Stafford: 29 lawyers and a judge walk into a brewpub …

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editor-perspective-stafford.jpgSorry, there’s no punchline. That’s just what we’re looking forward to on Wednesday, May 8, when we will celebrate Indiana Lawyer’s 2019 Leadership in Law honorees and past award recipients at a special recognition event at TwoDEEP Brewing in Indianapolis. We hope to see you there!

You can read about our 15 Distinguished Barristers and 15 Up and Coming Lawyers by clicking here, or in Section B, our annual Leadership in Law supplement, in the May 1 Indiana Lawyer print edition. Our 30 honorees come from all walks of life, they work their talents across an astonishing range of practices, and they each go the extra mile, donating their time and energy to worthy causes and for the good of their communities.

I was humbled to meet with nearly all our honorees during their photo shoots last month, which I’d like to thank the stately Columbia Club on Monument Circle for generously hosting. As I told several of our Distinguished Barristers, it’s perplexing to read your nominations, learn about our honorees’ work and service, and then realize they have not previously been honored in our prior 13 years of Leadership in Law Awards. But this also speaks to the caliber and deep pool of talent among veteran legal professionals in the Hoosier State.

Likewise, the professionalism, drive and commitment of our Up and Coming Lawyers is indisputable evidence that the future is in good hands. It’s no secret that the legal profession has endured tough times in recent years, when many of these young attorneys were just getting started. But those we honor this year have answered the profession’s calling while also, to paraphrase one honoree, putting a personal stamp on their careers. And just as generations of lawyers before them, these Up and Coming Lawyers selflessly apply their profession in a multitude of ways that are purposeful and forward-looking.

But don’t just take it from me. Read our honorees’ answers to our questions in Section B. And that’s just for starters. You can read many more Q&As from each honoree on our website. You might even uncover which of them might have become a CIA agent if not an attorney.


Speaking of awards, the Indiana Lawyer editorial staff had an impressive showing last week at the annual Society of Professional Journalists’ Best in Indiana 2018 competition.

Your IL quartet of managing editor Olivia Covington, senior reporter Marilyn Odendahl, reporter Katie Stancombe and I each took home honors for work in 2018, which you may have heard was a particularly newsy year in the Indiana legal community. Judges honored our work online and in print, awarding our efforts from exclusive investigative journalism to feature writing. We were recognized for coverage of the ongoing Curtis Hill saga, the seemingly endless struggles at the Department of Child Services, a landmark Indiana civil forfeiture case that we covered all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and a feature about women attorneys starting their own firms, among many others. (Read the complete list of awards here.)

As our Leadership in Law honorees might likely say, awards are nice, but they are not why we do what we do. Like the best lawyers, the best journalists also are those who feel their profession is a calling. And the highest compliment I can pay the IL staff is that they each answer that calling every day. We at Indiana Lawyer are committed to letting you know without favor or bias what’s happening in Indiana’s judiciary and legal community, giving you exclusive news that matters, providing uniquely insightful, knowledgeable and reliable content, and sharing your stories with our readers.

But enough about us. Let’s celebrate! Join us May 8 in raising a glass to toast our 2019 class of Leadership in Law Awards honorees.•

Dave Stafford[email protected] — is editor of Indiana Lawyer. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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