ICLEF Speaker Spotlight – Jeff Hawkins

Jeff Hawkins, Hawkins Law PC, Sullivan, Indiana

The ICLEF Speaker Spotlight focuses a beam on a faculty member that contributes to the quality, convenience and relevance goals of the organization.  This month we are featuring a long-time, valued speaker and friend of ICLEF, Jeff Hawkins, of Sullivan, Indiana.

Jeff began practicing law in Jasonville, Indiana, with his mentor, John Rowe, in the early 1990s after graduating from IU Kelly School of Business and the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.  He and his wife, Jennifer, now share Hawkins Law PC in Sullivan, Indiana.   Most of their practice is limited to estate and trust planning and administration and elder law.

The lawyers of Indiana have benefited considerably from Jeff Hawkin’s generous involvement as an ICLEF faculty member for over 15 years. His speaking engagements are voluminous, but to mention just two of the recent ICLEF presentations, he was a faculty member in November, 2011, at the CLE program on Asset Protection Planning and will be contributing “5 Trust Funding Tips” at the December Hot Tips in Estate Practice CLE.  Jeff logged considerable miles in 2010 as he traveled around Indiana to teach Hoosier lawyers about Indiana’s Transfer on Death Property Act which he helped author. Among numerous educational presentations on the topic, he explained the Act in his elder law presentations for the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum’s Advanced Elder Law conference in French Lick and its annual Elder Law Institute in Indianapolis.

Educating attorneys just starting out in the practice is an area where Jeff eagerly shares his career development strategies and learning experiences. One example of this is an article entitled “Starting and Managing a Law Practice in a Nutshell,” which he wrote for ICLEF’s use in educating new lawyers.  In that article he explains how a  sense of the need for deliberate practice development led him at the early stages of his legal career to his involvement as an ICLEF speaker.  He recognizes the value of educational speaking as an important ingredient in distinguishing his law firm as a premium legal service provider.  In sharing his experiences with new lawyers, he says:  “My ICLEF exposure to several highly successful law practices in various practice fields provided me with professional marketing insights that helped me to plan my legal practice path.” Another key factor that Jeff shared concerning his involvement with ICLEF is that he welcomes the challenges that are presented to stay a step ahead in his specialty areas.  A piece of Jeff’s advice to brand new attorneys:  “Congratulations on your choice of attending the ICLEF Professionalism program.  You have made one of the best decisions of your new legal career.  Law practice is an art form that requires constant refinement and continuing education under the scrutiny of judges and other attorneys.  You may not have all of the skills and knowledge necessary to begin a particular kind of practice.  This is where a mentor, a treatise, and lots of continuing legal education pay off.  If you want to be the best, seek out the best and start taking notes.”

Another hot topic in the legal arena overall is technology’s impact on the practice.  Therefore, we asked Jeff about his personal experiences and where he feels the social media phenomenon is going for lawyers.  The story of the opening of the Hawkins law firm in 2001 involved huge technological challenges that he openly shares with any new lawyer who’s interested.  At this point in the firm’s history they are fully engaged in every technological advantage that comes along.  Their website, Hawkinslaw.com, has developed into an important part of the conversation with their clientele and the community.  Not only does the site present a full explanation of practice areas of the firm, it covers the latest firm news and key features about their academic presentations.  Hawkinslaw.com also offers frank and helpful legal information and personal advice. Jeff and Jennifer consider their advice online important to their goal of public service.  Their Facebook page also enhances that effort.

Hawkins shared that a guiding philosophy of his law firm recognizes the importance of technology in the productivity of the firm and in their marketing plan.  He values and takes advantage of the communication opportunities provided by the Internet and would recommend them whole-heartedly.

So, now one might ask: How does Jeff Hawkins maintain his hectic legal career, contribute to ICLEF and have a life?
Although his practice is obviously a central ingredient in his life, family and faith are at the top of Jeff Hawkins’ priority list.  A peek into his thought processes can be had by browsing a list of those he names as inspirational.  Among those on the list are Jesus, Forest Gump and Abraham Lincoln.
In providing an answer to the ‘how does he have a life?’ question, he says “I believe it’s important to reevaluate my practice and my practices on a regular basis.  Time spent in contributing to legal education through ICLEF gives back in many ways.  Those experiences have continued to survive the evaluation.”

ICLEF is fortunate to have Jeff Hawkins as a faculty member.  His participation raises the bar and challenges us all to maintain the core ICLEF values of quality, convenience and relevance.     Thanks for sharing your expertise, Jeff.

Jeff will be speaking next at:

120 Hot Tips in Estate Practice – 6 CLE
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
ICLEF Conference Facility, Indianapolis
Click Here for additional information or to register for the Live In-Person Seminar.

This seminar is also available as a Live Individual Webcast. View the seminar from the comfort of your home or office computer. Click Here for additional information or to register.

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