Indiana

You'll bump into more black people at the Indiana State Fair than you will at the Indy Law atrium.

If you had told me at the beginning of the week that something happening at Indiana School of Law – Indianapolis would turn into a three-day Above the Law story, I would have said, “No dude, I’m not going to race-bait the Jews during Passover.”

But it turns out that my powers of racial inflammation were not needed for this Indy Law story. A student writing as “Invisible Man” managed to stoke racial passions at the school simply by finding reverse racism where few others could: in the banners hanging in the law school’s atrium. Indy Law Dean Gary Roberts found the student’s objection essentially incomprehensible, but we haven’t actually seen the law school atrium, to judge for ourselves just how oppressive these banners of black people might be to the white students that make up 80% of the Indy Law student body.

Until now. Finally, tipsters send us photos of the atrium banners, to put this whole controversy into perspective. I hope you brought your magnifying glasses to work today…

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Gary Roberts

Gary Roberts, the dean of Indiana School of Law – Indianapolis, is a bad ass. We’ve mentioned him before: we featured him in a Quote of the Day, when he said, “If you’re a law student and think you’ll make $140,000 right out of law school, you’re an idiot.” At the time I thought the line was a rare moment of honesty from just another law dean.

It would appear now that I was wrong. This is maybe just how Dean Roberts rolls, having the guts to tell the truth as he sees it to his own students.

Yesterday, we told you about the controversial email that someone calling himself “Invisible Man” sent to his fellow IndyLaw students. In the message, he claims he feels unwelcome at his law school because of three banners that prominently feature African-American law students. After our publication, the story made it around the internet, getting picked up by Jezebel and focusing people on a law school many were unfamiliar with.

Well, today Dean Roberts responded, and his message is pretty brilliant. And the copy is clean, so you can’t say I wrote it…

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I think we’ve all seen law schools or law firms conduct a “diversity campaign” through extremely selective photography. There might be only four people of color at your law school, but you can best believe that all four of them will show up in the brochure for prospective students. Your 100-person law firm might have only two brothers who can show up to work without wearing a uniform, but both of those dudes will magically end up in a central position on the law firm website.

Everybody knows the game. Black people, brown people, women, and people in the majority all know what the PR department is trying to do. Back when I was in law school, there was this sister in a wheelchair who had Harvard photographers following her around like paparazzi.

I never thought of these attempts to represent through photography what cannot be achieved in reality to be particularly problematic. I never thought that over-representing minorities in law school brochures was painful or offensive to the overwhelming majority that would therefore be underrepresented in the pictures. I guess I thought that one of the benefits of being in the majority is that you don’t need a stupid PR photo shoot to make you feel like you might be able to get through school without being discriminated against.

But maybe I was wrong about all that. Maybe there really is one law student in Indiana who is ready to blow the lid off of a serious case of reverse racism that has just been staring us right in the face…

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What is up with state prosecutors in the Midwest? Over the past year or so, they’ve been making huge fools of themselves. See, e.g., Wisconsin’s Ken Kratz (of “I am the prize” fame); Michigan’s Andrew Shirvell (of “homophobic nut job” fame); and Indiana’s Jeff Cox (of “Use Live Ammo” fame).

Our latest Midwestern prosecutor to win Lawyer of the Day honors, Carlos Lam, also hails from Indiana. Let’s take a look at what this loser Hoosier did….

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I think that in this day and age that tweet was not a good idea, and in terms of that language, I’m not going to use it anymore.

Jeffrey Cox, former deputy attorney general in Indiana, commenting on the controversial tweets that got him fired from his government job.

P.S. If you’re on Twitter, please feel free to follow Above the Law, @ATLblog.

If you’re a law student and think you’ll make $140,000 right out of law school, you’re an idiot.

Gary Roberts, dean of the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, in an interview with the Indiana Lawyer (subscription).

The problem of Hoosier lawyers misbehaving is reaching epic proportions. We’ve already told you about Olubunmi Okanlami, the Indiana law grad who allegedly suspected her boyfriend of cheating, attacked him as well as correctional officers, and wore two bras to prison so she could hide a weapon in between.

We’ve already told you about Kirmille Welbon, a deputy prosecutor in Indiana who allegedly attacked the wife of a man she was sleeping with (more on her later). Both of these incidents came to light within the last 30 days.

And now we have another name to add: Daniel C. McCarthy. This guy just got suspended from Indiana Bar for 30 days (without automatic reinstatement) because he can’t even keep it together long enough to write an email…

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For deputy prosecutor Kirmille Welbon, it's all about the shoes.

What the hell is going on with female lawyers in Indiana? Last month, a lawyer there was accused of going on a rampage, in which she allegedly attacked a boyfriend she suspected of cheating and then assaulted a corrections officer. Today we’ve got another attorney — a deputy prosecutor, no less — accused of violence. She allegedly attacked the wife of a man she was sleeping with.

That’s right, the “other woman” apparently attacked the wife. You can’t attack the spouse if you are the other woman. Doesn’t anybody respect the rules? When did Indiana turn into Vietnam?

And things didn’t even get out of hand until the other woman asked the wife to return a pair of Air Jordans, which just makes Indiana look like it’s operating 20 years behind the times…

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This has not been a great day for lawyers in Indiana. Another Hoosier lawyer, this time at Barnes & Thornburg, just received a public reprimand for patronizing a prostitute (we’re only doing our part to aid in the shaming).

From the National Law Journal (via the ABA Journal):

The Indiana Supreme Court has publicly reprimanded a Barnes & Thornburg attorney for patronizing a prostitute in February.

Hiroaki Nishikawara, of counsel in the law firm’s Indianapolis office, received the reprimand after the court approved an agreement between him and the state’s attorney disciplinary commission. Nishikawara entered into a plea agreement for committing a class A misdemeanor. The agreement required him to perform six hours of community service and attend an impact panel proceeding. The court noted that he had completed the requirements and had no prior criminal history.

Nishikawara declined to comment about the reprimand.

OK, lawyers I get it. You work ridiculously long hours and it’s really hard to meet women at 3 a.m. when you’re ambling out of work. You’ve tried your sweet charm on your secretary and failed.

But the one thing working 89 hours a day has provided you with is money. So hey, at least you can use that.

Right?

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Do not mess with this woman.

In general people are not as outraged about domestic violence when the perpetrator is a woman. For whatever reason, people tend to think that male victims of domestic violence “had it coming” in some way. You can make a hit Broadway musical centered around women who kill their husbands — but I’m going to guess that the Wife Beater Waltz wouldn’t do as well as the Cell Block Tango.

So when a woman does decide to beat her boyfriend, it’s kind of nice when she also exhibits additional crazy and violent behavior. At least then, people are less likely to blame the victim.

But maybe Indiana lawyer Olubunmi Okanlami can argue that all of her alleged victims had it coming. Who knows what her boyfriend did or did not do, but Okanlami is an attorney. Maybe when she was arrested for battery she knew enough about the penal system to think that fighting her way out would be more effective than trying to put together a reasonable defense? Some lawyers use the strategy of putting two different legal arguments in their briefs, Okanlami allegedly tried to use two different undergarments to sharpen her attack [UPDATE on her law school after the jump]….

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