25 Lessons in 25 Years – Part I

25 Lessons in 25 Years – Part I    2017 marks my 25th anniversary as a lawyer.  I have decided to do a series of posts dedicated to certain lessons I have learned and how I have grown as a lawyer during those 25 years. Some of these lessons are universal across life in many different occupations; other are more specific to the practice of law; and some are even more specific to the practice of law in Indianapolis/Central Indiana. Like everything else in life, some of these will be more applicable to you than others. So, without further delay, and in no particular order except for number 1, here is part 1 of the 25 Lessons in 25 Years. Practicing Law is Stressful.  Lawyers often are hired by clients who have a problem and want the lawyer to fix it.  Of course, the lawyer had nothing to do with creating the problem, but now the client wants it fixed by the lawyer.  For type “A” perfectionists, which many lawyers are, this creates stress because many of these problems never will be fixed. I personally tend to internalize these problems and make them my own, and while experience has taught me that I cannot do that, that is something I always struggle with because I want to make everything right for the client. There is no Such Thing as Perfect Case.  I have won cases that I should have lost, and lost cases I should have won.  This is why cases settle.  When you go to court, anything can happen, and often does. The Strategy That Almost Never Works.  “Just...

Not So Fast, My Friend

Not So Fast, My Friend   On a television show I particularly enjoy on a certain well-known sports network on Saturday mornings between August – December, one of the long-time stars of the show (who also happens to be a former head football coach at Indiana University), has a line he frequently uses when he disagrees with the opinions of one of the other hosts of the show.  That line, “Not so fast, my friend” actually can help us understand what can happen when a legal dispute goes to court and the parties rely on a judge (or jury) to decide who wins and losses.  Clients typically come to us quite confident in their position in a dispute or legal situation in which they find themselves.  They see absolutely no way they can lose, and want us as their attorneys to affirm this belief.  “You agree with me, right?” is something that is often asked of us.  Of course, 25 years of experience, and of winning of cases I should have lost and losing cases I should have won, tells me otherwise.  I often need to counsel clients that when it comes to litigation, you never know what can happen. A recent Indiana Supreme Court case provides yet another illustration and cautionary tale that demonstrates why we are always so cautious about making predictions about litigation.  The detailed facts of the particular case are not terribly important for this article.  What is important is to understand the relatively straight forward nature of the applicable law and what happened as that case found its way to the Indiana Supreme Court. ...

We’re Growing!

Boutique business and commercial law firm seeks an associate attorney with 1-3 years of experience in litigation or commercial law who can hit the ground running.  This position may also include real estate, bankruptcy and transactional work.  We want an attorney who is looking to be part of a team environment, who understands that more hands make the load lighter and is interested in helping us grow.  We expect a lawyer who knows that communication is vital to our success and is capable of communicating effectively.  We hope to find a person who wants to be a long-term member of our team and can grow with us.  If you are interested in this position, please email your resume and a writing sample to the firm administrator at sclark@bbrlawpc.com.  Please also send a cover letter including salary history and desired compensation. Required Skills & Experience Have a valid license to practice law in Indiana – currently in good standing with the Bar. Be professional, courteous and accommodating to client, staff and co-workers. Have excellent verbal and written communication skills. Have the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment. Possess strong negotiation skills. Provide sounds counsel and judgment on legal questions or issues. Take responsibility for court appearances, motions, depositions, mediations, negotiations and trial...

DIY: Not Always the Best Plan

        DIY: Not Always the Best Plan     There are many things that I could pay to have someone do that I do myself. Many people pay to have yard work done, but I rather enjoy it, plus being a healthy person who loves the outdoors I cannot justify paying someone to do the work I am perfectly capable of doing myself.             Other things, however, are things I gladly pay someone to do because I know that because of their years of professional training they will be able to do the job effectively and correctly and I do not have to worry about it. Plumbing and changing my car oil are two examples for me personally. While I might be able to learn how to do the particular job myself, in certain areas even if I had taught myself I would feel better having a knowledgeable professional handle it and be able to deal with the intricacies and any unforeseen situations that could arise.             Why am I sharing this in the legal blog? Because a recent case from the Indiana Supreme Court illustrates the potential pitfalls of trying to go it alone in the sometimes complicated world of litigation.  In McCullough v. CitiMortgage, two homeowners unsuccessfully challenged the foreclosure of their home.  While that does not make for a particularly interesting fact pattern, what is interesting is the opinion from the Supreme Court and “reading between the lines” the Court seems to imply that the homeowners may have had some legitimate arguments to make and potentially even win the appeal.             The main...
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