The Indiana Lawyer annually honors members of the local legal community for their professional commitments, social and civic involvement, and volunteer efforts with the Leadership in Law Distinguished Barrister and the Up and Coming Lawyer Awards. This year, BGD partner Karl Mulvaney has been recognized as a Distinguished Barrister for his demonstrated legal and client relations skills, as well as his service the legal and local community.
When it comes to preeminent appellate attorneys in Indiana, Mulvaney’s name is one of the first to come to mind according to the publication. He has argued more than 130 appellate cases and has been known to refuse to take a position or make an argument that he does not believe in.
In honor of this achievement, Mulvaney sat down for an interview with the publication to answer some questions regarding his practice, what he’s learned over the years and other topics. A few of his answers are below; the entire interview is available on The Indiana Lawyer website here.
What are some tips for achieving a work/life balance?
Work will sometimes overwhelm you, and you will need to work hard during such times. Push the ball forward as much and as efficiently as you can each day during those times. When you have a break in your schedule, try to take advantage of it. But don’t wait for a break in your schedule, go ahead and schedule time off, and if things pop up, work hard and take that scheduled time off.
How has the practice of law changed since you became a lawyer?
Books! We are using books less and less and less because of the advent of computerized information. That said, the availability of legal information and electronic filing have been big and positive changes.
What attracted you to your practice area?
Becoming an appellate lawyer was somewhat of an accident. I thought I would become a deputy prosecutor upon graduation, but when a law clerk job opened at the Indiana Supreme Court during law school, I jumped at the chance. After a year or so, when I started to apply for jobs outside the court, Chief Justice Richard M. Givan asked me to stay on as the assistant court administrator, and five or so years later as the administrator. In 1991, Bingham Summers Welsh & Spilman asked me to come over and head up a new Appellate Department with Nana Quay-Smith. It was the work at the Indiana Supreme Court which gave me the interest in appellate and legal ethics work.
What needs to be done to make the legal profession more diverse, especially in leadership roles?
Mentoring is a key. Programs such as Indiana’s CLEO (Conference for Legal Education Opportunity) provide some impetus, but law firms, bar associations and individual lawyers need to invest time with individuals who show interest or aptitude in becoming lawyers. As lawyers, we need to reach back and help others begin their journey. I was certainly the recipient of lawyers and judges being willing to offer encouragement and to take a chance on a young, green kid. I will not list the people who helped me along the way for fear of leaving someone out, but I am forever grateful for their wise counsel and encouragement.
What do you like the most and the least about being an attorney?
The thing I like most is being able to work with the great lawyers at Bingham Greenebaum Doll in our effort help individuals and organizations through litigation and helping them make decisions on how to proceed. The thing I most dislike is dealing with uncivil lawyers.