By Andy Campbell, 2020 IndyBar President, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
2020 has been (and no doubt will continue to be) like riding a roller coaster in a hurricane. Fortunately, for the IndyBar, we have a committed membership that has responded in amazing ways. While the pandemic will affect the practice of law for years to come, we can all be proud of the work our association did to respond in positive and uplifting ways. In a non-COVID year, we would typically recognize our IndyBar award winners at our annual Recognition Breakfast — typically a packed event with comradery and good cheer. Like many things this year, we will recognize our award winners in different (but no less important) ways. I encourage you to personally reach out to these award winners and give them the recognition they deserve. 2020 would be much worse for our professional lives if it weren’t for their leadership and commitment to the IndyBar!
IndyBar Board of Directors Award: Brett Thomas and Cassie Nielsen — IndyBar Public Outreach Committee co-chairs. This award is bestowed on IndyBar members who have demonstrated outstanding and unique service to the association, causing a positive benefit for the legal profession. In short, Brett and Cassie’s leadership to promote our profession and the public at large about the ways in which IndyBar responded and provided service to those in need during this tumultuous year was beyond measure.
IndyBar President’s Awards: Brian Bosma (recognized in February 2020), Indianapolis Bar Foundation Crisis Empowerment Grant, IndyBar Review Faculty and Congresswoman Susan Brooks. The IndyBar Foundation converted its typical Impact Fund Grant into the Crisis Empowerment Grant to fund solo practitioners who could provide pro bono support to numerous of our neighbors in need. The IndyBar Review Faculty taught an entirely new test during the pandemic, with 100 percent of IndyBar students passing the 2020 bar examination. And Congresswoman Susan Brooks (who will retire in 2020) has been a wonderful public servant and longtime IndyBar member. Each of these people and entities have had an immeasurable impact on our profession and association, and it is my great pleasure to recognize them for their commitment to making the practice of law in central Indiana more productive and fulfilling.
Dr. John Morton Finney Award for Excellence in Legal Education: John Gallo — Chair of the Criminal Justice Section. Established in 1998, this award honors the memory of Dr. Finney who, during his lifetime, demonstrated the value of education and a love of the law. Each year, the IndyBar is proud to honor a professional who has made significant and unique contributions to further legal education within our community. In 2020, Mr. Gallo presided over one of the most productive years ever in legal education for our Criminal Justice Section. His leadership is a testament to the importance and value of legal education through the IndyBar.
Silver Gavel Award: Magistrate Kimberly Mattingly. Created in 2004, this award aims to spotlight judicial officers whose career exemplifies the high calling and higher achievement of practitioners in modern society. Anyone who has practiced before Magistrate Mattingly knows that she truly embodies the qualities of an effective and passionate judicial officer.
Unsung Hero Award: Denise Hayden. Ms. Hayden is a lawyer who goes above and beyond the call of duty and exhibits the highest level of commitment to others without the expectation of praise or recognition.
Criminal Justice Section Gil I. Berry Award: Marion Superior Court Technology Team. This team has been an “unsung” entity in the criminal justice court system, which is often a tough, intense and sometimes thankless job. The lives of our criminal lawyer colleagues are made much easier by the work of this dedicated group of professionals.
Zeff Weiss Award for Excellence in Real Estate: Jeffery Abrams and Norman Newman. Messrs. Abrams and Newman are shining examples of the extraordinary and positive achievements to the Indiana real estate and development community that were embodied by Zeff Weiss.
Family Law Section Award: Honorable Alicia Gooden. Judge Gooden has demonstrated a strong and dedicated commitment to furthering knowledge of issues affecting families in central Indiana.
Paralegal of the Year: Rayann Knepley. Ms. Knepley’s commitment and dedication to the legal community and her leadership of the IndyBar Paralegal Committee is bar none.
Young Lawyer of the Year: Emily Angel. Ms. Angel has been an excellent leader within the IndyBar Young Lawyer Division, making exceptional contributions and serving as a role model for young lawyers throughout Indianapolis.
Young Lawyers Division Distinguished Leadership Award: Stephanie McGowan. Ms. McGowan has served the Young Lawyers Division selflessly and with distinction for many years.
Patricia Paxton Wagner Award for Excellence in Estate Planning & Administration: Jon Williams (posthumously). Mr. Williams made extraordinary efforts and positive achievements in estate planning and administration throughout his career.
Congratulations to all of these exceptional IndyBar award winners. We look forward to celebrating each of you as we bring 2020 to a close. Thank you to your commitment to our profession and more importantly your dedication to IndyBar. We’re celebrating all our award winners during the Indianapolis Bar Association & Foundation Celebration Week from Nov. 30 through Dec. 4! We hope you’ll join us to celebrate. See details at indybar.org/celebrationweek.