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IndyBar President’s Message: The Indianapolis Bar Association and HJR-3

As you know, the Indianapolis Bar Association issued the following press release on Monday, January 27, 2014 prior to the Indiana House of Representatives voting to remove the second sentence of the proposed Constitutional Amendment:

The Indianapolis Bar Association today announced its opposition to HJR-3, the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions, and HB1153, its companion legislation. Last week, the Indianapolis Bar Association surveyed its members regarding their position on HJR-3. 2,196 members responded to the survey, which reflects a 47.4% response rate from the members receiving the survey; this is the highest survey response rate on record for the association. The results of the survey revealed that 73.1% of the respondents were in favor of publicly opposing HJR-3, 20.1% favored taking no position on the measure, 5.4% were in favor of supporting HJR-3, and 1.5% had no opinion.

Considering these survey results and the Board’s review of the proposed amendment and companion legislation, the Indianapolis Bar Association opposes passage of the proposed amendment and legislation. First, based on Indiana constitutional history and precedent, the content of this amendment stands out as inappropriate. In the 163 year history of the State’s constitution, it has been amended on subjects such as term limits, taxation, governmental structure, elections, and courts. Prior amendments dealt with what government could and could not do, and how the government is to be formulated and operated, not the regulation of its individual citizens. Second, members of the Indianapolis Bar Association expressed great concerns about the unintended consequences upon potentially hundreds of Indiana laws if HJR-3 is passed and ratified, including those in the areas of family law, criminal law, employment law, health care law, and tax law. This uncertainty would likely lead to an interruption in the administration of justice, years of litigation and significant expense for individual citizens and Indiana businesses.

The Indianapolis Bar Association is a voluntary membership organization comprised of 4,928 attorneys, judges, paralegals and law students. Founded in 1878, the association’s mission is to serve its members, promote justice and enhance the legal profession. The association is governed by a 32 member Board of Directors.

The IndyBar has historically weighed in on matters that affect laws and the practice of law. Our legislative committee meets every year at this time to review proposed bills and if needed, provide comments to committee members as to the affect the proposed bills may have on attorneys or the practice of law. This is done every year. We also have our mission statement which provides we are to serve our members, promote justice and enhance the legal profession. One issue discussed was the conflict presented by HJR-3 in trying to meet all three of those objectives.

We had several members of the IndyBar, including some board members, ask us to consider adopting a response to HJR-3 for various reasons. After two separate board meetings and hours of discussion at each one, it was clear that emotions were running high on the proposed amendment. We had outstanding discussions with input from every single board member. I am very proud of the approach, candor and intense yet respectful discussions the board had during the process.

Ultimately, it was determined that the best approach was to solicit information from our membership so we clearly were speaking for our members and not just what we believed our members wanted. Thus, the survey. As a result of the survey and more hours of discussion, the press release was generated. We reviewed previous Indiana Constitution amendments as well as the summary of the laws prepared by the IU Maurer School of Law that may be affected by the amendment. You will note that we opposed it primarily on how it may affect lawyers and the practice of law. We also discussed the need to provide education, and we will continue to discuss how that can be achieved.

The board knew that when taking this public position, not all of our members would agree. We respect our members’ views on these important matters even if they weren’t the views of the majority of members. However, the board felt comfortable taking this position as a result of the strong statement from our members in the survey overall. I hope that all members will appreciate the time spent to clearly understand exactly the opinions of our members and to draft a response appropriately, even if it did not conform with the view of all 4,928 of our members.

The House and Senate will continue to debate this issue and since the time that I delivered this article to the staff for the Indiana Lawyer, I am sure that more discussions, protests and statements will have been made for and against the amendment. I would only ask that all of our members clearly understand why the board took the position it did, respect the process that we went through and ultimately the decision we made. Many members of the board received emails from IndyBar members expressing their opinions on the issue, and I encourage those emails and discussions to continue so that we may continue to better serve our membership. Ending this article with a poem has been a challenge, but here goes.

HJR-3 has been a challenging topic for your IndyBar board.

If any of you have a secret solution acceptable to all, I would surely pay a HUGE reward.

I can assure you, all comments have been considered and certainly not ignored.

Please give the IndyBar some time, so any waning support is clearly restored

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Get Straight Talk from the Statehouse at Lawyer-Legislator Luncheon

Hear an update on pending legislation and get to know Indiana legislators at the IndyBar’s eighth annual seminar, “The Importance of Lawyer-Legislators in the Indiana General Assembly,” which is hosted by the bar’s Legislative Committee. Attorneys who are state senators and representatives will lead a lively discussion during the luncheon on Monday, Feb. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Conrad Indianapolis.

A panel of distinguished lawyer-legislators will be on hand to discuss their thoughts on the current legislative session and to field questions from attendees. The luncheon will include 1.5 hours of General CLE credit.

In addition to this program, the Legislative Committee will also provide its weekly Bill Watch reports throughout the session, which highlight progress and recent actions taken on bills being monitored by the association. Keep an eye out for Bill Watch reports here.

The 2014 IndyBar Legislative Committee is chaired by Mindy Westrick of Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

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Customize Your IndyBar Communications Experience

Every person is unique in the way that he or she consumes news and information online. Just as one individual loves email updates, another prefers RSS feeds. As part of the IndyBar’s ongoing efforts to increase the amount of relevant, useful content provided to members, several options have been developed to make getting your IndyBar news easy and enjoyable.

“Just give me what I want!”
Log in at www.indybar.org/account and click “Manage Your News Subscriptions.” There you can select your own personal news subscriptions from 24 different topics. You can visit this page any time you wish to update your subscriptions.

Once you’ve chosen your subscriptions, the latest articles from those topic areas will automatically populate in the “Your News” area at www.indybar.org/account. Don’t feel like jumping online to see what’s new? Your subscriptions will also generate a personalized IndyBar E-Bulletin, which will include summaries of and links to the newest stories in your subscriptions.

“I’m an feed fanatic!”
For RSS feed fans, visit the “Interest Group” pages to find News areas on each IndyBar section and division page. Click the RSS icon to open the RSS feed and copy and paste the link into your favorite feed reader.

“I like to surf!”
Just want to check out what’s new? Browse the section and division pages under the “Interest Groups” tab to click through to news pages for each group. You can find general IndyBar news at indybar.org/news.

“I’m a social butterfly!”
Good news! The IndyBar actively posts on social media, including Twitter and Facebook. To get all of the most up-to-date news and info, plus links to resources and informative articles, be sure to follow the IndyBar on Twitter at twitter.com/indybar. Hop onto Facebook to peruse the photo gallery, which includes hundreds of photos from IndyBar progams and events, plus get periodic updates and information by “liking” the page.

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Get Even More From Your Membership: Additional Benefit Added to Plus CLE

The past year saw the introduction of a pilot program to test the viability of bundling CLE with section membership. The pilot program, which was tested with four IndyBar sections, proved overwhelmingly successful, attracting new members and boosting attendance levels at CLE programs.

For 2014, the Plus CLE option has been extended to all sections and divisions. Choosing the Plus CLE membership option allows members to join a section or division and attend all of that group’s one hour brownbag CLE programs at no additional cost throughout 2014. Each section or division will offer a minimum of four programs, providing a savings of at least $80 per year.

Now, an additional benefit has been added for “Plus CLE” section or division members. In addition to attending all of a section or division’s live one-hour brownbag CLE programs throughout the year at no charge, CLE Plus members can also view any of that group’s programs in the IndyBar Online CLE catalog for free. While CLE credit will not be available for the free registration option, this benefit provides a valuable opportunity to access education and information crucial to the practice in an convenient and cost-effective way. Need the credit? Simply select the “Member” registration option to register and pay for the course and receive CLE credit upon completion.

The online CLE catalog is viewable at indybar.org/onlinecle. To search based on a topic area, simply select that topic from the drop down menu. The registration page for each course will note which section or division sponsored the event in the “Sponsor” field.

 

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IndyBar Launches Expanded Communications Tools

Two years ago, a forward-thinking group of IndyBar members gathered to ponder the future of the bar’s communications efforts. These leaders recognized then what’s become crystal clear today—that a new approach to the gathering and distribution of news and content was critical in a world where technology continues to change the game on a near daily basis.

From that group came a comprehensive communications plan. Some parts of the plan—an increased social media presence, the IndyBar blog and a more concerted effort to share the most timely, relevant information—came about quickly. The cornerstone of the plan, however, was a vision that the IndyBar would become a central source for news, information and resources critical to Indy-area practitioners, and that IndyBar members would gain greater access to and control of the distribution channels for this content, resulting in news and information that is customized to each member and delivered based on his or her preferences. Continue reading

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The IndyBar: Helping You Advance Your Career in 2014

Every year on December 31st, as the clock ticks to midnight and revelers celebrate the start of a new year, scores of resolutions for better living, happier lives and new beginnings are made. But within even just a couple of weeks, studies show that only a quarter of us have held tightly to these bold proclamations.

This year, let the IndyBar help you succeed in fulfilling your resolutions for a more successful and satisfying career. The bar’s resources, programs and initiatives are standing by to help you see your resolutions through from idle promises to fruitful accomplishments. Renew your membership for 2014 here or click here to join the bar for the upcoming year.

Your Resolution:”I want to move up in my career.”

When climbing the career ladder, each step from rung to rung can seem difficult, if not daunting. The IndyBar offers programs and services to help prime members in all phases of their career for success.

Participation in the Bar Leader Series grooms lawyers for future leadership opportunities in the profession and beyond. Leadership on an IndyBar committee or within a section/division can provide the experience that sets one candidate apart from another. The Attorney Apprentice program (information on dates for 2014 to come soon) provides the “how” of practicing law that is absent from most law school curriculum. Plus, IndyBar referral programs can play a major role in helping you build an attractive book of business.

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The IndyBar: Helping You Expand Your Network in 2014

Every year on December 31st, as the clock ticks to midnight and revelers celebrate the start of a new year, scores of resolutions for better living, happier lives and new beginnings are made. But within even just a couple of weeks, studies show that only a quarter of us have held tightly to these bold proclamations.

This year, let the IndyBar help you succeed in fulfilling your resolutions for a more successful and satisfying career. The bar’s resources, programs and initiatives are standing by to help you see your resolutions through from idle promises to fruitful accomplishments. Renew your membership for 2014 here or click here to join the bar for the upcoming year.

Your Resolution:”I want to expand my network.”

Connections mean business. They mean a quick and easy answer to a question outside of your practice area. And they mean camaraderie in the profession.  IndyBar events—from section/division socials to the annual Bench Bar Conference—have long facilitated networking between practitioners.

Networking was taken a step farther in 2013 with the addition of the Indy Attorneys Network—a section dedicated to generating networking opportunities between IndyBar members.  Section members are randomly matched each month, and the match is free to arrange a meet-up that best suits each member—from coffee or happy hour to a lunch or even a sporting event. The section also offers members seminars and larger group socials throughout the year, and has planned quarterly coffee get-togethers for 2014 as well.

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The IndyBar: Helping You Learn Something New in 2014

Every year on December 31st, as the clock ticks to midnight and revelers celebrate the start of a new year, scores of resolutions for better living, happier lives and new beginnings are made. But within even just a couple of weeks, studies show that only a quarter of us have held tightly to these bold proclamations.

This year, let the IndyBar help you succeed in fulfilling your resolutions for a more successful and satisfying career. The bar’s resources, programs and initiatives are standing by to help you see your resolutions through from idle promises to fruitful accomplishments. Renew your membership for 2014 here or click here to join the bar for the upcoming year.

Your Resolution: “I want to learn something new.”

With more than 200 educational programs held throughout the year, the IndyBar boasts the largest offering of one-hour CLE programs in Indianapolis, and earning credits is easy for you—attend live sessions at the conveniently located  Education Center, or learn from the comfort of your home or office with the online CLE catalog, home to more than 150 programs covering nearly every practice area.

Of course, learning isn’t limited to just educational programming. The bar’s ongoing efforts to expand member communications means that now you can customize your IndyBar communications to receive the news, information and resources you want when you want it. Visit indybar.org/account to manage your news subscriptions. Your subscriptions will automatically populate in an all-new IndyBar E-Bulletin every other week, and your member page includes a new “Your News” area, which conveniently displays the latest posts from your subscriptions.

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The IndyBar: Helping You Grow Your Business in 2014

Every year on December 31st, as the clock ticks to midnight and revelers celebrate the start of a new year, scores of resolutions for better living, happier lives and new beginnings are made. But within even just a couple of weeks, studies show that only a quarter of us have held tightly to these bold proclamations.

This year, let the IndyBar help you succeed in fulfilling your resolutions for a more successful and satisfying career. The bar’s resources, programs and initiatives are standing by to help you see your resolutions through from idle promises to fruitful accomplishments. Renew your membership for 2014 here or click here to join the bar for the upcoming year.

Your Resolution: “I want to grow my business.”

The IndyBar’s menu of referral programs have grown to offer something for nearly every practitioner.

  • Indy Lawyer Finder, online at indylawyerfinder.com, instantly boosts your online presence and delivers clients actively searching for representation on the web.
  • The call-in Lawyer Referral Service is an easy and affordable way to gain business, with just one yearly fee (plus 10 percent in fees for cases generating more than $100) and easy electronic reporting.
  • Modest Means—offered for both criminal law and family law—helps the public while you earn a reduced fee (but gain valuable experience). And finally,
  • The Legal Advice Hotline, which can be included in Lawyer Referral Service membership, puts an extra $15 in your pocket for just 20 minutes of your time assisting a caller with limited legal advice. See page four here for details.
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The IndyBar: Helping You Give Back in 2014

Every year on December 31st, as the clock ticks to midnight and revelers celebrate the start of a new year, scores of resolutions for better living, happier lives and new beginnings are made. But within even just a couple of weeks, studies show that only a quarter of us have held tightly to these bold proclamations.

This year, let the IndyBar help you succeed in fulfilling your resolutions for a more successful and satisfying career. The bar’s resources, programs and initiatives are standing by to help you see your resolutions through from idle promises to fruitful accomplishments. Renew your membership for 2014 here or click here to join the bar for the upcoming year.

Your Resolution: “I want to give back.”

Yes, pro bono service can take up time that you would otherwise spend billing or clearing out your inbox, but it is an important—and fulfilling—way to give back to the community. Whether you have just an evening to spare or a couple hours a week, the IndyBar has options to fit your schedule—and have you feeling more satisfied after helping neighbors in need. Ready to get going? Volunteers are actively being sought for two programs—Low Asset Wills and the Homeless Project—right now! Visit indybar.org/volunteer to learn about additional opportunities.

Looking to give back outside of the legal arena? The IndyBar’s Public Outreach Committee is poised to offer members opportunities to volunteer with community organizations throughout Indianapolis. Stay tuned for additional information on events scheduled for 2014.

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