MCBA Members and Friends:

Greetings from your 2015 MCBA President! This year marks the 90th one in which the Marion County Bar Association (“MCBA”) has existed in some form or fashion, and I am honored that my term falls at such an historic time. I am also blessed to be following the strong leadership of MCBA Life Member Cassandra Bentley McNair and TaKeena Thompson (2014 and 2013 MCBA Presidents, respectively).

The vision of MCBA is guided by the fundamental principles of FAIRNESS, JUSTICE, and EQUALITY for all. MCBA’s mission is to support the professionalism and collegiality of attorneys, judges, and law students in the Central Indiana area. We accomplish these goals by providing a forum for meaningful political involvement, positive economic development, broad opportunities for continuing legal education, and active participation in social justice initiatives that impact people of color within our local community. MCBA has a special interest in supporting the ongoing development of minorities within our legal community.

Last year was a great success for MCBA, and our members were busy in service to our community. There were many dynamic opportunities for involvement! For example:

  • We hosted several Coffee Chats with local judges in informal settings over breakfast and coffee. We will continue these intimate gatherings in the upcoming year, and I am pleased to announce that Chief Justice Loretta Rush of the Indiana Supreme Court will kick off our 2015 Coffee Chat series this coming March.
  • Our 2014 CLE Week was a great success! Five continuing legal education courses were offered to all members of the Indiana bar (free to MCBA members). A broad range of topics included appealing a case; avoiding the disciplinary commission; bankruptcy; family law; and, internal corporate investigations. Well-known and highly respected judges and attorneys with significant experience in the topics of their presentations graciously served as presenters. Your MCBA leadership is working to develop increasingly relevant and valuable CLE sessions for 2015.
  • MCBA members have traditionally been generous in scheduling time to offer basic legal advice on a Pro Bono Service basis following activities within local religious communities, and these events will continue this year.
  • Also in 2014, our members held Voter Registration Drives and engaged in Voter Protection efforts on Election Day. In 2015 will expand our efforts to engage the community in this vital process and civil right in support of the 2016 election.

In 2015, MCBA will increase its advocacy efforts on issues in keeping with those of the National Bar Association (“NBA”), of which MCBA is an affiliate member. NBA is America’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly Black attorneys and judges. Our Association is a member of NBA Region VII, which is comprised of local NBA affiliates in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. MCBA is proud that Region VII was recognized as the NBA 2014 Region of the Year for its members’ active involvement in their local Associations.

NBA areas of advocacy include the federal judiciary; immigration reform; criminal justice; employment; housing; and, education. In support of NBA initiatives, our MCBA members:

  • have been actively involved in providing forums to increase the awareness of local youth related to their constitutional rights and personal responsibilities during interactions with law enforcement;
  • is in coalition with other organizations regarding the introduction of Bias/Hate Crimes legislation in the Indiana State House; and
  • are also working to ensure that the judicial selection process provides fair consideration and selection of diverse candidates for the bench.

As you can see, 2015 is shaping up to be a busy year! I am especially excited that the celebration of our 90th anniversary will culminate with our signature event, the biannual Kuykendall-Conn Dinner, later this year. The only way that we can effectively meet these and other challenges in the coming service year is through the generous contribution of your time and finances. I said it at the Membership Drive last September, and it will be a familiar refrain from me this year: Decisions and progress are made by the people who show up. So, let’s show up! We will work hard, have fun, and make our community a better place for us all.

Yours for a successful 90th year,
Terrance T. Tharpe, 2015 President
Marion County Bar Association