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IndyBar: Meet New President Tom Barnard

January 9, 2019

iba-tom2col.jpgWho’s the new IndyBar president? We sat down with Tom Barnard of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP to give you an exclusive peek inside the mind of the IndyBar’s newest leader! Check it out below.

How did you decide to become a lawyer?

I received my first lesson in legal matters in the fifth grade when I founded “Tom’s Enterprises” and sold snacks out of my briefcase at school. I had a print shop and would make nameplates for kids’ lunchboxes. I sold peppermint-flavored toothpicks. I also made loans to classmates (which is generally a bad idea.) The biggest kid in our class (I think the statute has run but I’ll nevertheless withhold his name) worked as my loan collector, and we ran into problems when I failed to document loan terms prior to actually making the loan. Law school seemed like a good idea after that experience.

How did you initially get involved with the IndyBar?

I joined the IndyBar in 1982 because the managing partner of my law firm required it. I had no idea how important this would be later in my career. It was a bit like going to church when you’re 5 years old: You don’t fully understand why you are there, but as you grow older, you begin to realize why your parents thought it so important. As my law career evolved, I gained new friendships through the IndyBar, found leadership opportunities and soon understood just how impactful IndyBar participation can be to a developing attorney.

What made you interested in being president?

After 30 years of practicing law here in Indianapolis, I took notice that the attorneys I held in the highest regard generally had one thing in common – they were leaders of our IndyBar. I watched as these accomplished judges and lawyers devoted their precious time to improve the lives of others both within and outside our profession. It inspired me to be more like them: to become more involved and to use my time and acquired skills to make a difference for our members, laws students and community. To serve as the IndyBar’s 141st president is my highest honor.

What is your biggest goal for 2019 as president of IndyBar?

Our lease is up and the IndyBar will find a new home after 12 years in our current location. We will enhance our offices to serve as a place for lawyers to gather and interact and to address the erosion of the human connection that is a vital part of our profession. We will also introduce the “Power to” campaign, designed to highlight the fact that the IndyBar provides each one us the power to improve our law practice, our profession and our community.

What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about the IndyBar?

You will receive more than you give. The IndyBar is my oasis on a bad day. To be surrounded by other attorneys who share a passion for our profession and for doing all things (big and small) that can change the life of a person in need (for example, legal advice for those in hospice care is uplifting and keeps my life in perspective). I wish I could adequately articulate my positive feelings about the IndyBar to everyone reading this, and I will do my best throughout this coming year to do exactly that.

iba-tom2-15col.jpgWhat is your favorite thing to do when you’re NOT at the office?

When I am not with family, my favorite activity is flying helicopters. When I learned how to hover (characterized as riding a unicycle on a beach ball in a swimming pool), I felt an incredible sense of achievement. Flying at 2,500 feet above the earth is a thrill that never gets old, and the feeling of vertical lift when taking off cannot be replicated in an airplane or roller coaster.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Foster parents and all other families who are providing a loving home for children in need are heroes. The number of children in need of a foster or adoptive home today has rapidly increased, and the families who choose to love these children as part of their family are opening their hearts and homes in such a critical way.

Tell us your favorite movie, food item and sports team.

I have no single favorite movie but have to list “Love Actually” (my wife’s favorite, so it plays throughout the year in our house), “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (my favorite when in high school) and “As Good As It Gets” (an unexpectedly feel good and hilarious film). I eat a spinach salad every day for lunch and am not yet tired of it. I am a huge Colts fan!•

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