An Interview with James F. T. Sargent, III, ICLEF Board of Directors Member

 

Featured Board of Directors Member:

James F. T. Sargent, III, Sargent & Meier, Greenwood, Indiana

ICLEF’s Board of Directors bring vital energy and steady guidance that has insured the organization’s quality performance for nearly 50 years.  Today in our online Board Feature we say thanks for your service to James F. T. Sargent, of Greenwood, Indiana.

Jim Sargent’s legal career began in 1961, after graduating from Hanover College and receiving his JD from Indiana University, Indianapolis.  Jim’s father, James F. T. Sargent, II, gave him the opportunity to try out the corporate law arena at his firm in Indianapolis; “but it just didn’t fit for me.”  Then, after a year at the Marion County Prosecutor’s office, Jim started his own law firm in Johnson County, Greenwood, Indiana.  There began his journey as a general practitioner with a concentration in family law.

When asked to give a few thoughts on changes in the family law area since he had his initial clients,  he described it as a complete overhaul. In his inimitable style, he said: “It was trial by ambush then.”  The guidelines and tools  that are in place now did not exist.  He remembers that there was no discovery, no mediation, no pre-trial conferences, no formula for child support, nor any remedy for a decision by a judge.  “Now, the judge has guidelines to follow and if he deviates from the guidelines, he has to explain why.”  An additional turn-around that Jim witnessed in his home county was the local counsel business.  “The lawyers in Marion County would bring their cases to Johnson County to a friendly judge. Many Johnson County lawyers made a living from local counsel cases alone.  Since the establishment of the guidelines, that is no longer the case.”

One of the aspects of practicing law that Jim especially values is his friendships with fellow attorneys. He reflects back many years to when he and Mark McNeely, a neighboring Shelby County attorney who serves currently as ICLEF’s president, agreed to develop together an ICLEF program on hot topics in divorce law.  This partnership led to the two men cooperating in activities that last to this day.  In fact, Jim recalls that he and Mark attended an ICLEF Board meeting together that sparked an interest in them both to serve in ICLEF leadership roles.  Mark is now the president of ICLEF and Jim is serving as the President’s Counsel, both of them having served in previous Board positions.

Jim Sargent doesn’t advertise on billboards, but he does recognize the value of networking, a tried-and-true marketing technique built into any successful lawyer’s psyche.  He knows that serving his profession and community will bring positive results in a myriad of ways.  And he will always be ready to ‘friend’ someone in his own style.

He could fill volumes with his memories of practicing law and the expertise he has acquired.  Another note Jim made during our recent chat about his career was that he enjoys mentoring opportunities with new lawyers, mentioning how proud he is of one of his interns that has moved on to be a successful lawyer in another firm.  For over twenty of his 50 years in Greenwood, he and his wife, Linda Meier, have practiced together as Sargent & Meier.  Their partnership is currently also benefiting ICLEF as they serve together on the Board of Directors.

Serving his community and his profession came naturally to Jim.  Early in his legal career, he became president of his local bar association and began other community relationships.  He participates in committees and sections related to his field of law in the state and nationally. Numerous ICLEF speaking engagements in his repertoire include family law, litigation and ethics.  At this time Mr. Sargent’s ICLEF faculty sessions are advanced CLE that involve live interactive programs.  You will need to catch up to him at one of our Masters Level events.

Thanks, Jim, for choosing to contribute to your profession through ICLEF.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

One Response to “An Interview with James F. T. Sargent, III, ICLEF Board of Directors Member”

  1. I have always valued Jim’s contributions to ICLEF as well as what he has contributed to the entire Bar. You may find lawyers as good as Jim, but you will find no one better than he.


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