Abrams: Law School Orientation—Oh, To Be Young Again!

By Jeffrey A. Abrams, Benesch Friedlander Coplan & Aronoff LLP

I had the honor of attending law school orientation on Saturday, August 16 at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. I sat on the dais with the Honorable Jose Salinas of Marion Superior Court, the Honorable Jane E. Magnus-Stinson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and McKinney School of Law Dean Andrew Klein. I listened to Dean Klein speak proudly of the couple hundred first-year law students sitting eagerly in the school atrium in anticipation of the first day of school. All of them were nicely dressed and excited to be part of the classes of 2016 and 2017. They were there with their parents, family and friends to begin their journey toward earning their doctor of jurisprudence degrees and standing tall with all of us as attorneys.

Judge Salinas told them to be proud of what they have achieved, but that it is just the beginning of an incredible journey that lies ahead. He noted that he looked forward to having them appear before him at some point in time in the near future—hesitating before he specified “as attorneys”—and that he looked forward to their impressive statements on behalf of their clients. He admonished them that some of them would be right and some of them would be wrong.

Judge Magnus-Stinson reminded students of the five C’s of professionalism:

1. Commitment — We are committed to practicing law in a manner that maintains and fosters public confidence in our profession, faithfully serves our clients and fulfills our responsibilities to the legal system.

2. Character — We will strictly adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of the Rules of Professional Conduct and will at all times be guided by a fundamental sense of honor, integrity and fair play.

3. Competence — We will conduct ourselves to assure the just, economical and efficient resolution of every matter entrusted to us consistent with thoroughness and professional preparation.

4. Courtesy — We will at all times act with dignity, civility, decency and courtesy in all professional activities and will refrain from rude, disruptive, disrespectful, obstructive and abusive behavior.

5. Community Involvement — We recognize that the practice is a learned profession to be conducted with dignity, integrity and honor dedicated to the service of clients and the public good.

She also warned them that their studies and challenges would not be similar to “Paper Chase.” While many of them had stars in their eyes and were clearly not recalling the classic television show, I am sure their parents understood the excitement and challenges that they face.

IndyBar volunteers share information with 1Ls at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law Orientation on Saturday, August 16.

The students were incredibly attentive to both judges’ comments as I saw very few of them looking down to read and/or respond to an email or text that they might have just received. After I finished listening to two energetic, intellectual and passionate statements from both judges, it was my turn to stand before them as the President of the Indianapolis Bar Association and figure out how I could impart some words of wisdom.

I told them the best way for them to find a job besides studying hard and learning the law was to become an active member of the Indianapolis Bar Association. I described many of the outstanding achievements that our members obtain through service to our community, including Ask a Lawyer, helping eighth graders understand the election process in the United States and our delivery of Constitutions to all new United States citizens during naturalization ceremonies.

I described our creative and energetic attorneys forming the Indy Attorneys Network Section to help lawyers network with and meet other lawyers. This section, to our knowledge, was the first of its kind in any bar association in the country. I conveyed to them the stories of young lawyers meeting their future employers through IndyBar-sponsored monthly luncheons or social events. And, knowing that the students had been there since 9:30 a.m., just after noon I imparted to them the most memorable quote of the day:

Hanging with the Indianapolis Bar Association is the only place to be.
The cost to join is really economical – I guarantee you won’t disagree.
When you come to events, people are friendly and won’t give you the third degree.
And most importantly, you get to meet brilliant, successful and good looking attorneys— just like me.

What more could they ask for in their first day of introduction to the practice of law?

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IndyBar Member Headlines: Thursday, September 11

Share your news with the IndyBar by contacting Mary Kay Price, Director of Marketing & Communications, at

Alyssa B. Rogers has joined North American Midway Entertainment as its first general counsel.

Michelle L. Cooper has joined Lewis Kappes PC as an equity director.

Susan Traynor Chastain and Karen Glasser Sharp have joined Lewis Kappes PC as equity directors in the education law practice group.

Christine Hayes Hickey of Rubin & Levin PC was selected to serve as secretary of the National Conference of Bar Presidents at its annual meeting in Boston.

John Krauss was named to a five-year term on the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Lisa B. Goddy has joined Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP and will practice in their Estate and Wealth Transfer practice group.

Michael E. Brown of Kightlinger & Gray LLP has been appointed to a second term as the International Association of Drilling Contractors’ Professional Liability Roundtable Director. He will be the Director of the 2015 Professional Liability Roundtable at New York University School of Law on May 28.

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Bar Talk September: Legal News You Need to Know

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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.

Proposal to Shorten Principal Briefs Leads to Discussion
By Stephen J. Peters, Harrison & Moberly LLP
A new proposal to reduce the word limit for principal briefs in the U.S. Courts of Appeals has sparked conversation. Stephen J. Peters submitted a reference article with everything you need to know about the proposal and how you can submit comments.
For more appellate practice news, subscribe to this content here!

A Winning Night for the Sports & Entertainment Law Section at Victory Field
By Jason R. Bonikowske, Just Marketing International
Featuring the first-ever section video content, this recap of the Sports & Entertainment Law Section’s social event at the Indians game is one you don’t want to miss. Let’s just say a chairman and a law student compete on-field…and lucky for us, it was captured on camera. Check out the article to watch it now!
For more sports & entertainment law news, subscribe to this content here!

Straight from a Member: Common Mistakes of Young Lawyers
By Dina M. Cox, Lewis Wagner LLP
Young lawyers are guilty of making many of the same mistakes that law students do, and no matter how long you’ve been practicing, a brush-up from time-to-time to avoid those mistakes never hurts. Check out this article to see what IndyBar member Dina M. Cox of Lewis Wagner LLP recommends in her recent article.
For more young lawyer news, subscribe to this content here!

Changes Recommended to Marion County Small Claims Courts
A national court consultant has recommended changes to the Marion County Small Claims Courts. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) recently submitted their recommendations based on the results of a survey they conducted at the request of the Marion County Circuit Court.
For more litigation news, subscribe to this content here!

In Memoriam: Steve Ancel
On August 14, the IndyBar lost longtime member and esteemed colleague Steve Ancel. His obituary and memorial donation information can be found in this article.
For more commercial & bankruptcy 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: Burger King may be moving to our northern neighbor, Canada. But don’t worry – you’ll still be able to get their Whoppers here.
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A Collective ‘Thank You’ at the IndyBar Paralegal Appreciation Luncheon

Paralegals play an invaluable role in the legal profession. This sentiment was proven by the outstanding turnout at the 2014 IndyBar Paralegal Appreciation Luncheon as more than 150 attorneys, judges, and of course, paralegals gathered to enjoy conversation, lunch and even a laugh on August 14.

Jodie L. Bergeron receives the 2014 Paralegal of the Year Award from Greg Laker of Cohen & Malad LLP.

Jodie L. Bergeron of Cohen & Malad LLP was honored as the Paralegal of the Year and was presented with the award during the luncheon. Kicking up the entertainment factor, three attorney/paralegal teams competed in a spirited game of “Who IS the Boss?” The teams were Angela Pannicke and Kari Jackson of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Alison Rundle and Nancy Cross of Cross Pennamped Woolsey & Glazier PC, and Darron Pennington and Richard Blaiklock of Lewis Wagner LLP, with Tamara McMillian of Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP on hand to serve as emcee. Angela Pannicke and Kari Jackson walked away victorious.

Team members line up on stage to compete in a game of “Who IS the Boss?” at the luncheon.

The celebration also included the declaration of “Paralegal Appreciation Day” in the city and state with proclamations from both Mayor Ballard and Governor Pence presented to the crowd.

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Evening Under the Stars Preparation is Underway

In just a few weeks, the Indianapolis Bar Foundation (IBF) will host its annual fundraiser, the Evening Under the Stars Dinner & Auction. The event features an elegant dinner, cocktails, live entertainment and silent and live auctions – all while attendees have the chance to mingle with Indy’s top legal professionals.


The organizing committee for Evening Under the Stars has been hard at work for the last six months to prepare for the night of October 10, and we checked in with committee co-chair Briana Clark of Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP, who is chairing with Erin Durnell of Broyles Kight & Ricafort PC, to find out more about what attendees can expect for the evening.

Question: What’s different about Evening Under the Stars this year?

Clark: We are very excited to have two new elements to the event this year. The first is a pre-event VIP reception for our Platinum and Gold sponsors and our VIP donors who have been big supporters of Evening Under the Stars in the past.

The second is a Presenting Sponsor option for firms or companies that want to support the event but do not have a large number of individuals able to attend. This sponsorship is $1,750 and provides recognition on advertisements, recognition at the event as a Presenting Sponsor, recognition in the Indiana Lawyer and IndyBar e-Bulletin and two tickets to the event.

Question: What is the best part about this event? Why do people come back year after year?

Clark: In my opinion, the best part of the event is seeing how our tight-knit legal community comes together to support the IBF and how not only generous, but also creative, our lawyers can be. There are always really crazy baskets that are quite a crowd draw. Some firms like Rubin & Levin have intra-firm contests to see who can make the best baskets. It is great to see everyone have such a good time for a great cause.

Question: What are some of the exciting items people will be able to bid on?

Clark: We’re looking forward to seeing this year’s donations coming over the next few weeks. We anticipate some great sports-themed baskets with Colts/Pacers tickets and we always look forward to Rick Cavanaugh’s high-end whiskey basket. We also have some great kids’ items, like a racecar that can be driven around with a horn and lights that work! In the live auction, we have Chris Hickey’s always popular Big Girls Party, a Maui condo courtesy of Karl Mulvaney, a fun event at Flat 12 Bierwerks with James Hinchcliffe that involves driving simulators and lots of cool swag, and a number of other great items.

Question: How has preparation been going?

Clark: We have a great committee this year that has been on the ground running since February. We had a bit of an easier start this year because Crane Bay was such a fantastic venue for 2013 that we locked them in right away for 2014. We’ve been very busy securing firm sponsorships, soliciting basket donations and working on the new VIP reception.

Question: What should people expect out of their experience that evening?

Clark: A fun cocktail reception, fantastic auction items (a one-stop place to get your holiday shopping done and book next year’s vacation!), a delicious dinner and a fantastic opportunity to mingle with your co-workers, friends and judges from the Indy legal community.

Question: Why should people want to support IBF?

Clark: The IBF is the charitable arm of the IndyBar. Its programs provide those experiencing financial difficulty in our community with free legal assistance to keep families together, save homes, protect against violence, safeguard their property and so much more. Proceeds from the silent and live auction are directed to our general fund, and we’re happy to report that our annual operating expenses are less than 25 percent of our income. In fact, we granted nearly $150,000 in monetary support for programs in need in 2013 and nearly 3,000 hours of volunteer time.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to give back and get to know other legal professionals in Indianapolis. Evening Under the Stars will be held Friday, October 10 at Crane Bay Event Center. Tickets can be purchased online at For more information and details for sponsorship opportunities, contact Chris Walsh at•

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miniBar Talk: This Week’s Top Post!

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CVS Stops Selling Tobacco Products

As of September 3, CVS Caremark is CVS Health, and their 7,700 stores across the nation no longer sell tobacco products. “The right move” – as CVS has called it – will cost them $2 billion in revenue. CVS announced the decision to pull tobacco products from the shelves in February but said the decision would not take effect until October 1. Wednesday’s announcement brought on this change almost an entire month ahead of schedule.

This decision further aligns CVS with the Affordable Care Act and the public health goals of the Obama administration. These shared goals are evident in the first line of CVS Health’s mission statement: “Health is everything.”

It remains to be seen whether or not competitors will follow CVS’s lead.

To read more about the rebranding decision and how banning tobacco products from the stores plays into that, check out this information from the updated CVS Health website.

*miniBar Bonus*
Speaking of health…Tracking Your Health? Don’t Let Someone Track You


To subscribe to more Health Care & Life Sciences 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!

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Don’t Be a Drain: Save Office Energy with These 6 Tips

For the third year, IndyBar’s Go Green committee is hosting the Green Legal Initiative to encourage law firms to commit to greener practices. We’ve been publishing tips and tricks over the last couple months to help accomplish this goal. The deadline for applications is coming up on September 13, so we are now in the final stretch! In this last edition, we will discuss easy ways to make your office supplies eco-friendly.

Up to 70% of the energy in the workplace is used by office equipment. That’s more than the actual employees use, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Use some of these tips to save energy and prevent unnecessary waste in some little (but effective!) ways:

  •  Use paperclips instead of staples when possible. Staples often end up going to waste when the individual papers must be separated for copies, edits or other changes.
  • Purchase refillable tape dispensers. This prevents more plastic from going to waste.
  • Use a customized rubber stamp for envelopes instead of disposable labels. This will be a small way to make a big difference when cutting down on your office’s paper use.
  • Reuse folders and envelopes with metal clasps when possible by covering old labels with new ones.
  • Put computers and other electronics in “sleep” mode when not in use to save energy. Even better: have employees completely turn off their computers when leaving for the day.
  • Turn off the lights when a room is not being used, or install motion-sensing lights, if possible. Make sure employees do so in their offices when they leave.

 (Source. Source.)

For other tips and tricks, check out the Go Green homepage here. To commit your firm to greener practices and join our Green Legal Firms list, just review the documents below and submit your application to The deadline for applications is September 13.

Green Legal Initiative: Program Details and Information
Application Form

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Volunteers Needed for Family Law/Minor Guardianship Pro Bono Cases

Since early 2013, the IndyBar and local legal service providers have been teaming up to provide pro bono help in family law cases. More than 100 cases have been placed as a result of these efforts, and additional volunteers are needed to continue this successful partnership.

If you volunteer, you will be contacted by the IndyBar when the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society has identified a financially qualified but conflicted litigant. You are free to decline based on client or schedule conflicts. It is the client’s responsibility to contact you. Clients will be responsible for filing fees and will be notified to bring filing fees to their first attorney meeting. You will only be eligible for another assignment after your case closes. You retain the right to withdraw from the case just as you would if this were a private case. You also retain the right to withdraw if the client shows signs of an ability to pay fees.

Contact Caren Chopp at to volunteer.

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Evening Under the Stars: These are a Few of My Favorite Things

Many Indianapolis Bar Foundation (IBF) supporters return year after year to the IBF’s hallmark fundraising event, Evening Under the Stars. With an elegant dinner and silent and live auctions, this annual event has become a highly anticipated tradition.

Attendees often take home auction items that remind them of the fun evening for years to come. We reached out to some of our long-time Evening Under the Stars supporters to find out their favorite auction find or memory from the event.

Patricia L. McKinnon, Attorney at Law
I love shopping for bargains at the Evening Under the Stars.

My favorite item that I’ve bought is a granite cutting board supplied by Chris Hickey’s husband Dan. It’s been in my kitchen since the day I bought it. We use it virtually every day and love its beauty and durability.

My second favorite item was my husband’s purchase of a Wii game system the first year the game system was released by the manufacturer. We were the first ones of our family and friends to have a Wii. You could not find a Wii in the stores at Christmastime that year, but we had one for our kids. They were thrilled!

Plan on finding great bargains and unusual items at Evening Under the Stars. My husband and I usually get our Christmas shopping done early each year at the event AND have a blast doing so!

John C. Trimble, Lewis Wagner LLP
Each year my wife Ann and I come to Evening Under the Stars with the plan that we will make a substantial contribution to IBF through our silent auction purchases. For at least two years we bid on and won some beautiful John Hardy jewelry donated by Aronstam.

More recently, we have turned our attention to fine wines. The last 2 years, we have been the lucky bidders for some really nice Italian Brunello wines from the 1985 vintages. We have then taken the wines home and have purchased the latest release from the same winery and have had a “side-by-side” tasting of the old and the new for Christmas dinner. I cannot tell you how much fun it has been.

We attend many charity fundraisers with silent auctions. None rival Evening Under the Stars in the quality and quantity of great items to take home.

Vanessa Lopez Aguilera, Lopez Law Office PC
A few years ago I adopted our dog Sophia from the event. It was the first time the IBF had done that, and it raised about $700. My husband was not happy but we loved her- love at first sight!

Nabeela Virjee, Lewis Wagner LLP
I have attended the IBF’s Evening Under the Stars for the last three years, twice as a law student and once as an attorney. It is a fabulous event to mingle with members of the bar in a non-adversarial setting. It is also fun to see everyone dressed to the nines. Most importantly, though, is the tremendous goal of the event: to raise funds to support the organization’s mission of advancing justice through philanthropy, education and service. I’m looking forward to attending again this year because what girl doesn’t like to have a cocktail and shop (for a good cause) at the same time!

Melanie Reichert, Broyles Kight & Ricafort PC
I’ve been attending Evening Under the Stars for years, and that event is the reason I presently sit on the Foundation board. At the 2011 event, Nissa (Ricafort) and I purchased a stay at a the condo in Maui donated by Lance Cline as part of the live auction. Our two families travelled to Maui in October 2012 and had the most amazing week.

The “condo” is nearly as large as my house, with three huge bedrooms and plenty of space for four adults and five kids. It’s located across the street from the beautiful and exclusive Grand Wailea Resort. Nissa and I ran on the beach each morning and spent the afternoons drinking yummy cocktails and watching our families playing in the surf. We snorkeled, ate pork cooked underground at a luau, and gorged ourselves on fresh seafood. AMAZING vacation. The kids (my three and Nissa’s two) talk about the trip all the time.

Then, at the 2012 silent auction, I purchased granite countertops donated by Dan Hickey. While not as glamorous as a week in Maui, I do love walking into my kitchen every day!

I could go on and on about the Big Girl party, the infamous “prevent divorce basket” from the Family Law Section and some of the fun baskets purchased through the years. Crane Bay provided an amazing venue with good food (which is always important to me), plenty of space and the fun outdoor patio area.

Thankfully, I’ve managed to escape the last few years without bringing home a puppy.
Hawaii 1

Eric M. Cavanaugh, Duke Energy Corporation
My favorite thing at the IBF Silent Auction has been buying wine. We have had a couple of Fellows who over the years have donated wine out of their collections to the silent auction. I have been able to acquire a number of collectable wines that have formed the basis of my own wine collection.

The most memorable night at the IBF dinner and auction is when I bought a slab of granite for our kitchen countertops without alerting my wife, Patti, that I was bidding. She was talking to someone near the bar and heard that I was the winning bid for an amount that I had not consulted with her about. She was upset, until Dan Hickey came over and explained to her about what I had just bought. Dan and his crew were great to work with and did a fabulous job. We love our granite countertops.

Finally, for many years I have put together a basket of single malt scotch for the Silent Auction. The last few years I have gone to that same liquor store to assemble the scotches. Thanks to the helpfulness of the spirits manager at the store, the trip has become an event lasting two to three hours as the spirits manager walks me through the extensive collection of single malts his store has and even gives me a taste or two. My son served as the designated driver this year.

Martha Lehman, Krieg DeVault LLP
Several years ago, my colleagues and friends, Betsy and Joe Russell, asked my husband and me to attend the IBF’s Evening Under the Stars. We had a great time. My husband was amazed at the number of people that he knew, and we enjoyed bidding on auction items. Since then, we have made it a point to attend the event, but my favorite memory comes from the 2013 Evening Under the Stars. I had a couple of extra seats at our table, and I invited my oldest daughter and her then fiancé to attend with us. They walked in and almost immediately lost themselves among the crowd. They found high school friends who were now lawyers and met with some of their friends’ parents. While the evening is always fun and I usually bring home something great from the auction, I enjoyed watching Liz and Aidan enjoy the crowd. They also managed to bring home a few items of their own.

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miniBar Talk: This Week’s Top Post!

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New Study Reveals What Makes Lawyers Happy

What makes lawyers happy? That was the question posed in a study of 6,200 attorneys, and the results showed clear winners. The data was broken down into five tiers, with the top tier hosting the most important factors and the bottom tier hosting the least.

At the top of the list: autonomy. In a review of the study, it was noted, “The more control over your life, the happier you tend to be.” Factors such as age and other demographics ranked lowest in determining happiness in the workplace for attorneys.

The full study can be found here, but for a summary and breakdown of the results, as well as ranking of all the factors, check out this article.

To subscribe to more Senior Counsel Division 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!

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