Alice Morical is a go-to trial court and appellate litigator who in 2001 was a founding partner of the law firm where she has practiced since. Aside from fighting for clients in court, she also is a gifted practical problem solver. A colleague says she is skilled at navigating the “diplomatic channel” in complex and high-stakes litigation. She also finds time to serve the legal community and the broader community as a member of the board of directors of Indiana Federal Community Defenders and School on Wheels, among other volunteer engagements.
A colleague called you an inspiration to women seeking a legal career. What does that mean to you?
It’s a big compliment. It is important to me that young women considering becoming lawyers and in the early stages of their careers know it is possible to have a challenging and interesting professional career in private practice while also having a family and a rewarding personal life. Beginning my career with great lawyers who were interested in mentoring me, working hard and building relationships started my career on a great path. Many of those relationships have grown into strong friendships, and I have a group of fellow women lawyers who have been a sounding board and resource through each stage of my career. Having a supportive spouse and working with lawyers who value family made it possible for me to continue to grow professionally while also raising three wonderful kids. I enjoy mentoring younger lawyers — both women and men — who are navigating these same challenges. Watching them grow and succeed is incredibly rewarding to me.
What’s a great piece of advice you’ve received that makes a personal difference?
Maintain objectivity. As lawyers, we are working to resolve a problem we did not create, and we do not control the other side or the outcome. Like most litigators, I like to be in control, am competitive and have a strong sense of responsibility to my clients. But we serve our clients best when we maintain an objective perspective.
What is something that made you a better litigator that you could only learn from experience?
Over the years, I have learned to trust my judgment. There really is something to the concept of thinking like a lawyer — we are able to process information quickly, we are strategic and we are good decision-makers. In many instances, we are considering the implications several steps ahead. Good litigators trust their decisions without second-guessing, but in my experience, it takes time to develop judgment and the confidence to trust it.
How do you find time for bar and community service involvement?
My partner, Wayne Turner, applies Adam Smith’s invisible hand theory to time and the practice of law. Somehow despite all the demands on our time, we reach equilibrium. It’s not always pretty, but I find if I prioritize what matters, it all works out. Nonprofit service and pro bono work are important to the health and vitality of the legal profession and the Indianapolis community. We have great organizations in town that provide wonderful opportunities to serve. I have enjoyed serving the IndyBar in a number of different capacities and as a director for various organizations, including Elements Financial. I’ve learned and gained so much from those roles. I also appreciate the opportunity the federal court provides for pro bono service. The program is run well, making it easy to volunteer, and the cases are rewarding.
What has been the most personally rewarding aspect of your legal career?
Helping business clients achieve their goals is very rewarding. I enjoy learning about clients’ businesses and priorities and guiding clients through the legal system. We never know if a dispute will be resolved by settlement, trial or appeal, and each type of resolution is rewarding and challenging. I also enjoy focusing on diversity and inclusion. As Hoover Hull Turner’s first female equity partner and one of a minority of female commercial litigators, I also find it rewarding to focus on opportunities to expand diversity, discuss its importance and encourage others to consider a broader perspective.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Make time for pro bono early in your career. I represented my first pro bono client through the federal courts 15 years into my career, and I was hooked. I wish I had started handling cases when I was a younger lawyer. Pro bono cases provide excellent opportunities for young lawyers to try a case, handle a settlement conference, provide legal advice or represent clients in an evidentiary hearing. The federal courts, IndyBar and other local organizations provide great pro bono opportunities. The clients and judges are appreciative, and the representations are interesting and important.
If you hadn’t pursued a legal career, what do you imagine you might be doing?
I think I would have enjoyed being a reporter — digging for facts, meeting people, learning about new topics and telling compelling stories. I also would have enjoyed working for a foundation to see how nonprofits in the community are making a difference and support them.
What do you most like to do when you have free time?
I love spending time with my family. My husband Greg and I are lucky to have shared interests with our college kids, who enjoy traveling with us, reading, eating out and just spending time together. I also enjoy running, getting together with friends, attending cultural events and exploring all the restaurants and things to do in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood.
Who is someone who mentored you, and what did you learn from them?
Judge John Tinder and Andy Hull have both been mentoring me for 25 years with no end in sight. Judge Tinder taught me to be thoughtful and precise in my analysis and clear in my writing. Andy taught me to focus on the clients’ goals and to treat every task as important and part of the larger picture. Both also maintain a healthy balance with their personal lives and prioritize volunteering.
What’s something you’ve learned from mentoring others?
Mentoring reminds me it takes time to develop as an effective lawyer. Success comes from a combination of skill, training and hard work. Aspects of our jobs cannot be taught in class. Lawyers learn from watching mentors, talking with them, diving into the work and receiving feedback. One of the reasons I enjoy Hoover Hull Turner so much is because we work as teams and develop smart, motivated, curious young lawyers into strong advocates for our clients. It’s very rewarding to see mentees develop into strong, independent colleagues.•
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