Stafford: It’s an honor — Your bigger, better Leadership in Law awards

Someday not too long from now, we at Indiana Lawyer will say hello to you in person, and I have to say, I can’t wait for that day. Until then, we have some exciting news to share.

When this pandemic subsides — and it will — it will be cause for celebration in every respect. But one celebration we are looking forward to is a new and improved Indiana Lawyer Leadership in Law Awards program. It will be later but greater.

We’ve heard from many people who wondered if they had missed the nomination period that’s traditionally around this time of year, when we receive your recommendations for our annual Distinguished Barrister and Up and Coming Lawyer Awards. Short answer: No. We will honor 15 in each of those categories this year, just as we’ve done for 15 years now.

But starting this year, we’re adding to the Leadership in Law celebration.

For the first time, we also will recognize 15 Legal Support Stars. This honor will recognize the people who truly make the legal profession function on a day-to-day basis. They are the nonlawyer assistants and legal support staff — paralegals, office managers, accountants, nonattorney clerks, marketing staff and others — without whom the work simply wouldn’t get done.

This is a long-overdue recognition for these professionals, and we are excited to receive your nominations for the Legal Support Stars who hold your firm together and also make a difference in their communities.

Now, this paragraph about another big change is what we in journalism call “burying the lede.” Our 2021 Leadership in Law event also will mark the presentation of our most prestigious honor ever: the inaugural Indiana Lawyer Lifetime Achievement Award.

This award will honor one individual whose contributions to the legal profession are so remarkable that they merit singular recognition. It’s intriguing, imagining some of the nominations we are likely to receive for an award that we look forward to presenting for many years to come.

We’ll be unveiling more details about these exciting new awards soon, including detailed criteria for each. Watch for announcements in the Indiana Lawyer print edition and on our website in the coming weeks.

You’ll have plenty of time to nominate deserving candidates for our Distinguished Barrister and Up and Coming Lawyer awards, as well as our new category of Legal Support Stars and our new Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominations on our website will open March 29.

While our past Leadership in Law events have been spring celebrations each May, we realized that the pandemic likely still would be with us then. So, we plan to honor this new and expanded group in October with a celebratory breakfast event that we expect will be our most exciting ever.

I’ve said before that while I’m biased, I believe our Leadership in Law Awards are the best and most prestigious recognition program available for Hoosier attorneys. The awards are merit-based, peer-recommended and independent. We strive to honor the most deserving lawyers across disciplines and across the state. And the best is yet to come.•

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

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