ISBA hosts ‘streamlined’ summit in Indy

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The theme of the 2021 Indiana State Bar Association’s House of Delegates Meeting, and the bar’s annual summit as a whole, could be summed up with one word: streamlined.

On Oct. 14 and 15, legal professionals from each corner of the Hoosier State converged on the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown Hotel for the bar’s annual gathering.

This year’s event was a modified version of the ISBA Annual Meeting, altered in an effort to better “align with the goal expressed by members through our recent strategic plan process.” This year’s summit featured more thought leadership and didn’t include CLE sessions.

Following Thursday night’s reception, various meetings were held for members to reflect on the past year as well as look toward the future.

House of Delegates Chair Michael Jasaitis led the governing body’s meeting Friday morning, which featured several reports, including from:

  • Now-former ISBA President Michael Tolbert
  • Indiana Supreme Court Justice Steven David
  • Indiana Court of Appeals Judge L. Mark Bailey
  • Chief Deputy Lori Torres of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office
  • Indiana Bar Foundation Executive Committee Chair Scott Barnhart

During his presentation, Tolbert expressed his appreciation for how the bar has worked together during the pandemic, and said he feels the ISBA is “stronger than ever.”

“(COVID-19) has required we rethink the way we deliver our services to our members,” Tolbert said. “It has required us to rethink how we engage our members, and the membership committee has been instrumental that every aspect of our association and every member feels personally connected with the services we provide them.”

Tolbert shared that the ISBA has more than $3 million in cash reserves and a “healthy” budget that “will last for years to come.”

As of Oct. 18, the bar boasted 10,426 members, according to the ISBA.

The discussion during the delegates meeting focused on the Indiana Innovation Initiative, created in September 2019 “to analyze research on justice reform, assess the impact of reform efforts in other states, identify innovative strategies to manage different case types, and make recommendations to the Indiana Supreme Court for best practices surrounding Indiana’s justice system structures and procedures.”

As part of the effort, the Supreme Court created two task forces, one focusing on family law and the other on civil litigation, to make recommendations for improved case management.

Court of Appeals Judge Elizabeth Tavitas led discussions for the family law task force while Steven Badger, partner and general counsel at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, headed the talk on civil litigation. Tavitas reviewed the task force’s recommendations for family law, which were filed in March, while Badger gave some insight as to what the civil litigation group is considering before its report is due at the end of the year.

At the conclusion of the delegates meeting, Angka Hinshaw of the Marion County Public Defender Agency was selected as chair-elect of the House of Delegates, and Monroe Circuit Court Judge Holly Harvey was passed the gavel by Jasaitis for the upcoming year.

Later in the day, during the assembly meeting, Indianapolis lawyer Clayton Miller was officially named ISBA president. ISBA members for 2021-22 were also announced during that time.

A full recording of the meetings can be found on YouTube.

Read more about the ISBA Annual Summit in the Oct. 27 issue of Indiana Lawyer.

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