyer of Year: David J. Beach, Eichhorn & Eichhorn
At the time of nomination, Mr. Beach was entering the second week of his fourth jury trial of the year — the second facing Lance Cline (ITLA’s Lawyer of the Year). These four jury trials involved widely varied and highly complex legal issues ranging from medical negligence cases with difficult facts and strong opposing counsel to federal court constitutional claims complicated by the plaintiff’s own misconduct. In an era when a remarkably small (and seemingly diminishing) number of cases actually make it to trial, for Mr. Beach to have argued four trials in less than 10 months is a testament to his fortitude and stamina. Moreover, he has exemplified what it means to be the DTCI Outstanding Lawyer by:
maintaining the highest level of professional integrity and personal courtesy in all dealings with the parties, counsel, witnesses and the Court;
pursuing the zealous advancement of our clients’ legitimate objectives but not participating in litigation based upon inappropriate movies, and;
using legal procedures for the fullest benefit of our clients without misusing or abusing the legal process.
Diplomat of the Indiana Defense Trial Counsel: Kevin C. Schiferl, Frost Brown Todd
Kevin Schiferl of the Frost Brown Todd firm is a former president of DTCI and a fine lawyer with a national and international product liability defense practice. But, moreover, he is an outstanding representative of an Indiana citizen and lawyer. This year, he represented the defendant in a product liability case. It was a very serious case in which the plaintiff’s lawyer asked for $18 million. Mr. Schiferl received a defense verdict.•