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Back to the Basics at Bench Bar 2020 - Business Law News

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Business Law News

Posted on: Apr 2, 2020

By Rob Shive, Emswiller Williams Noland & Clarke LLC

Spring is in the air for 2020 and so, too, is registration for the 2020 Indianapolis Bar Association Bench Bar Conference in French Lick, Indiana! This year, the CLE committee, after considerable feedback from the membership and the rest of the Bench Bar planning committee members, decided to go back to basics for this year’s CLE programming.

With the end of social distancing, the 2020 Bench Bar Conference will give members an opportunity to stretch their legal (and actual) legs and interact with each other while attending the events, including the Friday morning kick-off presentation by nationally-renowned body language expert Janine Driver, whose entertaining and thought-provoking style will provide insight applicable to all areas of the practice of law.

For the breakout sessions, this year’s theme of “nuts and bolts” includes multiple tracks and practical presentations related to trial practice (civil, criminal and family law), settlement techniques (mediation, arbitration and civility/ethics), and practical topics about the practice of law itself like business development, emerging technology and a primer on sports betting in Indiana (complete with a look inside the new sports book facilities on site at the French Lick Resort!)

Combining experienced trial attorneys along with distinguished members of the bench, this year’s initial CLE presentations will feature mock trials with elements emphasizing some of the practical aspects of trial work including difficulties in presentation, controlling witnesses and thinking on your feet in courtroom settings. We have been able to assemble a terrific set of judges for each of the mock trials and look forward to some lively interaction between the presenters and audience members.  

The second round of sessions focuses on staying out of the courtroom with tips and techniques in settlement and alternative dispute resolution for civil cases, mediation and arbitration strategies for family law as well as civility and ethics by learning how to “play nice in the sandbox” with other counsel. The panels feature presenters with substantial experience in their respective areas and will be looking to involve the audience with discussion of methods and approaches to maximize settlement opportunities in formal and informal settings.

The final set of presentations looks beyond courtrooms and cases for some practical thoughts on broader topics such as the emerging use of technology – some of which many attorneys had to learn very rapidly in recent months – and things to consider in choosing and using these modern methods for the practice of law in the 21st century. Attendees can also explore ideas and considerations for marketing and expanding their practice in today’s world and the recovering economy with a presentation on practice-building tips

So, if you’re looking to increase your business, take advantage of the latest technology, learn a new practice area, pick up some new tips to improve your comfort in the courtroom and solidify your strategies for settlement, or just hang out with some great people, the 2020 IndyBar Bench Bar conference is for you! On behalf of this year’s Bench Bar committee and chairs, we look forward to seeing you from June 18-20 in French Lick. Registration is open now - check out the agenda and register online at!


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