BLOG


Bill Watch Report for March 20 Now Available

The practice-area specific Bill Watch reports for March 20 are now available. The reports highlight the pending bills of particular concern to different sections within the bar. See below for this week’s posts, and click here to access the full Bill Watch reports.

Business Law
Criminal Justice
Estate Planning & Administration
Family Law
Government Practice
Litigation
Real Estate & Land Use

Don’t forget: You can update your news subscriptions to conveniently receive information like the practice area-specific Bill Watch posts in your bi-weekly E-Bulletin! Click here to learn more, and click here to update your profile.

Share
Posted in Legal News | Leave a comment

Bar Talk March: Legal News You Need to Know

Bar Talk Header

The latest legal scoop to keep you in the loop: Here are the top five stories from the IndyBar this month.

Please note: IndyBar news and updates are provided as a member benefit. You may be prompted to log-in to view some articles.

Supreme Court Hears Second Major Challenge to the ACA
By Shaunestte Terrell, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office
During the first week of March, the Supreme Court of the United States heard over an hour of arguments relating to a second major challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Find out more about the issue in this post.
For more Criminal Justice Section news, subscribe to this content here!

Notice: Information Regarding SB 436
By David J. Duncan, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP
This post has more information about Senate Bill 436, which puts into place a new valuation for “special purpose properties.” This bill will continue to be monitored by the IndyBar and updates will be provided as they become available.
For more Real Estate & Land Use Section news, subscribe to this content here!

Business Records Exception: Recent Ruling Address Issue of Third Party Records
By Sam Laurin, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP
A recent decision in Cox et. al. v. CA Holding Inc. et. al. addresses the issue of how to get business records admitted when a company’s custodian is trying to admit not only the company’s records but also records of a third party. Find out more in this post.
For more Litigation Section news, subscribe to this content here!

Getting to Know Your Judicial Officers: Judge Gary Miller
By D. Elizabeth Cox, Cox & Koons
Check out the first installment of Getting to Know Your Judicial Officers, a year-long Q+A series provided by the Solo/Small Firm Practice Section that features local judicial officers. This entry features Judge Gary Miller of Marion County Superior Court 3.
For more Solo/Small Firm Practice Section news, subscribe to this content here!

Selling Your Law Practice: A CLE is in the Works!
By Michael J. Hebenstreit, Whitham Hebenstreit & Zubek LLP
There are many details to be aware of and consider in either selling or buying a practice. Check out this post for information about an upcoming CLE on this topic and for an article with information about selling your practice.
For more Senior Counsel Division news, subscribe to this content here!

*If you’re hanging out with people who aren’t lawyers, here’s something even they will find interesting: Should sports teams sanction athletes for off-the-field conduct? This issue has been raised across the board when it comes to sports, most recently in regards to NASCAR’s suspension of Sprint Cup driver Kurt Busch.

Share
Posted in Bar Talk | Leave a comment

Volunteer Callout for Great Indy Cleanup

Join IndyBar’s Civics Committee for “Mayor Ballard’s Great Indy Cleanup,” hosted by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. On Saturday, April 25, more than 500 volunteers will convene in west Indianapolis, which consists of the neighborhoods just west of White River and south of I-70/McCarty Street.

Volunteers will work on a number of projects, including painting neighborhood murals, planting more than 100 trees, cleaning up streets and alleys in addition to other beautification projects. Mayor Ballard will kick off the event at 9 a.m.

All volunteers will receive Great Indy Cleanup T-shirts and lunch afterward. Volunteers are also invited to bring a non-perishable food item in support of the food pantry at the Mary Rigg Community Center.

This free IndyBar event is limited to 20 participants. To register, please email Clark Kirkman at clark.kirkman@gmail.com. Volunteers may register guests who are not IndyBar members. Additional information will be sent to volunteers as the event approaches.

YLD members volunteered with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful last year on April 26, 2014.

Share
Posted in Volunteer/Pro Bono Opportunity | Leave a comment

Turtlenecks, the New England Patriots & What That Tattoo Says About Your Client

bell-soundoff-header-2-15col
By James J. Bell, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP

Sometime in 2002, when I was still a public defender, I discovered that I was the only one in the courtroom without one. During a break from the hearing, I noticed that the prosecutor had one (a rose inked to her ankle,) my client had one (his ex-wife’s—not his current wife’s—name inscribed on his arm) and the judge had the majority of her body covered by a black robe (which I thought was a little too convenient). After this, I started seeing tattoos everywhere. Especially in the courthouse.

But these courthouse tattoos never told me much about people’s past deeds. Sure, there were the occasional tattoos I would see that told me “that guy was in the Navy” or that “she used to go to Dead shows.” But those ones were rare. Most tattoos I saw in the City-County Building merely told me that there were loose standards for what qualified as proper courtroom attire and that a lot of defendants believed their lower backs were blank canvases for which a painting was needed.

I should add that, as a public defender, I never had a tattoo become evidence in a case. That is, I never walked into the Marion County Jail and met a guy with a tattoo like the one pictured with this article.

iba-murder-tattoo.jpg

This “MURDER” neck tattoo was what greeted Jeffrey Chapman’s lawyer when he first met his client to defend him in… get this…a “MURDER” case. After first witnessing this tattoo, the attorney-client conversation that then ensued was, of course, confidential. But we can imagine that Mr. Chapman’s lawyer likely asked his new client whether he had a “NOT GUILTY” tattoo anywhere on his body to help cancel out the jury effect of the neck tattoo.

According to news reports, this tattoo became a hot legal issue when Mr. Chapman’s counsel, believing the tattoo was unduly prejudicial, filed a motion requesting a limiting instruction that would permit the jury to see the tattoo, but would order the jury not to consider the tattoo in weighing guilt or innocence. Legally speaking, the jury would be required to “unsee” the tattoo.

Just kidding. A motion like that would reek of “thinking like a lawyer.” Instead, Chapman’s lawyer simply got the judge to allow his client to wear a turtleneck in front of the jury. Issue closed. Matlock couldn’t have handled it any better.

There was at least one other tattoo-case that received publicity over the past year. If you recall, deflated footballs were not the only recent cause for concern for the New England Patriots. More serious than Spy-gate, Deflate-gate, steroids, sign stealing, terrible hoodies and even Gisele’s inability to decide on one haircut for her husband were the murder accusations against one of the team’s tight ends, Aaron Hernandez.

At one point, prosecutors stated that they were looking for tattoo artists who had worked on Mr. Hernandez’s right forearm. Media reports stated that Hernandez’s right forearm contained 5 tattoos of stars and there was speculation that these stars somehow represented individuals Hernandez had killed.

It does not appear from media reports that Hernandez’s tattoos have been used against him at his current murder trial, and donning a turtleneck to cover a defendant’s neck doesn’t tell us much about an application of the Rules of Evidence. So what do courts do when a tattoo becomes an issue at trial?

The Seventh Circuit recently had an opportunity to discuss the issue of tattoos in a felon in possession of a firearm case. In that case, the defendant testified, “I don’t mess with weapons,” and this testimony caused the U.S. Attorney to ask the defendant: “Well, if you don’t like guns so much, why do you have a tattoo of one up there on your neck?” –United States v. Boswell, 772 F.3d 469, 473 (7th Cir. 2014).

Good question. According to the record, the defendant did have a tattoo of a revolver on his neck (and apparently, no turtleneck in his wardrobe.) The defendant responded by testifying that the tattoos were “part of a western thing with cards, poker and dice” and that he liked to “gamble.” Id. This Seventh Circuit concluded that the “I don’t mess with guns” testimony was “not without risk” and that testimony “opened the door” to cross-examination on the tattoo. Id.

In addition, in past cases, the Seventh Circuit found tattoos admissible when the tattoo was used to identify the defendant, see e.g. United States v. Galati, 230 F.3d 254, 258 (7th Cir.2000) and found tattoos admissible when they showed the defendant’s membership in a conspiracy composed of gang members. See e.g. United States v. Phillips, 239 F.3d 829 (7th Cir.2001). However, the Seventh Circuit “found tattoos inadmissible when they [were] only admitted to show membership in a gang, because ‘the possibility that a jury will attach a propensity for committing crimes to defendants who are affiliated with gangs or that a jury’s negative feelings toward gangs will influence its verdict.’” United States v. Thomas, 321 F.3d 627, 631-33 (7th Cir. 2003) quoting United States v. Irvin, 87 F.3d 860, 865 (7th Cir. 1996).

So the Seventh Circuit has held that the government can’t use tattoos as propensity evidence. And that makes sense. It’s similar to how the government can’t prove a charged crime by demonstrating that the defendant has committed the same crime in the past. After all, just because you get a gun tattoo on your neck in 2008, it doesn’t mean that you possessed a gun illegally in 2015. Similarly, if you have a marijuana leaf tattooed on your shoulder, it doesn’t mean that you ever smoked…oh, who am I kidding?

But when you’re charged with murder and have a “MURDER” tattoo, should that be different? Doesn’t that tattoo say something? Especially when it is displayed prominently on the defendant’s neck? But I guess that’s the point. The admissibility of that tattoo depends on the purpose of the proffered evidence or stated another way, it depends on what that something is.

The Seventh Circuit stated that “it may well be impossible to ascertain an individual’s motive or reasons for getting any particular image memorialized on his or her skin.” Boswell, 772 F.3d at 476. On the flipside, it may be impossible for me to tell you my reason for not getting a tattoo. I don’t know why. I just never got one. But now that I know that tattoos are linked to horrible things like the New England Patriots, I’m really glad I never got one.

And that’s not to say that all tattoos are bad. If you want a tattoo and you really trust the tattoo artist that those Chinese or Japanese characters you’re about to put on your back really say “Peace,” then knock yourself out. But if you’re going to get a tattoo, proceed with caution and choose your message carefully. Because whatever message that tattoo will send, it will send it permanently.

Former Louisiana Gov. Earl Long was once credited with saying, “Don’t write anything you can phone. Don’t phone anything you can talk.” He then advised us not to “whisper,” “smile” or “nod” if we could “wink.” If Gov. Long were alive today, he might add, “And never get a tattoo.” Or at least he might think about the permanency of the tattoo and advise us not to “tattoo anything you can’t hide with a turtleneck.”

Share
Posted in Bell's Sound Off | Leave a comment

On Tap at the IndyBar: March 16-22

Everybody loves a local bar, so check out what yours is serving up this week with upcoming IndyBar events and happenings below!

SPECIAL NOTICE: The deadline for renewing your IndyBar membership for 2015 is Wednesday, March 18. Say “I due” and renew today to avoid a lapse in membership at indybar.org/renew.

 

On the Docket

Business Law Skills Series: Mergers & Acquisitions
Wednesday, March 18 from noon to 1 p.m.
IndyBar Education Center, 135 N. Pennsylvania St., Suite 1500
Information and registration can be found here.

2014 Indiana State Commercial Law Update
Wednesday, March 18 from 4 to 5 p.m.
IndyBar Education Center, 135 N. Pennsylvania St., Suite 1500
Information and registration can be found here.

Lawyer to Business Reception with Leadership Indianapolis
Wednesday, March 18 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Katz & Korin, 334 N. Senate Ave.; Reception to follow at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, 340 N. Senate Ave.
Information and registration can be found here.

Coffee with the Women & the Law Division
Thursday, March 19 from 8 to 9 a.m.
Starbucks at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre, 31 W. Ohio St.
Information and registration can be found here.

Young Lawyers Division March Madness Kick-Off Social
Thursday, March 19 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Brothers Bar & Grille, 910 Broad Ripple Avenue
Information and registration can be found here.

Check out the full slate of IndyBar events here.

News You Can Use

  • IndyBar members are up and at ‘em - Check out the latest Member Headlines to find out who’s on the move in Indy.
  • Bar Leaders Impact the Community Through Class XII Service Projects – This year’s class of Bar Leaders are serving the community with a wide variety of initiatives. You can read all about what they’re doing to help out in Indy here.
  • What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: It’s Time to Pay Attention – IndyBar President John Trimble’s latest article discusses the “tidal wave” of change in the practice of law. Find out what you need to be prepared for here.
  • Practice-area specific Bill Watch reports are now available. Click here for the most recent updates!
Share
Posted in IndyBar News, Member News, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

Optimize iOS for the Enterprise

 By Ivan Hemmans, ABA TECHSHOW Board 2015

Imagine a spectrum with security on one end and convenience on the other. An iPhone — or iPad — would sit on the convenience edge of such a spectrum, without question. Out of the box, the device walks its new user through a fairly simple setup process that promotes establishing an iCloud account and setting an “unlock” code. Neither the code nor iCloud account are required, but following the path of least resistance leads most people to a pretty good place. Lawyers who handle confidential or privileged information and use an iPhone or iPad as a routine part of their practices will want to make a few setting changes to optimize iOS and ensure that it safeguards their valuable data.

Establish a Complex Device Passcode
A device passcode prevents unauthorized people from gaining access to data stored on an iPhone or iPad. As mentioned earlier, iOS doesn’t require establishing one during device setup, but chances you already have. A complex code, one that contains both letters and numbers, is much harder to guess than a simple numeric one.To set a device passcode, touch Settings > Touch ID & Passcode or Settings > Passcode. In older versions of iOS, the passcode setting is available under Settings > General.For devices without Touch ID or Touch ID devices where fingerprints haven’t been stored, it is possible to “Require Passcode” after a short idle-time delay. By default, passcodes are required immediately. Introducing a short delay can make using a passcode less of a hassle.

Disable Siri on the Lock Screen
Siri is a powerful digital assistant that has access to any contacts, calendar appointments, text messages, and email syncing to an iPhone or iPad. By default, Siri is available on the lock screen, which means that anyone can ask basic questions and access limited information without needing to know an unlock code. Here are a few questions Siri will answer on a locked device:

  • Where do I live?
  • Who is my spouse?
  • What’s my home address?
  • Reply to my text message.
  • Where is my next appointment?
  • What’s on my calendar for tomorrow?
  • Who is [insert name of client here]?
  • Which of my contacts work at Sony?


To disable Siri on the lock screen, touch Settings > Touch ID & Passcode > Siri or Settings >
Passcode > Siri. In older versions of iOS, the passcode setting is available under Settings > General.Similarly, lawyers may choose to disable Today view, Notifications, and Reply with Message on the lock screen.

Disable Text Message Previews on the Lock Screen

By default, the Messages app shows the full text of any text messages or iMessages on the lock screen. Lawyers may, depending on the sensitivity of the matters on which they work, choose to customize notifications for the Messages appOn the Home screen, touch Settings > Notifications > Messages > Show Previews. With “Show Previews” disabled next message notifications will still appear on the lock screen, but in lieu of the full message text, each notification will simply read “Text Message”. One must unlock the device to read any messages.

But Wait, There’s More

These are but a few of the settings available for customizing an iPhone and iPad. For example, you could spend a few moments ensuring that the default mail, calendar, contacts, notes, and reminders accounts are set the way you want. Or, you could spend time arranging apps into folders on screens according to the kinds of apps you keep or kind of work you do. There are many virtual knobs and levers available to tweak in an effort to make your i-device sing. With the settings mentioned above, your iPhone or iPad can slide closer to the security end of the spectrum.

This article is but a taste of what awaits you at the ABA TECHSHOW 2015, April 16-18 at the Hilton Chicago. As a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, you can get a discount on the ABA TECHSHOW 2015. This discount only applies to registrants that qualify for the Standard registration. You can register online, or download this registration form and include this unique discount code: TECHSHOWEP2015 to receive a discount.

Reprinted with Permission. 2014© by the American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association

Share
Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Bill Watch Report for March 13 Now Available

The practice-area specific Bill Watch reports for March 13 are now available. The reports highlight the pending bills of particular concern to different sections within the bar. See below for this week’s posts, and click here to access the full Bill Watch reports.

Business Law
Criminal Justice
Estate Planning & Administration
Family Law
Government Practice
Litigation
Real Estate & Land Use

Don’t forget: You can update your news subscriptions to conveniently receive information like the practice area-specific Bill Watch posts in your bi-weekly E-Bulletin! Click here to learn more, and click here to update your profile.

Share
Posted in Legal News | Leave a comment

Go Back to the Classroom with Associate 101

There’s a lot to learn when starting your law career. Even if you’ve only spent one day on the job, you’ve probably already figured out that there are never enough hours in the day – lawyers are busy people whether it is year one or year 31! The busy days are especially troublesome for new associates who face a steep learning curve in the field; there is a lot to learn and the lessons often only come with years and years of experience. The IndyBar Young Lawyers Division has a solution to this problem: the Associate 101 CLE Series.

Keeping in mind that time is limited, the division hopes to maximize information in four succinct programs. By participating in the series, young attorneys will learn in four hours what otherwise may take four years. The seminars each feature experienced attorneys from a wide range of practice areas and backgrounds who are armed with high-quality information about the topics that matter most to new associates.

Intrigued? We decided to take 10 with the Young Lawyers Division Executive Committee to find out exactly what new associates can expect from the Associate 101 Series. Check out their top highlights and takeaways below!

Take 10 with the Associate 101 Series

1. The first CLE on Friday, March 27 will give helpful tips and hints about managing your practice area and learning the ropes as an associate.

2. The second CLE (to be scheduled in May) is a transactional primer for business attorneys and litigators alike. You’ll get an overview of transactional processes and the main information that you need to know.

3. The third CLE (to be scheduled in July) is a litigation primer. It gives a bird’s eye view for younger attorneys about life in the trenches as a litigator.

4. Finally, at the fourth CLE (to be scheduled in September), you will learn how to take the next step in your career: associate today, partner tomorrow. It’s never too early to start thinking about the next steps.

5. As an added benefit, the series offers great networking opportunities with fellow Indy attorneys throughout the year.

6. Attendees will be able to meet and interact with experienced legal professionals. When you attend a program in this series, you will hear and learn from Indy’s best!

7. The Associate 101 Series is a great way to gain insight into the practice of law. The series is specifically designed to assist young attorneys in the early stages of their careers.

8. Don’t fall into the same traps others have – stand on the shoulders of giants. Learn from those who have survived their early years in practice and have returned to tell the tale so that you can get a head start in your career.

9. This series provides efficient education: Come experience a four-hour series and get a comprehensive overview of multiple areas that might otherwise take much longer to experience in the field.

10. You can get your CLE credits one hour at a time over the course of a year and learn helpful hints in the process. Don’t wait until later to learn what you could learn now. Get started on your CLE credits today with the Associate 101 Series!

The Associate 101 Series kicks off on Friday, March 27 with “Practice and Project Management” from noon to 1 p.m. The program features speakers from Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, Benesch Freidlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP, Office of Corporation Counsel and The Powers Law Firm. Get more information and register here!

Share
Posted in IndyBar News, Upcoming Events | Leave a comment

miniBar Talk: This Week’s Top Post!

Bar Talk Header

Five Checklists for Increasing Efficiency

By Julie Chambers, Chambers Law Office LLC

Running a small law firm can be exciting and fulfilling, but also time consuming and stressful. One of the best ways to streamline your practice and make sure that all of your I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed is to use checklists. It may seem intuitive, but sitting down to review your procedures, even as a solo with no staff, can be helpful. A few of the most important aspects of running a successful practice include client intake, managing finances (including IOLTA accounts) and closing files. This article reviews some helpful tips to create more efficient procedures to manage your practice, and it even provides a few sample checklists to get you started!

This post was written by Julie Chambers of Chambers Law Office LLC. If you would like to submit content or write an article for the Solo/Small Firm Practice Section page, please email Rachel Beachy at rbeachy@indybar.org.

To subscribe to more Solo/Small Firm Practice Section news like the article above, click here to update your news subscriptions. Your news subscriptions appear in your bi-weekly E-Bulletin and on your personalized IndyBar homepage.

Keep an eye out for our newest e-newsletter for members, Bar Talk, featuring the top IndyBar posts each month!

Share
Posted in Bar Talk | Leave a comment

Several “Keys” to Saving Time in Word

By Ivan Hemmans, ABA TECHSHOW Board 2015

For those select few who spend a significant amount of time drafting, revising, or reviewing documents in Microsoft Word, even the smallest productivity improvement can have a huge impact on how much work gets done. Here are a few simple keyboard combos that can help raise the productivity bar.

Shift+F3 to cHANGE cASE
Shift+F3 changes the case of selected text. If all lowercase text is selected, it capitalizes the first letter of each selected word. If each of the selected words begins with a capital letter, it changes all the text to uppercase. And, if all the words are already uppercase, it then changes the selected text to all lowercase letters. It’s worth noting that the Change Case command toggles between sentence case — the first letter of the selected range as capital followed by the rest in lowercase — and uppercase if the last character of the selected text is some form of punctuation.Alternatively, use the mouse and click the Change Case button on Word’s Home tab, in the Font group. The choices are: lowercase, uppercase, title case, sentence case, and toggle case. Of course, it is easier and faster to press the keyboard shortcut.Change Case lets you fix capitalization without retyping, which can save a lot of time. And saving time is always a good thing, whatever the case may be.

Shift+F5 to Browse by Edits
There are a number of ways to navigate through Word documents. It’s possible to browse by page or to jump to specific text using Find. You can also browse by recent edits within a document. For lengthy documents, this can be a tremendous timesaver.Word keeps remembers the last three edit points within a working document. This becomes especially useful when revising a document. For example, if you make an edit on page 10, then jump back to page 2 and make a correction, and then type a bit of text on page 25, Word remembers. And that’s when things begin to get fun.Press Shift+F5 to move the cursor back through the last three edit points. Press it once to go move back to the last point. Press again to jump to the seceond-to-last point. Press a third time to go to the third-to-last point. A fourth press returns you to where you were before you started jumping around in the doc. Word also remembers the very last edit point in a document after it’s been closed. So, when you return to that brief tomorrow, press Shift+F5 to go right to the place where you last typed.Browsing edits is also possible through the use of Advanced Find, but the keyboard shortcut works faster.

What now?
Look for every opportunity to use these commands while editing documents. Start with just a couple and use them until they become second nature. After that, add more. Speed and efficiency will improve over time.

This article is but a taste of what awaits you at the ABA TECHSHOW 2015, April 16-18 at the Hilton Chicago. As a member of the Indianapolis Bar Association, you can get a discount on the ABA TECHSHOW 2015. This discount only applies to registrants that qualify for the Standard registration. You can register online, or download this registration form and include this unique discount code: TECHSHOWEP2015 to receive a discount.

Reprinted with Permission. 2014© by the American Bar Association. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association

Share
Posted in Technology | Leave a comment