What I’ve learned from my leadership of IndyBar in 2020 is that our profession is more prepared and resilient than I could have imagined. Now, as we slowly begin to emerge from the pandemic, we will begin to see the ways in which our profession has changed for the short- and long-term.
Happy New Year! It is a true honor and privilege to serve as the 2021 President of the Indianapolis Bar Association. I am committed to working with our outstanding Board of Directors, committee, section and division leaders and staff to continue to meet and exceed our commitment to the practice of law, continuing legal education and community service.
Nearly 50 past presidents came together to celebrate the IndyBar’s history and accomplishments. What was astounding was that we had past presidents spanning five decades. Indeed, the past presidents from 1970 (Skip Kappes), 1980 (Ray Good), 1990 (Don Buttrey) and 2000 (Karen Turner) all joined the numerous other presidents from years past.
2020 has been (and no doubt will continue to be) like riding a roller coaster in a hurricane. Fortunately, for the IndyBar, we have a committed membership that has responded in amazing ways.
Despite her personal achievements as a Supreme Court litigator and justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was quick to recognize that “the work of perfection is scarcely done. Many stains remain . . . [W]e still struggle to achieve greater understanding and appreciation of each other across racial, religious and socioeconomic lines.” But, again, these impediments were an opportunity for Justice Ginsburg to “strive to realize the ideal — to become a more perfect union.”
When we learned that Jim passed away earlier this month, the outpouring of support and remembrances from past IndyBar and Indianapolis Bar Foundation presidents was immense. Nearly every IndyBar leader with whom I’ve interacted in my 15-year career shared a memory of how Jim touched the profession, and often their individual practices, in a tangibly positive way.
Last week, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation (IBF) Lawyer Links Classic Golf Outing was held in the most 2020 way possible — in the pouring rain. Despite Mother Nature’s bad humor, there was a great turnout.
In his June 2020 guest column, Indianapolis Bar Association President-Elect Jimmie McMillian encouraged each of us to use our “power and position as an attorney to work in conjunction with the IndyBar on issues of racial injustice.” The obvious question is “how?” The short answer from the IndyBar is to engage with the newly created Commission on Racial Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
Dean Andrew Klein routinely tells us that he isn’t going anywhere after his one-year sabbatical. He intends to return to the classroom at IU McKinney. Law students will be better off for it. He intends to continue to support the IndyBar and the IBF and, in turn, the Indianapolis legal community. Our profession will be better off for it.
Governor Holcomb and Mayor Hogsett (and countless other government and business leaders) are executing their plans to reopen the “new normal” economy. The IndyBar is no different. We are working hard on a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that will allow some staff to return to IndyBarHQ in the coming weeks.
I admit that I often look for the bright side and have continued to do that during the pandemic. But the fact of the matter is that most of us in the Indianapolis legal community (and more broadly) are facing significant disruption that is hard to spin. IndyBar is no different.
There is no doubt that keeping up a remote law practice in a precarious economy has been challenging — clients are eagerly trying to find ways to manage their legal budgets, and there is a constant stream of legal updates, alerts and webinars to draft and read (including from the IndyBar!) But, there has been exceptional good professionally as well.
IndyBar President’s Column: Why Lawyers are Essential to the Legislature — The Curious Case of Mr. Mears Fishing Without Bait
The would-be angler Marvin Mears took an unexpected trip to the Supreme Court of Indiana after he caught a fish without bait. The law in Indiana said that “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person to take . . . or attempt to take . . . any fish in the waters of this state . . . by any means other than angling with hook and line.” Mr. Mears didn’t reasonably believe that the Indiana General Assembly intended to outlaw his scheme. He was “angling with hook and line” after all. Or so he thought.
IndyBar President’s Column: The One Where Ross, Rachel, Seinfeld, and Keith Hernandez Move The IndyBar
Unbeknownst to many, a few loyal members and the IndyBar staff have been busy moving all of us. The IndyBar’s lease on the 15th floor of the BMO building ended on Jan. 31. The “new space” at 140 N. Illinois St. will open on March 2, and we are planning a grand opening celebration in early April.