By Tom Barnard, 2019 IndyBar President, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP
My wife’s cousin is one of the smartest people I know. A college English professor with a contagious passion for people and life itself, she reminded me a few years ago that most of the great novels are about one of two things: someone came to visit or someone went on a trip. I’ve thought about that, and I’ve concluded that the common thread between these two events is a change of perspective. When someone new to your life, a lost relative for example, comes to visit your family, you often gain new insights and perspectives. You hear of places unknown, of different cultures, different food and different lifestyles. You also receive that person’s impressions of you and your life, bringing fresh perspectives. Likewise, when you take a great trip to new places you’ve dreamed of seeing firsthand, you gain similar insights. The smells and fabric of a foreign land brighten and renew your senses and create lasting memories.
On the ladder of human emotion, one rung below the “great novel,” is FOMO, the fear of missing out. FOMO is commonly mentioned in today’s culture and arises from one’s sense of loss when others have experienced something great or cool in your absence. Certain moments in time and space with certain people cannot be recreated. Hence, FOMO. But the “great novel” and FOMO have one thing in common – people and their stories, otherwise known as the “human connection.”
I once asked my son for his idea of the perfect vacation. His response was to travel by train from New York to San Francisco and, with notepad in hand, interview everyone on the train to take down their life stories. He realized that each of us has a story to tell that is worth sharing, yet we often don’t. No one I know has interviewed every passenger on a plane, bus, or train, to capture those life stories. The face-to-face human interaction cannot be gained on pages, only in real time with real people.
Here is the reason I am writing about the “great novel,” FOMO and the “human connection”: the upcoming IndyBar Bench Bar Conference on June 20-22, 2019. Our Bench Bar Conference takes place this year in the beautifully-renovated French Lick Springs Hotel, in the beautifully-renovated town of French Lick (if you haven’t visited in a few years, you’ll be surprised at the shiny new storefronts and shops immediately near the resort). Our Bench Bar Conference planning committee, including Judge Amy Jones, Judge Barbara Crawford and Lindsay Faulkenburg, has planned an outstanding program. In addition to some conference favorites like a fitness hour, golf outing and family law, criminal and civil programming tracks, we’ve added an in-house and transactional-focused track for 2019. You can also look forward to programming lead by well-respected local attorneys and judges as well as esteemed national speaker and experienced criminal defense attorney Larry Pozner. We also excited to host a pool party, a first-timer’s reception and a karaoke night!
The Bench Bar Conference offers an opportunity to escape the push-pull demands of our everyday law practice and take a trip to a historic resort to prevent FOMO because you will be there, visiting with fellow attorneys and judges and renewing that human connection that is becoming too rare. I have often thought as I drove home from Bench Bar, how glad I am to have had a special conversation with a judge, an old colleague, a new lawyer, a mediator or an attorney I had long admired but never met.
Here’s one more reason to attend: we all know what an epiphany is — a mental moment of instant clarity or an “aha!” moment — and they are precious and rare. Epiphanies can be powerful, like realizing that after all your years of worrying, you had nothing worry about in the first place. They can change your course of direction or serve to irrevocably alter your opinions. I cannot promise an epiphany at the Bench Bar Conference, but I maintain that they often occur when you are in a different setting, with different people and on a different schedule than your ordinary routine. Perhaps hearing a story or experience from a new acquaintance will trigger some new “moment of clarity.” At a minimum, I feel safe in saying that your chances of experiencing an epiphany are higher if you attend Bench Bar than if you stay home in your regular routine.
So I hope you will attend, play some golf or attend the pool party, share some laughs, receive your six hours of CLEs and come home enriched. Spending your valuable time with 300 other attorneys and judges who believe it is a very good thing to practice law in Indianapolis will provide you with new perspectives and memories that you will carry into the future. You can get more details about the conference, check out the agenda and register at indybar.org/benchbar. If cost is a burden, apply to take advantage of our multiple full-conference scholarships! You can get details and apply for the scholarships by April 1 at indybar.org/benchbarscholarship.