Looking Back on the Last Fifty Years:
A History of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association
Prepared by G. Stanley Hood and Terri Todd
Dedicated to Indiana’s trial lawyers, past, present and future
1956: The Beginning
The year was 1956. Dwight Eisenhower was in the White House. Occupying the living rooms of millions of American homes was the newly developed piece of technology known as the television set. Americans were entertained nightly by such programs as the Dinah Shore Show, The Perry Como Show, Perry Mason, and The Tonight Show hosted by Steve Allen. For American children, television was the newly found “ask no questions” “reasonably priced” baby sitter. The small fry were entertained by Captain Kangaroo, Ding Dong School, Pinky Lee, Buffalo Bob, and Howdy Doody. A Ford and a Chevy “still ran 10 years like they should” but the purchase price for one of these new dream machines was almost $2,000, which represented one-third of a year’s pay for the average Indiana lawyer.
In the Hoosier state, high school basketball was the undisputed king of the local sports scene. The Crispus Attucks Flying Tigers led by a young man named Oscar Robertson ruled supreme as they captured their second consecutive state championship. On the national sports scene, baseball was still the bonafide national pastime. Mickey Mantel was winning the Triple Crown and the Dodgers were in Brooklyn and the Giants in New York as they always had been and always would be (for one more year). A few baseball superstars were paid the unbelievable salary of $100,000 per year. Baseball’s competitors for the national sports dollar finished a distant second. The National Football League was playing each Sunday to thousands of empty seats in baseball stadiums such as Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park in Chicago and Briggs Stadium in Detroit. The National Basketball League with teams such as the Rochester Royals, Minneapolis Lakers and Indiana’s only representative, the Fort Wayne Pistons, was struggling to make ends meet.
In 1956, the guns of World War II had been silent for slightly more than a decade. The United States, the only major nation to survive the war unscathed, was on an economic roll unparalleled in its history. Americans experienced an unprecedented monopoly in world commerce. The only two nations who offered any competition were Japan and West Germany, which had been set up by the United States as trading partners and economic fiefdoms. The industrial might of the United States created and necessitated by an all-out effort to win the war grew by astonishing proportions in the decade following the end of World War II. The establishment of sophisticated products put into the stream of commerce by thousands of successful manufacturers made the American standard of living second to none. The improvement of transportation technology, particularly in the automotive and airline industries, along with the commencement of the interstate highway system, put Americans on the road, as well as in the sky and increased our mobility as never before.
As a nation, we were paying a price for these tremendous advancements in technology. The law of averages would dictate that some of the products manufactured were defective thus causing injury and death to their users. Likewise, with more people than ever going at faster speeds, on the ground and in the air, both the volume and seriousness of injuries increased. Historically, in particular, following the advent of the so-called industrial revolution in the mid and late 1800’s, the advancement of technology had always increased the number of people injured or killed. Through the 19th century and continuing into the mid 20th century, those injured or killed in industrial type accidents, automotive or air mishaps, as well as other disasters went either uncompensated or grossly undercompensated. With few exceptions, there were no plaintiffs’ lawyers to represent those unfortunate souls who were paying the price of progress. Usually, the best and brightest in the legal profession were hired by large corporations, manufacturers, and insurance companies. The injured party who usually could not afford to pay for the services of a lawyer got what was left in the form of an attorney who did not have many paying clients and thus would be willing to represent the injured person on some type of a contingent fee arrangement. Solo practitioners or lawyers working in small two or three person associations were in most cases the only ones available to represent the injured person.
There was no national organization of attorneys who represented injured people. Consequently, no state organizations of plaintiffs’ lawyers existed. As a result, the injured person was forced to navigate through the legal system on a less than level playing field usually with legal counsel whose resources were grossly inferior to those enjoyed by the defense attorney. The end of World War II was the greatest historical watershed in the history of our country. Because of this war and its successful conclusion, virtually every aspect of American life began to change drastically. Such was the case with the legal representation of injured people.
The National Association of Claimant’s Compensation Attorneys, better known as NACCA, was founded in 1946. In the late 1940’s, a group of lawyers who specialized in the representation of injured people such as Melvin Belli in California, Billy Hyman and Harry Gair in New York, and Perry Nichols in Florida through the use of such now commonplace devices as expert witnesses and demonstrative evidence began to consistently achieve for injured plaintiffs verdicts much higher than previously rendered. NACCA, the fledgling national organization, began to grow in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. By means of establishing a NACCA law journal which was disseminated nationally and nationwide barn storming by certain leading plaintiff’s lawyers, NACCA started adding affiliate state chapters to the national organization. Through education and inspiration, NACCA began to convince lawyers in the hinterlands that there was no shame in representing injured people and showed these lawyers how they could with resourceful utilization of existing law and improved techniques of courtroom presentation achieve the adequate award for their injured clients.
In the State of Indiana, there were numerous young lawyers recently returned from military service whose law practices were virtually wiped out by the interruption necessitated by their call to serve their country. Among these returning veterans were Floyd Cook of Kokomo, Hansford Mann of Terre Haute and Howard Young, Jr., of Indianapolis. Another returning veteran was John Townsend of Indianapolis who rejoined his brother, Earl, who had been operating the firm during John’s period of military service. These returning veterans and other young lawyers of the time found that representing injured plaintiffs was an expedient way to build, or in many cases, establish a clientele. One of the acknowledged leaders of the Indiana Plaintiffs Bar in the post World War II era was John Jennings of Evansville. At that time, there were many roadblocks affecting the practice of plaintiffs’ personal injury law in the State of Indiana. Foremost among these was the ten thousand dollar limit on wrongful death recovery. Personal injury verdicts in Indiana rarely reached the ten thousand dollar level, and verdicts of three and four thousand dollars were routinely appealed by the insurance companies. This early group of Indiana plaintiffs’ lawyers realized that to remove these roadblocks they would have to actively lobby the members of the Indiana General Assembly at their bi-annual legislative sessions held in Indianapolis. As a result, a small group of plaintiffs’ lawyers began conducting informal meetings in Indianapolis contemporaneous with bi-annual sessions of the legislature.
One of the most compelling reasons for Indiana plaintiffs’ attorneys to become active in the legislature was to protect victories won for injured clients in the courtrooms of Indiana. There was and still is a tendency on the part of insurance interests following a notable plaintiff’s verdict in a given area of law to introduce legislation to make it difficult or impossible for plaintiffs to continue prevailing. Under the leadership of lawyers like John Jennings, Earl Townsend, Jr., James Nolan, Russell Dean and Harold Soshnick, and due to tireless efforts in the legislature on the part of Howard Young, Jr., the ten thousand dollar wrongful death limit was raised to fifteen thousand dollars, and eventually the limit was removed completely. Due to the skillful appellate advocacy of Earl Townsend, Jr., the county where the accident occurred emerged as the proper county of venue for the filing of a personal injury case, thus eliminating the need to sue the defendant in his or her own county. As far back as the 1950’s, the brilliant legislative efforts of Howard Young, Jr., were directed toward a modification or repeal of the harsh Indiana guest statute. In the early 1950’s, the National Association of Plaintiffs Attorneys, still known as NACCA, continued its growth. Melvin Belli, in particular, was an extremely active president and recruiter who visited many states including Indiana. In the early 1950’s, Ben Small, a professor at the Indiana University Law School in Indianapolis (later to become Dean of the school), was acquainted with Melvin Belli. With the assistance of Indianapolis attorney Jim Tuohy, he succeeded in bringing Mr. Belli to Indianapolis for a lecture at the law school. This lecture was attended by many law students and practicing lawyers. Among the lawyers attending were Howard S. Young, Jr., and Earl C. Townsend, Jr. As a result of the inspirational visit of Melvin Belli, Howard and Earl began to conceive the idea of organizing the informal group of Indiana lawyers who gathered at the time of the legislative sessions into a state organization which would affiliate with NACCA. Howard Young, Jr. attended the NACCA national convention in Houston, Texas in the summer of 1952. Subsequently, NACCA of Indiana, Inc. was incorporated by Russell Dean in the mid 1950’s.
John Jennings emerged as the President of this association of Indiana lawyers who represented injured plaintiffs. The meetings were still informal involving small groups of attorneys who met in Indianapolis during the legislative sessions. As time went on, at the suggestion of Howard S. Young, Jr., the name of the organization was changed to Indiana Trial Lawyers Association to gain more identity and recognition with members of the legislature. In the early 1960’s, Howard S. Young, Jr. succeeded John Jennings as President, and he in turn was succeeded by Earl C. Townsend, Jr., who was then replaced by Hansford C. Mann. By 1965, when Edgar W. Bayliff of Kokomo became President, the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association began to assume additional formality and to adopt many of the organizational patterns that we recognize today. During the Bayliff presidency, a former Indianapolis newspaper man named Robert Bloem was hired as the first executive secretary of ITLA. Mr. Bloem operated the association from his home located on Carrollton Avenue.
On Saturday, December 11, 1965, the first annual Institute or seminar sponsored by the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association took place in the moot courtroom of Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington. The topic at this first annual seminar was “Effective Handling of Personal Injury Litigation.” The institute chairman was Charles R. Vaughan of Lafayette and the speakers included Howard S. Young, Jr., Earl C. Townsend, Jr., Hansford C. Mann, and John Jennings. Additional speakers were Owen Voight of Jeffersonville and Benjamin C. Pizer of South Bend. The registration fee at this first annual seminar was ten dollars.
The College of Fellows of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association was created in 1965. The first members of the College were Howard S. Young, Jr., Hansford Mann, Floyd F. Cook, Owen Voight, Earl C. Townsend, Jr., Jonathan Jennings, and H. Harold Soshnick of Shelbyville. In July of 1967, ITLA published the first issue of Verdict Magazine. This inaugural issue and many of the early issues were simply mimeographed on several sheets of paper by executive secretary Bob Bloem. This represented the first attempt to network with other plaintiffs’ lawyers in the State of Indiana and proved an attractive incentive for membership in ITLA.
During the remainder of the 1960’s, and into the early 1970’s, ITLA continued a slow but steady growth under Presidents Charles R. Vaughn, James T. Robinson, Paul T. Brenton, Owen Voight, Chalmer Schlosser, Sydney L. Berger, and David L. Matthes. In 1972, 358 Indiana attorneys were members of ITLA. Seventy of these subscribed to Verdict magazine. Beginning in the early 1970’s, the legislative efforts of ITLA were primarily focused on preventing passage of a no-fault insurance bill. Under the leadership of Howard Young, Jr. and Ed Bayliff, who spent countless hours in the General Assembly, and legislative consultant, Warren Spangle, as well as ITLA Presidents Theodore Lockyear, Dempsey Cox and Roger L. Pardieck, a successful fight was waged against passage of any no-fault legislation. By 1974, a physician was Governor of Indiana. This fact combined with a receptive legislature and public sentiment which was responding to an alleged crisis in the area of malpractice insurance coverage for medical care providers, created an atmosphere where the passage of some form of medical malpractice “reform legislation” was inevitable. The proponents of this “reform legislation” at first proposed an extremely unfair type of scheduled compensation for victims of medical malpractice, which greatly resembled Indiana’s worker’s compensation concept of scheduled recovery. Representing ITLA in an all out effort to prevent worker’s compensation type of legislation from becoming a part of any “medical malpractice reform” was Legislative Chairman, F. Boyd Hovde. Due to the efforts of Mr. Hovde, the attempt to implement a worker’s compensation type of scheduled medical malpractice compensation was thwarted. As our nation celebrated its bicentennial in 1976, ITLA was growing and on the move. The office of the association in Bob Bloem’s home on Carrolton Avenue was becoming very crowded. Under the leadership of Thomas J. Young, plans were initiated to establish a downtown office for ITLA. The Board of Directors gave unanimous consent to lease office space in the Union Title Building. When Boyd Hovde was elected President in 1976, a replacement had to be found for the Legislative Chairman’s seat, which Boyd had vacated. This fell into the capable hands of Donald W. Ward, who immediately launched plans for the restructuring of the organization’s legislative program.
In 1977, under the leadership of President Perry W. Cross, it was decided that ITLA’s Annual Institute would be expanded to a two-day format. It was further decided that an entire trial would be presented at the Institute. The 1977 Institute, entitled “Voir Dire to Verdict”, was the Association’s most successful and profitable seminar up to that time. In conjunction with that Institute, a 183-page booklet was printed. A tremendous snowstorm developed and more than two hundred of the registrants were unable to reach the Hyatt Regency in Indianapolis for the seminar. To remedy the situation, ITLA mailed out cassette tapes of the Institute to all registrants unable to attend. Many Indiana practitioners still use the “Voir Dire to Verdict” booklet published for this Institute. More than twenty years later, there are still many favorable comments doncerning this presentation.
The period of the late 1970’s was an important time for expansion for ITLA. In 1978, under the leadership of Leon Cline and Sydney Berger, an Amicus Curiae Committee was created primarily to challenge the constitutionality of the Medical Malpractice Act. Saul I. Ruman was named Chairman and Ed Bayliff, Howard Young, Jr., and Ted Lockyear were named as the first members of this committee. An extremely important meeting of the Board of Directors of the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association took place on April 29, 1978. By that time, Don Ward had assumed the Presidency of the Association and John F. Townsend, Jr. began several years of outstanding work as ITLA’s Legislative Chairman.
Among those introduced at the Board meeting on April 29, 1978, held at the Airport Hilton in Indianapolis, was the “new office secretary”, Michealle B. Wilson. Bob Bloem’s plan to retire as Executive Secretary effective September 1, 1978 was also announced. Another guest present at this Board meeting was Bill Archbold, from ATLA, who explained to the Board members the concept of a national political action trust which was being created. Boyd Hovde moved that ITLA approve the establishment of a LAW PAC in Indiana and the motion was seconded and passed. Thus was born LAW PAC. The Amicus Committee was authorized to employ counsel to write a brief challenging the constitutionality of the new Medical Malpractice Act. The fee for counsel to write this brief was not to exceed thirty-five dollars an hour.
In September of 1978, Howard Young, Jr., Hansford Mann, Sydney Berger, Saul Ruman, Ted Lockyear and George Freuchtenicht were chosen as the first Trustees of LAW PAC. Harry A. Wilson, Jr. was chosen to serve as the Chairman of the Fund Development Committee and those serving on that Committee were David Matthews, C. Richard Marshall, David V. Scott, and Roger Pardieck. Following an elaborate plan and under the tireless efforts of Harry Wilson and Daniel J. Harrigan, the State of Indiana was divided into districts for a LAW PAC drive. In the late 1970’s, ITLA sponsored a legislative effort to exert some positive influence and to insert consumer-friendly language into the products liability bill, which was on the verge of passing the Indiana General Assembly. Up to that time, there had been no codification concerning the various aspects of case law affecting product liability and no legislative pronouncement had been made concerning strict liability as embodied in §402A of the Restatement of Torts. Former ITLA President Ted Lockyear was a member of the Product Liability Study Commission. As a result of tireless efforts in the legislature on the part of Mr. Lockyear, John F. Vargo, Harry Wilson, Jr., Don Ward and David Scott, a product liability bill much more consumer-friendly than that which had originally been proposed was passed by the Indiana General Assembly. Ted Lockyear actually drafted much of the legislation, and as a result of Ted’s efforts, §402A of the Restatement of Torts was codified into the Product Liability Statute. Unfortunately, the best efforts of these ITLA stalwarts were not able to prevent the inclusion of the extremely harsh statute of repose which was included in the new Product Liability legislation.
As the 1970’s ended, Tom Young had assumed the Presidency of ITLA, John Vargo was named Editor of Verdict magazine and plans were announced to expand and revamp Verdict. Michealle Wilson was named Executive Director and was given authority to hire ITLA’s first permanent employee, who was to be paid an annual salary of ten thousand dollars. A committee consisting of Charles L. Berger, Roger Pardieck and President, Tom Young was set up to study the feasibility of incorporating ITLA.
As the decade of the 1980’s began, the Indiana General Assembly was meeting annually in a short session held in even years and a longer session in odd years. This necessitated an upgrading of ITLA’s legislative program. Under the excellent leadership of legislative chairman John Townsend, Jr., Phil Conklin, and John Craig were retained as legislative consultants for ITLA. In 1980, the organization was officially incorporated. In the Board minutes for June 4, 1980, for the first time the name of a female attorney appears as Mary Beth Ramey was named to serve on the Verdict Magazine committee. Later in 1980, Michealle Wilson resigned as Executive Director of the Association and was replaced by Barbara Young.
Early in 1981, the Association moved its office to the Old Trails Building, located at the corner of Washington and Senate, immediately across the street from the State House. A legislative report delivered to the Board of Directors in 1981 indicated that in all probability, the Guest Statute amendment would be passed by the legislature, but the wrongful death amendment would not be brought to a vote and the comparative negligence bill had been referred to a study committee. By 1981, during the presidency of Leon D. Cline, ITLA could boast a membership of 816 members and a new class of Directors, namely “Lifetime Directors”, had been created for all Board members who had served 15 years or more. When ITLA was incorporated in 1980, the first Board members were Leon D. Cline, Saul I. Ruman, C. Richard Marshall, Daniel J. Harrigan, Thomas J. Young, Charles T. Bate, Edgar W. Bayliff, Charles L. Berger, Sydney L. Berger, George N. Craig, Perry W. Cross, Brent E. Dixon, Edward J. Erpelding, Donald R. Forrest, George E. Fruechtenicht, Theodore Lockyear, Hansford C. Mann, James R. Martin, David R. Matthews, Thomas M. Moorhead, Peter K. Obremskey, Roger K. Pardieck, Daniel A. Roby, David V. Scott, Earl C. Townsend, Jr., John F. Townsend, Jr., Charles R. Vaughn, Owen Voight, Donald W. Ward, Harry A. Wilson, Jr., Howard S. Young, and Harry L. Zerbe. At the time the Association was incorporated, the category of “Lifetime Directors” was changed to “Emeritus Directors”.
Victor Kiplinger was hired by the Association as its first in-house Legislative Director late in 1981. The Association at this time was gearing up for the 1982 legislative session and Peter L. Obremskey was Legislative Chairman, replacing John Townsend, Jr., who would assume the Presidency of the organization in 1982. In late 1981, a motion that the Legislative Committee prepare legislation seeking a six-member jury in civil cases was defeated, but a motion passed unanimously to the effect that the Legislative Committee should draft and support legislation favoring comparative negligence.
When John Townsend, Jr. assumed the Presidency of the organization in March of 1982, the number of Directors was raised to forty and several new Directors were elected. At this time, Ed Bayliff, who had served many outstanding years as Chairman of the Amicus Curiae Committee was replaced by Brent Dickson - a future Supreme Court justice. Tom Young was serving as Editor of Verdict Magazine. In September of 1982, Micki Wilson was re-hired as Executive Director, and ITLA had embarked upon a series of statewide mini seminars to be held in various regional locations under the leadership of Harry Wilson, Jr.
The 1983 session of the Indiana General Assembly was of extreme significance as the comparative fault bill was passed. The passage of this bill was a result of many hours of tireless work on the part of ITLA members such as Ed Bayliff, Pete Obremskey, Legislative Chairman, Victor Kiplinger, Legislative Director, Phil Conklin, legislative consultant and organization Presidents John F. Townsend, Jr., and C. Richard Marshall, along with Drew Young, who became Legislative Chairman at the conclusion of the 1983 session of the state legislature. Association members David Scott and Ed Bayliff were named co-chairs of a comparative fault seminar which was to be held in September of 1983.
The ITLA legislative program continued to grow and prosper in the early and middle 1980’s under the direction of Richard A. Young. Among the items included in the ITLA legislative agenda were repeal of the guest statute, pre-judgment interest, amendments to the comparative fault bill, and various measures concerning the tort claims act and worker’s compensation. LAW PAC continued to grow under the leadership of Association Presidents Dan Harrigan, Pete Obremskey and Fund Development Chairman Robert W. York. These legislative efforts were crowned with the passage of the comparative fault bill during the 1983 legislative session and the repeal of the guest statute in the 1984 session. By March of 1984, during the Presidency of Dan Harrigan, ITLA membership climbed above the 1,000 mark for the first time. This increase in membership was largely the result of the extremely fine efforts of President Harrigan who had served as Membership Chairman immediately prior to assuming the Presidency.
By the mid 1980’s, under the leadership of Legislative Chairman, Drew Young, and President Pete Obremskey, the ITLA legislative program had reached a high level of efficiency and the program was ready to confront such issues as child wrongful death and pre-judgment interest. At this time, the leadership of the ITLA legislative program was taken over by George Clyde Gray and William W. Hurst as Drew Young assumed the Presidency of the organization in 1986. It was in this period that Edward Treacy appeared for the first time as a legislative consultant for ITLA. In the late 1980’s, ITLA continued to make its presence felt under the leadership of such Presidents as David Scott, W. Scott Montross and Glenn J. Tabor. George Gray was working unlimited hours as Legislative Chairman and Bill Hurst was LAW PAC Fund Development Chairman. Director Daniel A. Roby had expended considerable efforts in drafting various proposed bills for the legislature. In addition, Executive Director Michealle Wilson had become extremely active in the legislative program and was a vital member of the team in this endeavor. James H. Borman, who had been hired to replace Victor Kiplinger, was also instrumental in the successful legislative efforts of the ITLA. Mr. Borman also became head of the Hoosier Alliance for Consumer Rights.
During the period of the late 1980’s, ITLA members distinguished themselves not only in leadership and work projects in the Association, but also in the representation of injured clients. The first recipients of the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award initiated during this period were Mary Beth Ramey and Drew Young. Some of the later recipients of this prestigious award such as Harry A. Wilson, Jr., Edgar W. Bayliff, Charles R. Vaughn, Terrance L. Smith and Anthony Debonis illustrate the novel and resourceful work being done in Indiana courtrooms by ITLA members. During this time, the Association also continued its involvement in the legal education of the community by establishing a series of People’s Law Schools in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis. In 1989, at the Indiana State Fair, under the leadership of Executive Director Michealle Wilson, ITLA continued to reach out to the public presenting a series of mock trials.
In 1989, during the Presidency of Glenn J. Tabor and the leadership of Louis B. Yosha, efforts were initiated to move the ITLA office to a larger location at One North Capital. Also in the same year, under the leadership and direction of former President David Scott, the Sydney L. Berger Memorial Seminar was initiated and the first Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Mr. Berger posthumously. The name of the program was changed to the “Lifetime Achievement Seminar” beginning in the year 1990 and the seminar has been held annually ever since - under the direction of David Scott. This seminar awards and honors an ITLA member each year for outstanding work and a life-time dedication to the profession. In addition, it features a series of fifteen-minute nuts and bolts legal presentations. Those individuals honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award in addition to Sydney L. Berger, through and including the year 1996, include Hansford C. Mann, Howard S. Young, Jr., Earl C. Townsend, Jr., Theodore Lockyear, Perry W. Cross, Edgar W. Bayliff and Donald W. Ward. The 1997 recipient will be Saul I. Ruman.
As the 1990’s began, ITLA continued to function as the chief advocate of injured citizens as well as the unknown numbers of future injured persons. Alternative Dispute Resolution was the significant new issue to be confronted by ITLA as the decade of the 90’s began. Under the leadership of Association Presidents such as Louis B. Yosha, Sherrill William Colvin, Mary Beth Ramey (the organization’s first female president), and Daniel A. Roby, important and significant accomplishments were recorded with regard to the adoption of Alternative Dispute Resolution in the State of Indiana. During the presidency of Louis B. Yosha, the first out-of-state Board of Directors meeting ever held by the ITLA convened in West Palm Beach, Florida. The main topic of discussion at this meeting was the formulation of a definitive Alternative Dispute Resolution program for the State of Indiana. As a result of this meeting, the preliminary draft of the ADR Rules emerged and ITLA “discovered” a former Florida judge named David U. Strawn, an acknowledged leader of the Florida Bar in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Judge Strawn made numerous trips to Indiana and personally trained hundreds of Indiana attorneys to serve as mediators. Under the leadership of ITLA, the Supreme Court of Indiana promulgated ADR Rules and Indiana has become one of the national leaders in the development of Alternative Dispute Resolution.
When the Indiana Supreme Court adopted the Rules For Alternative Dispute Resolution, which became effective on January 1, 1992, Indiana became one of the first three or four states to institute statewide rules for court-based referral of cases to mediation. On October 6, 1996, the Indiana State Bar Association, in conjunction with the Indiana Supreme Court, announced the implementation of a Pre-Suit Mediation Program, sponsored by the Indiana State Bar Association. Indiana was the first state to adopt a statewide pre-suit mediation program. ITLA Board members Dan Roby and Terri Todd served on the Committee that drafted the Pre-Suit Mediation Rules and were instrumental in assuring that claimants had to be represented by counsel during any pre-suit mediation.
The Pre-Suit Mediation Guidelines were developed because pre-suit mediation was thought to have a great potential for addressing three of the most frequent complaints about our legal system: that litigation takes too long, costs too much and that there are too many lawsuits “cluttering the court dockets”. The Pre-Suit Mediation Program built on the success of the ADR Rules that Indiana adopted in 1992. Those Rules had led to the significant expansion of the use of mediation to get cases resolved without the necessity of trial, and to get cases settled earlier, thereby reducing the time and expense involved in litigation. The Pre-Suit Mediation Program took the ADR idea one step further – suggesting the use of mediation before litigation even starts. What were originally Indiana’s Pre-Suit Mediation Guidelines are now called “Guideline 8. Optional Early Mediation”, and appear as Rule 8 of Indiana’s Rules For Alternative Dispute Resolution. The novel idea of the out-of-state Board meeting initiated by Buddy Yosha was emulated by Presidents Sherrill Colvin and Dan Roby, as two additional out-of-state Board meetings, one in Key West, Florida, and one in San Antonio, Texas, took place in the early 1990’s. During the 1990’s, P. Gregory Cross assumed Chairmanship of the important Amicus Curiae Committee and ITLA continued to file briefs on significant issues emerging from notable cases in the Appellate and Supreme Courts of Indiana. During the same decade, such worthy and timely issues as the Committee for Equality in the Bar, addressing the concerns of female and minority advocates, were brought forth by Board members including Betsy K. Greene and Teresa L. Todd. In addition, Board member Jeffrey A. Cooke initiated exploration into an endowment or foundation activity for the Association.
In 1992, Mary Beth Ramey became the first female President of ITLA and in the same year R. Douglas Hailey, association member and director, was elected Parliamentarian of ATLA. Mr. Hailey become President of the national organization in 1997. Among the organizational changes implemented by Mary Beth Ramey was a concept which was initiated by subsequent President Dan Roby. That concept was a two-year plan in which the President-Elect of the Association would become involved and would serve as the Chairperson of a long-range planning committee. In 1993, the ITLA Board of Directors decided to initiate a statewide radio program entitled, “Law Talk of Indiana.” In that same year, Treasurer Robert W. York reported that for the first time in the history of the organization, several thousand dollars would be transferred into a reserve account representing a surplus. As Dan Roby assumed the Presidency of the organization in 1993, plans were initiated for a summer leadership retreat that would take place in Bloomington, Indiana. In addition, the organization decided to hire a fund development staff person. John J. Cooney was ultimately hired as the organization’s first Fund Development Director. In addition, new standing committees were formed in the areas of family law, worker’s compensation and environmental law. The Association continued to work closely with the student chapter of ITLA, which had been established though the work of Glenn Tabor at the Valparaiso Law School. Through the efforts of Legislative Committee Chairman George Clyde Gray, Executive Director Micki Wilson and numerous other ITLA members, two important bills passed in the 1994 session of the state legislature. These significant items of legislation were the underinsured motorist bill which stated that uninsured motorist coverage cannot be written for less than $50,000, and a medical records bill which limited the cost that can be charged for obtaining medical records. During this particular legislative session, ITLA continued its valiant legislative efforts in the area of wrongful death, but the bill passed the House of Representatives for the sixth consecutive year and failed to move in the Senate.
At the board meeting held in San Antonio, Texas, in May of 1994, Gordon E. Tabor became President of ITLA. President Tabor announced that the ITLA Legislative Committee would again be headed by George Gray as Chairman with Frederick Hovde and Ed Bayliff as members of the committee. ITLA’s concern and dedication to rendering all possible assistance to the judiciary was evidenced late in 1994 when President Gordon Tabor named several individuals to a Judicial Pay Raise Coordination Committee. In addition, president Tabor announced that a judicial symposium would be held under the sponsorship of ITLA on December 8, 1994. The purpose of these activities was to enable ITLA to spearhead a drive for legislation to raise judge’s salaries, which had not been raised for several years. The judicial pay raise became ITLA’s number one priority in the 1995 session of the legislature. This judicial pay raise was passed by the legislature. On March 25, 1995, ITLA moved its present offices to Suite 210 in the ISTA Building. This office, which is the current location of ITLA, represents to the fifth location during the history of the organization. In 1995, Terrance L. Smith became President of ITLA. Legislative Chairman George Clyde Gray and his committee were able to defeat seat belt proposals in the legislature and also a medical payments bill. Unfortunately, a so-called tort revision bill, namely House Enrolled Act 1741, was passed by the legislature. Reacting as always to situations which compromise the efforts of injured people to successfully pursue their cases in court, during the summer of 1995, ITLA organized a Constitutional Challenge Committee to secure the demise of HEA 1741.
This important Constitutional Challenge Committee met throughout the year of 1995 under the chairmanship of Roger L. Pardieck, former President and long-time stalwart of ITLA. Board members Henry J. Price and Thomas C. Doehrman were charged with the responsibility of developing strategies for challenging the constitutionality of HEA 1741. Also active on this committee was former ITLA President and prominent member Ed Bayliff.
During the late 1990’s, Board members Tom Doehrman and Bill Conour took over as Co-Chairs of the Amicus Committee; and, Tom subsequently took over sole responsibility for chairing that important committee. Through the years, many ITLA members have authored amicus briefs relative to various legal issues being addressed by Indiana’s Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. All of this work is done on a volunteer basis and our members receive no monetary compensation for the many hours of work that they devote in this area.
Wen long-time Legislative Committee Chair George Clyde Gray was elected President of the association in 1996, Rick Hovde and Frederick W. Crow were elected Co-Chairs of the Legislative Committee. The selection of Rick Hovde and Fred Crow represented a passing of the baton to a new generation of attorneys carrying on the legislative work of their forbearers. In this case, Rick’s father, Boyd Hovde, was a former President of ITLA and former Legislative Chairman. Fred Crow practices with the firm law firm of Howard Young, Jr., who was a pioneer and trailblazer in the early legislative efforts.
As we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of our organization, we must appreciate that as each generation moves to leadership positions, they perceive that they face greater injustices, larger assaults and a more hostile work environment than their predecessors. We should not lose sight of the fact that the same perception was held by an earlier generation of ITLA leaders, many of whom are the fathers of today’s leaders. Similar perceptions will be held by future generations of ITLA advocates and so it goes. The blessing is that for the past forty years the proper people have been placed in positions of leadership to advance the rights of injured people, and so it will be for the next forty years.
As the ITLA moves into the 21st century, let us not forget the words of Thomas Jefferson who stated, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
By G. Stanley Hood ***
1996 to 2006 - Introduction What you have just read is the outstanding work of Stanley Hood as he helped celebrate ITLA’s 40th Anniversary.
In the last ten years we have witnessed many events both good and bad; a new administration, a major attack on American soil resulting in the war on terror, and numerous natural disasters; ranging from the tsunami in Asia to Hurricane Katrina hitting us at our doorstep. We even learned the definition of a “hanging chad” and what it means to “Google” oneself. And who would have ever thought the “Curse of the Bambino” would finally come to an end with the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series.
Our law practices have changed from deliberation to speed. Most of us began using computers for the first time, and then of course email and the internet. With a cell phone becoming a necessity, the transfer of information has dramatically sped up the practice of law. This exchange of information has also dramatically impacted the business of ITLA with the creation of our information list serves. We now exchange information daily among a group of us that 5 years ago would have been possible only at one of our annual seminars. Today we do not even have to go down the hall to ask our partner a question when in sense we have hundreds of partners at our fingertips with the ITLA list serves. It has made us more effective and more efficient at representing our clients.
I am proud of what we have accomplished and I look forward to what we can accomplish in the next 50 years.
Thomas Macke, ITLA President 2005-2006 ***
1996 to 2006
ITLA entered the 21st century with a commitment to establishing an effective use of the Internet and modern networking opportunities to allow the wisdom, skill and congeniality of our members to be shared in all parts of the State. During 2000 and 2001, Past President Jeff Cooke and then- President, Ted Smith, spearheaded what has become one of the benefits ITLA members value most highly - the Sustaining Member List Serve. The Association also has active list serves for our members who do medical malpractice work, our members who handle worker’s compensation cases and for members of ITLA’s Young Lawyers section. Additional list serves exist for the entire Board, Law Pac, and every committee.
In the late 1990’s, Jeff Cooke established a databank at his office, which contains depositions and reports of doctors who perform Trial Rule 35 examinations on behalf of defense attorneys and insurance companies, as well as depositions and reports of other experts. The databank also includes trial briefs, legal memoranda and motions relative to many legal issues with which our members deal in their daily practices, as well as form sets of Interrogatories, Requests for Production, Requests for Admissions, Complaints, and Jury Instructions. Since establishing the databank, Jeff has devoted himself to organizing and constantly up-dating the information that is maintained in the database and has graciously made the depositions, forms and other materials available to other trial lawyers.
Trialsmith (formerly known as Depo Connect) was established by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association in the mid-1990’s. Their Association invested several million dollars in hardware and software to create a nation-wide data bank accessible to trial lawyers across the nation. Individual members of our Association can send depositions to Trialsmith, which it puts on a computer disc and sends to the member who submitted the deposition. In addition, Trialsmith stores every deposition that is submitted on its hard drive. If the lawyer who submits a deposition consents, the deposition will be available to other Trialsmith members for purchase (at a very reasonable price). ITLA receives a commission for each deposition submitted by one of our members each time it is sold to another member of Trialsmith.
E-Clips is another services provided to our members by Trialsmith. It contains daily news briefs from across the country regarding legal issues of concern to our members. It is generally not legislative or political in its content. E-clips is sent via e-mail to our entire membership. The objectives of our Association include education and training of our members to assist them in most effectively representing their clients and maintaining high standards of professional competency and ethics. Therefore, ITLA offers seminars which include training in all aspects of trial practice. These programs provide both a service to our members and a significant source of funding for the Association.
ITLA’s Annual Institute is a two-day program which typically features several national speakers, and includes a luncheon featuring a “keynote speaker”. In addition, the awards that ITLA gives for Trial Lawyer of the Year, Legislator of the Year, et cetera are presented to the award recipients during the Institute. In 2003, the keynote speaker at the Annual Institute was Presidential candidate John Edwards. Senator Edwards then joined us for a reception where he spoke individually with many of our members.
ITLA’s first Annual Institute was held in 1965. The first two-day Institute was held in 1977. The Annual Institute in November 2006 will be our 41st. Executive Committee member Steve Langer is chairing that program. The Lifetime Achievement Seminar is a 1½ day CLE program, which Past President Dave Scott has chaired for many years. Our members provide the speakers for this program, with each presentation lasting about 15 minutes. As part of the program this year, , the Indiana Court of Appeals will be hearing an oral argument, after which the panel (Judge Margret Robb, Judge James Kirsch, and Judge Terry Crone), which take questions from the audience.
In 1990, when Dave Scott was the President of the Association, the first Lifetime Achievement Award was presented posthumously to Sydney Berger. The award is given in recognition of the caliber of legal work the recipient has done, as well as his/her service to ITLA, the local community and the State. This year, Dan Harrigan is being honored with the Lifetime Achievement award – which makes him the sixteenth recipient of the award.
Through the years, ITLA has continued to demonstrate its commitment to making available quality CLE opportunities. In 2001, under the leadership of President Theodore F. Smith, Jr., ITLA expanded its CLE schedule from two seminars a year to include additional half day and full day programs. In 2006, the Association will be offering six CLE programs in addition to the traditional Annual Institute and Lifetime Achievement Seminar.
Under the leadership of Past President Terri Todd, ITLA initiated an annual Young Lawyers Brown Bag Seminar Series in 2002.1 That program consists of six two-hour sessions dealing with “nuts and bolts” topics such as preparing your client to be deposed, understanding your client’s injuries and presenting the medical evidence, dealing with the Trial Rule 35 examiner, et cetera. President-Elect Betsy Greene and Board member Fred Schultz are responsible for initiating what has now become an annual tradition – a full-day seminar for “young lawyers” held in Bloomington, Indiana every summer. The event also includes a day in the sun on Lake Monroe.
The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association’s cornerstone publication is Verdict magazine. The first issue was published in July 1967. Since that time, Verdict has developed from a 2-3 page mimeographed newsletter to a well-respected and widely read legal journal. Verdict is published quarterly and contains case reports submitted by our members regarding verdicts and settlements, as well as scholarly articles of interest to trial lawyers and judges. Building on the strong foundation established by the previous Verdict Editors, John Vargo, Tom Young, Bob York and Tom Macke, current Editor Terri Todd, has updated the cover design and format of the publication and has aggressively recruited our members to submit articles for publication. New recurring columns include: “Leadership Is Service”; “Recent Indiana Decisions”; and reports regarding the work of our standing committees such as the Amicus Committee, the Young Lawyers Section, Membership, and Government Affairs. The “Leadership Is Service” column focuses on the community service activities of our members all across the state. During 2003, we began sending complimentary copies of every issue of Verdict to all of the Indiana state court judges as well as the judges on the Indiana Supreme Court and Court of Appeals – and the response from the judges has been very positive.
ITLA’s Amicus Committee is a long-standing, well-respected arm of the Association. The Committee is a wholly voluntary group of ITLA members who are committed to legal scholarship and broad issues of concern that impact upon the rights of the citizens of our State. A significant challenge to the Committee is reviewing the numerous meritorious requests for ITLA’s participation in the appellate process as a friend of the court. The Association’s goal is to select those cases that have the broadest impact upon the largest number of Hoosiers.
During 2005, Mark Scott became the Chair of ITLA’s Amicus Committee. The other members of the Committee are Tom Doehrman, Steve Langer, Betsy Greene, Jim McDonald, Bill Winningham and Terri Todd. Since the beginning of this decade, the Chairs of the Amicus Committee have continued to streamline the process of responding to requests for amicus assistance through the use of electronic communication. The members of the Committee, as well as other ITLA members, continue to demonstrate their commitment to our civil justice system by volunteering an extraordinary amount of time to author amicus briefs.
Micki Wilson has been ITLA’s Executive Director since 1978. The other members of the current ITLA staff are: Deputy Director, Jason Bell; Legislative/Governmental Affairs Director, Warren Mathies; Director of Programs and Publications, Gwyn Agee; and, Legislative Counsel, Terri Todd. 1 An ITLA member is eligible for the “Young Lawyers” section if he/she has been in practice for ten years or less.
As of January 1, 2006, ITLA has approximately 1048 members. Of those, 227 are members of the Young Lawyers Section and approximately 167 are women. The membership of our Association has remained steady (with modest growth) over the years - due to the efforts of our staff, the quality membership services that the Association provides, and the work of our Membership Chairs. Steve Williams has been our Membership Chair for several years. The Association’s Deputy Director, Jason Bell, works closely with Steve, and they do an excellent job.
Following a long tradition started 50 years ago by Howard Young, ITLA has an effective and respected governmental affairs program. LAW PAC was established in 1979 and Howard Young was the first Chair of the LAW PAC Trustees. LAW PAC continues to be the strong political action arm of the Association, committed to nonpartisan support of candidates for the Indiana House and Senate who support open access to the courts. Management and distribution of LAW PAC funds is under the exclusive control of the LAW PAC Trustees. There are seven trustees, and they serve five-year terms.
The areas of primary focus of the political activity of our Association are the Indiana House and Senate and the U.S. Congress and Senate. While recognizing that we, as attorneys, are often politically active in other areas, ITLA focuses on the legislative branch – because that is the most direct and effective way in which we can have an impact on the laws that affect the practices of our members and the rights of our clients and other Indiana citizens.
In 1997, during the Presidency of Greg Cross, ITLA decided to move its lobbying team “in-house”. Our Executive Director, Micki Wilson, assumed full responsibility and authority for insuring that our legislative team is one of the most effective in the Statehouse. Former Indiana State Senator, Bob Hellman, as well as Warren Mathies, joined the in-hose lobbying team in 1997. Bob left the Association in 2004 and was elected Vigo County Council and is currently continuing to serve as the President of the Vigo County Council.
The current structure of ITLA’s lobby team is based upon a well-defined division of responsibility. The Government Affairs Committee, under the direction of Co-Chairs Dan Chamberlain and John Young, work with the Association’s professional staff to implement the policies and agenda set by the ITLA Board of Directors. The Association’s professional legislative team consists of: Executive Director, Micki Wilson; Legislative Director, Warren Mathies; and Legislative Counsel, Terri Todd. ITLA Deputy Director, Jason Bell, provides valuable input concerning legislative strategy and analysis; and, when needed, Jason can also serve as a lobbyist because he is registered with the Lobby Commission to lobby on our Association’s issues. In addition, the Association employs Jewell DeBonis to work on all of our issues. Jewell is a full-time lobbyist with the law firm of Lewis & Kappes, in Indianapolis. John Bond, of Jewell’s office, also assists her in working on our issues. The ITLA office receives a copy of every bill and amendment that “goes in the box” at the Statehouse. There are usually more than 4000 bills introduced during a long session and over 2000 bills filed during each short session. The ITLA lobbying team and Legislative Committee are actively engaged with regard to about 400 bills that are introduced during a long session and with regard to about 200 of the bills that are introduced during a short session – which totals about 600 bills per cycle.
For many years, ITLA has recognized that justice is not a political issue. It is an American issue. Therefore, the legislative efforts of our Association are truly bipartisan. ITLA’s policy with regard to supporting legislative candidates is that we support people whose legislative performance demonstrates their commitment to maintaining open access to the courts for the citizens of Indiana. We have developed relationships with both Democrat and Republican legislators – which means that legislators from both parties will listen to what we have to say and consider our position and the arguments that we make in support of our position. As a result, we can get support for our issues from both sides of the aisle.
Our members and professional lobbying team have a well-earned reputation for supplying legislators with accurate, thorough and well-documented information and support for our positions concerning legislative issues. ITLA’s lobbying team and leadership is very cognizant of the fact that being successful in our legislative effort is not just a matter of politics. We view our responsibility to pursue open access to Indiana courts and justice for the citizens of our state to include our Association being an example of ethical conduct. It is very important that our Association and our legislative team have established a reputation of honesty and credibility with the legislators. If we tell them something they know that we are telling them the truth. They know that they can count on us to be on solid legal ground. We really do our homework on the legal issues – and use our legal research to educate the legislators and answer their questions. ITLA is able to have a significant impact on the issue agenda in the general assembly only because we have one of the most active and engaged membership of any organization in the state – if not the most active and engaged membership. This why we can do what we do with volunteers against “a paid army on the other side".
An effective government affairs program is conducted twelve months out of the year, every year – not just while the legislature is in session. ITLA’s leadership and legislative team is committed to being active and working hard to maintain contact with the members of the Indiana House and Senate throughout the year. This has a significant impact on the effectiveness of our Association’s efforts to preserve the rights of our clients and the other citizens of Indiana in the legislative arena. In 2004, Terri Todd became the second woman to serve as President of our Association. During her term in office, Terri became very active with regard to legislative issues and spent a significant amount of time attending and testifying at legislative hearings, meeting with legislators, and preparing written materials that were given to legislators in support of ITLA’s position with regard to pending legislation. During the 2005 session, the ITLA legislative team made a point of keeping our members better informed about exactly what was going on in the legislature relative to particular bills. There were conference calls for the Board once a month during the session and we e-mailed written legislative reports to our members - to keep everyone informed about what was going on in the Legislature; to get more input from our members regarding legislative issues; and, to get our members to become more active/more engaged with regard to what was going on in the legislature. We will continue to do that in the future.
The time at which ITLA can be successful with regard to particular issues on its pro-active agenda is not necessarily in the order of what issues are most important. Instead, it is an evolving situation and the right time to be able to pass certain legislation depends upon many factors, including the existing political climate. However, we are tenacious and we keep things on our pro-active agenda until we get the legislation that we are seeking. For example, increasing the cap contained in the Tort Claims Act was on the Association’s pro-active agenda for several years before 2002, when we were successful in getting the legislation that we wanted during Rick Hovde’s term as President. We also worked for many years to gradually expand the categories of individuals whose lives the Indiana legislature has now recognized as having a value that is compensable if lost due to the fault of another. When ITLA was founded in the 1950’s, the only civil remedy for wrongful death applied to adult males with dependents – and the damages were capped at $10,000.00. The early leaders of our Association were successful in getting that cap on damages removed. The Indiana courts subsequently recognized a cause of action for the wrongful death of adult females with dependents. For many years, adult males with dependents and adult females with dependents were the only categories of Indiana citizens whose survivors were permitted to recover damages for their wrongful death. The next significant expansion of wrongful death law in Indiana occurred during the 1980’s, when ITLA was successful in getting the legislature to adopt the Child Wrongful Death Act. It was not until 1998 that we were successful in getting the Indiana legislature to pass the Wrongful Death Act for Adults Without Dependents.
Through the years, ITLA has developed an extensive Key Person Program to facilitate a grassroots lobbying network. ITLA members are identified and asked to serve as “Key People”, who know their legislators personally either through personal or professional contact. The “Key People” also contact their legislators during key voting periods, and come to the Statehouse during the legislative sessions as needed. The Key Person Program has often been “the difference that made the difference” in critical votes.
During the 2005 legislative session, we re-vitalized the “Key Person” program and created a “Power List” of our members who took responsibility for contacting people in their areas to get them to write letters to legislators asking them to vote for or against particular bills and later thanking them for voting for or against a bill or going to the mike on the House or Senate floor in support of or in opposition to a bill. We got a great response from our members in this regard, which resulted in hundreds of letters relative to our issues being sent to members of the House and Senate during the session. In addition to testifying at Committee hearings, our members attended Committee meetings at which they did not testify and were present during debates and votes on the floor of the House and Senate. These things really matter. “Letters from home” and the presence of constituents at the time a vote is taken can have an impact on whether a legislator votes for or against a particular bill.
During the 2005 legislative session, legislators noted that ITLA’s legislative team and membership worked harder and were better prepared than our opponents in the legislative arena. We are proud of the work that we did during that session. However, we cannot and will not let up. We will continue to work harder and be better prepared than anyone else. We will continue to rely on the participation of our members. Our goal is to increase the number of ITLA members who are actively involved in the legislative process and to encourage our members to maintain and develop positive working relationships with their local legislators. ITLA is committed to maintaining high standards of judicial performance and independence; and, a priority of the Association’s government affairs work has always included a commitment to adequate compensation for Indiana’s outstanding judiciary.
For decades, there has been a well-funded nationwide effort to undermine America’s institutions of justice. For many years, ITLA has offered opportunities for lawyers to carry the message of the value of the civil justice system to the public. This is an enormous undertaking, but an increasingly important activity necessary to counter the misinformation which has been directed at trial lawyers, our tort system and injured Hoosiers during the past several years. This campaign of misinformation is funded by huge corporate interests, including the insurance industry, the tobacco industry, manufacturing interests, the medical industry (i.e., doctors and other health care providers), the pharmaceutical industry, government, the auto industry, the retail industry, the technological industry, et cetera. ITLA continues to support opportunities for Indiana attorneys to counter this assault with community outreach programs, including the following:
The Trial By Jury Program at the State Fair (1989-1991) The Trial by Jury Program at Black Expo (1999-2000) The trial by jury programs were a series of mock trials presented by our members. Attendees served as jurors. Peoples’ Law Schools (early 1990’s) Peoples’ law schools were conduced in Ft. Wayne, Richmond, Indianapolis, Columbus and Terre Haute. The participating law firms underwrote the cost and provided the faculty. ITLA provided materials, guides and staff support. Juror Appreciation Day at the State House (late 1980’s) Then-Governor Evan Bayh issued a proclamation declaring “Juror Appreciation Day”. Susan Bayh presented the proclamation in the rotunda of the State House and a reception followed. Speakers Bureau In the early 1980’s, ITLA notified service clubs and other organizations of the availability of our staff and members to speak to their groups about the civil justice system. There was considerable interest on the part of these groups, and ITLA responded accordingly. Network Indiana Series (13 weeks – 1993) Network Indiana is a satellite-fed radio program service providing news, weather, sports and special programs to radio stations throughout Indiana. ITLA had a weekly radio call-in program for an hour on Sunday evenings for a period of 13 weeks in the late summer of 1993. College of Fellows Bicycle Helmet Project In 2000, the College of Fellows donated $1000.00 for the purchase of bicycle helmets for children. Working in cooperation with the Brain Injury Association, the helmets were presented to two schools in Indianapolis. There was press coverage of the event in the Indiana Lawyer.
Annual Awards given by ITLA
ITLA’s By-Laws establish the rules under which the Association operates. The control and management of the Association is vested in the Board of Directors, which directs the affairs and formulates the policies of the Association. The Executive Committee is empowered by the Board of Directors to conduct the day-to-day business of the Association between Board meetings. ITLA’s By-Laws establish the rules under which the Association operates. Former ITLA Presidents Mary Beth Ramey and Jeff Cooke revised the By-Laws in 1993. Under the direction of President Terri Todd, and with a great deal of assistance from Tom Macke and Micki Wilson, the By-Laws were re-drafted and approved by the Board of Directors in November 2004.
At the suggestion of then-President-Elect, Tom Macke, ITLA’s Executive Committee held a Leadership Summit on June 24, 2004 – discuss the future of the Association. In preparation for that meeting, President Terri Todd and Executive Director, Micki Wilson, prepared a Leadership Manual for the Association. The purpose for preparing the Manual was two-fold. One purpose was for it to serve as the framework for the discussion that the Executive Committee had at it Leadership Summit in June of 2004. The Manual is comprehensive and contains detailed background information about all aspects of ITLA. The purpose of gathering that information was to provide a basis for planning the future of the Association by anticipating and answering questions about what ITLA has done in the past and what it is doing now. The Manual was also designed to be a permanent reference guide for use in the future. It is anticipated that in the future, ITLA’s leadership would periodically hold similar Leadership Summits and that the Manual will be up-dated.
The ITLA Foundation was created and spear-headed by Ted Smith in 1999 (during the time Max Goodwin was President of the Association). The original Trustees of the Foundation were: Steve Oliver (President), Henry Price (Vice President), Rick Hovde, Ted Smith, Dan Roby, Saul Ruman, Bill Hurst, Buddy Yosha, Boyd Hovde, and Glenn Tabor. The Foundation presents an opportunity for our members to support the objectives of our Association, including the preservation of the right to trial by jury and open access to the courts, as well as promoting and advancing high standards of professional ethics and excellence in advocacy through the mechanism of testamentary gifts. Many of the people who were responsible for creating and developing our Association are not with us this evening, as we celebrate ITLA’s 50th Anniversary. Many others are. We thank all of them for their vision and unrelenting work to protect the rights of all Hoosiers and for laying such a solid foundation for what we are doing today.
Looking into the future An Association that is not looking to the future is dying. Since its inception in 1956, ITLA has been gifted with visionary leaders. Our goal is to continue that tradition. The future of ITLA is in the good hands of our “young lawyers”, who are bright, energetic and emerging as the future leaders of the Association.
By Terri Todd, ITLA President 2004-2005