As he did in 2009, the Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard makes a mockery of the "Annual Celebration of Diversity Awards" honoring, as he did last year, the law firm that all but runs the Mayor's Office and now runs the Council, Barnes & Thornburg.
According to the Mayor's press release, this year’s diversity award recipients also included Citizens Energy Group, Eli Lilly & Company, the YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, and Finch Constructors Inc. as well as a special lifetime achievement award for the late Melvin Simon.
I haven't examined these additional recipients, but last year's award winners were a who's who of Barnes & Thornburg clients.
The giving of a "diversity" award to Barnes & Thornburg should be particularly outrageous to the Indianapolis African-American community. B&T often represents big corporations defending them against discrimination lawsuits by African-American discrimination lawsuits. Nothing wrong with that - our duties as attorneys require us to not only represent clients, but to do so zealously. B&T's legal representation though goes far beyond that.
Anyone who has ever represented an African-American employee with B&T on the other side knows how aggressively they go after those black employees with insults and insinuations that go far beyond the scope of our professional responsibilities as an attorneys. Further, in the litigation, there is nary an unprofessional stunt the firm's lawyers will not pull to try to win their case against the minority plaintiffs.
While one might believe these lawyer tactics are just typical of a big law firm representing its wealthy corporate clients, this 22 year attorney can confirm that they are not. I have never seen the stunts from attorneys at the other big law firms (or small law firms for that matter) in the city such as Baker & Daniels, Bose McKinney or even Ice Miller, that I regularly see from Barnes & Thornburg. While those firms and others can be accused of B&T type overbilling of clients and an unfair domination of city contracts acquired by large political contributions, as far as legal work goes there is a level of professionalism in those firms you don't see from many B&T attorneys. Virtually every attorney I've talked to who has litigated cases against B&T report the same experience.
On the very same day last year that the Mayor handed out a diversity award to Barnes & Thornburg, I was in a deposition across town in which a white B&T attorney suggested that a black nurse was being unreasonable in being offended by a drawing depicting black nurses as monkeys. Unbelieveable. The African-American community, indeed everyone, should be outraged over this Mayor's continued politicization of the City's diversity awards.
Perhaps, since Mayor Bart Peterson initiated the diversity awards program, his successor is being ironic?
I had never heard this info about Barnes and Thornburg. Had you, Mayor Ballard?
Where's Jesse Jackson when you need him. Maybe Jesse and Al should make a trip to Indianapolis and stage a protest in front of the Barnes & Thornburg building. Has anyone called them yet?
With the exception of people like Paul Ogden and a few others, this is why average people do not like lawyers, and why they are the brunt of jokes all across America.
the man who wants to "create a Chinatown" in Indy has forgotten that diversity is more than just black and white.
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