This is the last column I will write as president of the Indianapolis Bar Association. I’m sure it won’t surprise you that writing this column was one of the hardest duties of the job for me.
I’ve been asked many times why I volunteer for the Indianapolis Bar Association, and I have given lots of reasons over the years. In fact, the reasons I belong and I volunteer have changed through the years.
The IndyBar has many mentoring programs designed to provide helpful professional relationships for our newest members.
As I foreshadowed in an earlier column, recently members of the IndyBar met to discuss and draft the next three-year strategic plan for the association. This isn’t your typical not-for-profit organization’s strategic plan. It won’t be just filed away.
At the IndyBar, we’ve spent a lot of time talking about how to create value for our members. It seems that younger lawyers want to buy the direct commodity, not just a membership.
As we scratch our head over the behavior of those we see on the nightly news, we must do our part to maintain the integrity of the law, treat each other with respect and serve as a far more positive example to our colleagues, our clients and our community.
One of the many reasons the Indianapolis Bar Association has served the needs of attorneys very well for 138 years has been that its future is targeted and planned by a cross-section of our legal community.
Your law practice will not dissolve if you leave it for a week or two. I’m always happy to see that a lawyer needs a continuance to take a family vacation. You probably won’t have plenty of time and money for a vacation until you’re retired and your kids are too busy with their own lives. So don’t wait.
Well, I can tell you about one person who has worked at the same place for 25 years—our Executive Director, Julie Armstrong.
The idea for the IndyBar Bench Bar Conference came from similar events in the 1990s in St. Louis and Kansas City. Now, the local event is bigger than either of those and offers great opportunities for education, networking and fun.
It’s no secret that the IndyBar has supported merit selection for decades. It’s also no secret that view is not held by everyone. I sincerely respect our members who would prefer an open partisan election of our judges in Marion County. Mostly that view is held as a result of a reverence for voting rights, which I hope we all share.
I’ve had the chance the last few years to think about Internet access to justice, new forms of competition from large global corporations, the possible obsolescence of state-regulated practice of law, commoditized legal services and many other seismic shifts in the legal profession. Lots of other professions have dealt with these changes. You don’t have to look far to see the dramatic change in how medical services are delivered today.
The verdict will still be out on how we will select judges in Marion County when this article is printed, but for the first time in decades, we know we will have an entirely new system of selection before May 2017. Hopefully it will be in this legislative session but, if not, in the next.