Speaker Spotlight: Patrick A. Shoulders

Speaker Spotlight: Patrick A. Shoulders

Patrick A. Shoulders, of Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, Evansville, Indiana. Mr. Shoulders has contributed significantly to building a quality continuing legal education program for Indiana. Pat has been the Chair for the past ten years of ICLEF's Trial Advocacy Skills College.Welcome to the ICLEF’s Speaker Spotlight. We are pleased to have this opportunity to salute one of our outstanding faculty members, Patrick A. Shoulders of Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, Evansville, Indiana. Mr. Shoulders has contributed significantly to building a quality continuing legal education program for Indiana. In this Spotlight he shares his experiences in the legal education arena, as well as his personal reminiscences of 34 years of practicing law and community involvement.

Although it may seem like ions since he was interviewed for his eighth grade yearbook at Harper Elementary in Evansville, Indiana, Pat Shoulders recalls that he knew then that he wanted to be a lawyer; that his understanding of a legal career meant being involved in the issues of the day and making a difference.

The Importance of Public Education
Pat expressed his strong belief that public education overall is a very important building block for our society, that it provides “critical opportunities for generations of Hoosiers.” Looking back over the years, He credits his opportunities in life to the education he was afforded from kindergarten through law school. Giving back to Indiana University has been a labor of love for Pat throughout the years since he wandered the halls. He has been an IU Trustee since 2002, is currently Director of the IU Foundation and the IU Varsity Club and is a member of the Board of Governors of the IU Center on Philanthropy. We are sharing below a video link so that you can hear Pat speak briefly on this subject: 

The Importance of CLE
Pat Shoulders also donates significantly of his time and talents through continuing legal education. In our conversation he reflected on his early legal career and how he relied on CLE to gain critical developmental knowledge before CLE was mandatory. “You knew that If you cared to be the best lawyer you could be, you needed continuing legal education. I relied on CLE to make me a better lawyer before mandatory CLE.” In this video segment, Pat goes back to his Evansville CLE beginnings, recognizing the mentors in his local community that helped to guide him.

ICLEF’s Trail Advocacy Skills College
As he grew to be a respected trial lawyer over these 34 years his expertise became very valuable. Fortunately, one avenue that Pat chooses to share that expertise is the ICLEF Trial Advocacy Skills College which he has chaired for over ten years. He has provided the benefit of his experience, his “mistakes” and his tremendous insight so that other lawyers can develop their particular skills, pushing for a higher level of performance from the legal profession in the state. He and his fellow trainers share openly the pitfalls and secrets they have learned.

Pat’s dedication to TASC is a key component of its successful decade. He enthusiastically describes the individual progress each enrollee experiences as the hands-on training digs into their potential. When we came to this subject in our interview, his face lit up immediately and he began explaining how the program plays out: “Talk about fun! They all want to be trained gunslingers… There are individual skill sets that each person learns to develop. I enjoy seeing their progress as the week of training takes place.” No one can argue that there are lasting benefits for the legal system in Indiana as a result of TASC.  Shoulders candidly describes his experiences with the Trial Advocacy Skills College in the following video:

ICLEF’s ethics seminar “Pardon the Interruption”
Taking some time to discuss CLE from a different angle, we looked at his experiences with the ICLEF Masters Series. These advanced level seminars are especially designed to meet the needs of more experienced lawyers. Pat participates in the “Pardon the Interruption” seminar wherein Indiana lawyers discuss ethical issues facing them daily. He believes that these types of advanced programs are critical “in order to remain current and keep our skills sharp, to compete and to serve our clients. If you do not keep up, the profession will move on, leaving you behind.” ICLEF is fortunate to have the sage advice of Mr. Shoulders in this arena as well.

The Future of Advocacy
Speaking of experience in the legal profession, we were interested in the changes that Pat has witnessed in his legal career and his insights for the future.  For instance, he sees the traditional version of the lawyer as a learned professional dressed in a jacket with elbow patches and holding a pipe giving way to the new type of lawyer seated at his/her computer with less personal contact and more specialized services. “What I have seen is the law has become more of a service business. And that is not necessarily bad.” 

Pat relates to witnessing the evolution from law students who were immersed in the smell of the aged law library stacks to those who wonder through the library online; from secretaries using carbon paper and memory typewriters to lawyers who create their own documents on their laptops. He is excited to see what will develop in the law office, the courtroom and in continuing legal education arenas as “our vast and mobile society makes more demands.”

We hope, and believe, that the ideas and viewpoints shared by Pat Shoulders in our Speaker Spotlight will provide food-for-thought for many of you. That is definitely what he would intend. With those thoughts in mind, we’re including this piece of his mind:

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN 

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