Amateur Life Coach Discusses Employee Morale

Amateur Life Coach Discusses Employee Morale

James J. Bell, ICLEF's Amateur Life Coach

Originally posted May 2014

The Amateur Life Coach (also known as attorney James J. Bell of Bingham Greenebaum Doll) is back to dispense his unique thoughts, advice and wisdom to his real and imagined viewers…

This week our question comes from Indianapolis attorney Adam Christensen regarding whether allowing casual attire improves office morale.

Now, you can also “like” the Amateur Life Coach at Facebook!  Visit his facebook account today and catch up on his day-to-day activities.

More from James Bell on professional liability and legal ethics issues can be found in his “3 Things to Know” column appearing regularly in the Indiana Lawyer. Visit

Questions for the Amateur Life Coach?  Email them to or @JamesJBell on Twitter.

Written and performed by James J. Bell. Produced by the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum.
This video is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice.


James focuses his practice in the areas of criminal defense; attorney discipline defense and health care law. As a Marion County Public Defender, he represented clients in numerous jury and bench trials. James also represents clients in juvenile delinquency, appeals and post-conviction proceedings. James is a frequent ICLEF speaker on ethics, trial practice and criminal procedure. James just completed his first semester as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law where he teaches a course on professional responsibility. To date, no student has yet stood on their desk and shouted “Oh captain, my captain!” Follow James on Twitter @jamesjbell

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN


Posted in Amateur Life Coach0 Comments

Family Law Case Review: Grandparents Visitation Order Reversed

Case: In re: The Grandparent Visitation of C.S.N.: Brooke Neuhoff v. Scott A. Ubelhor and Angela S. Ubelhor
by Mike Kohlhaas, Bingham Greenebaum Doll

[Full disclosure: I participated in the representation of the Appellant in this appeal.]

HELD: Trial court erred when it issued a visitation order in favor of Grandparents.

Mother became pregnant in high school. Weeks before her delivery, Father committed suicide. In 2010, paternity was established by way of an agreed entry between Mother and the paternal Grandparents. Child was born on June 17, 2010.

Mother eventually returned to high school, and graduated with a 3.9/4.0 GPA. She later enrolled at the University of Southern Indiana to study accounting, while working part time in the accounting department of a large local company.

Following Father’s death and Child’s birth, Mother maintained a close relationship with Grandparents. Mother included Grandparents at Child’s birth, baptism, birthday parties, holidays, and other family events. Mother also took Child to Grandparents’ home nearly every Sunday. While Mother would sometimes leave Child with Grandparents for several hours, Mother did not allow any overnights.

In February 2013, Grandparents filed a petition for grandparent visitation, in part because they were seeking overnights and in part because of a stated concern that Mother might reduce or eliminate their access to Child. Initially, Mother continued her Sunday visits to Grandparents’ house after the petition was filed.

Within weeks, Mother began to notice behavior issues with Child after he spent time with Grandparents (e.g., potty training accidents, crying, etc.). After one visit, Mother noticed unexplained bruises on Child’s back. Mother elected to discontinue Child’s visits with Grandparents.

Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court issued a grandparent visitation order. The order provided for a six-week phase-in that would reach a final visitation schedule of every other Sunday from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M.. No overnights were provided for in the order. Mother appealed.

The Court of Appeals reviewed Troxel and similar Indiana cases dealing with the constitutional aspect of grandparent visitation orders, as well as the resulting four “McCune factors” that must be considered by a trial court prior to ordering grandparent visitation. Applying the McCune factors to the record, the Court of Appeals concluded that Mother’s decision to restrict visitation was not unreasonable, and that the trial court’s finding to the contrary was unsupported. The Court of Appeals also concluded that the trial court gave no weight to the McCune factor that Mother had been providing for some visitation and, thus, the grandparent visitation order was not necessary for Grandparents to have any time with Child; there is an important difference between a parent who limits grandparents’ opportunities to visit with a child, and those who deny it entirely.

The trial court’s grandparent visitation order was reversed.

Chief Judge Vaidik dissented with a separate opinion. She believed that the circumstances surrounding Mother’s decision to stop the visits with Grandparents were such that it was within the trial court’s discretion to conclude that Mother had acted unreasonably because the evidence did not establish a clear nexus between Child’s behavioral issues and bruises with any wrongdoing by the Grandparents.

To view the text of this opinion in its entirety, click here: In re: The Grandparent Visitation of C.S.N.: Brooke Neuhoff v. Scott A. Ubelhor and Angela S. Ubelhor


The Indiana Family Law Update is a free service provided by the Matrimonial Law Group of Bingham Greenebaum Doll, LLP. While significant efforts are made to ensure an accurate summary and reproduction of each opinion, readers are advised to verify all content and analysis with a traditional case law reporter before relying on the content and analysis offered here.
ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Family Law Case Review, News0 Comments

Thoughts on Finding Defense Experts: A Bad Expert Can Guarantee Failure….and so on

” … Do as adversaries do in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.” Shakespeare; The Taming of the Shrew, act 1, scene 2.

It’s my pleasure to bring Jon Stowell’s counsel on selecting defense experts to Law Tips readers. Mr. Stowell is with the Law Offices of the Cincinnati Insurance Company in Indianapolis. He participates as a faculty member in our CLE entitled “Trying the Traumatic Brain Injury Case,” Jon’s advice covers a wide gamut of issues defense lawyers need to contemplate. Here are samplings of that instruction ranging from introductory remarks on the traumatic brain injury case to his general thoughts on finding experts:

“Few areas in civil litigation are more challenging and more intellectually interesting for a lawyer than a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) case. TBI cases demand a team of qualified experts to opine on discrete and specific areas of specialty. To understand the potential exposure facing a client, a defense lawyer needs to begin thinking about damages experts as soon as a TBI case is assigned.

Finding the right expert can be a time consuming process, but it is time well spent. Finding a new expert may require the investment of five to ten hours of time. After an expert has been retained, an early in-person meeting at the expert’s location should be arranged. Although these trips can be cumbersome for the attorney’s schedule, they will in certain cases save a great deal of trouble and aggravation on the back end of a case. This initial meeting is a good chance for the defense lawyer to “Daubert” their own expert.”

Jon Stowell’s general thoughts on finding defense experts:

There are many acceptable ways to find qualified defense experts. Practitioners will be familiar with free locator services such as SEAK and JurisPro. These services have many qualified experts who generally have a good level of familiarity with the litigation process. A rich source for potential experts is to locate a practitioner or academic who has recently published in a given area but has not previously served as an expert witness. These experts can often be found using Google Scholar searches.

The benefit of using this type of expert is the person is often on the cutting edge of their topic and very well qualified to review and opine on a specific topic. The downside of using this type of expert is they may have never been involved in litigation before and may not fully appreciate the rigors of the process. Additional time and preparation must be given to this type of expert if chosen for a case.

A nonexclusive list of potential sources of experts includes:

1. Published Authors – Google and Google Scholar searches

2. Academics

3. Colleague Referral

4. Westlaw Case Queries

5. JurisPro


7. Thompson Reuters

8. Linkedln

In most cases, the practitioner will want to start with the foundational experts, neuropsychologist and neurologist, and build up from there. The best source for determining what areas of the defense case need to be shored up is from the experts already retained. A good expert will not want to go beyond their area of expertise or their comfort zone. A defense attorney does a disservice to his case and the expert to ask for a stretch by the expert beyond those bounds.

A good expert does not guarantee success in a case. A bad expert can guarantee failure. The take away point should be to invest the time and effort necessary to find the right expert.

I appreciate Jon Stowell’s contribution to Law Tips. And, as always, thank you to Law Tips readers for taking the time to visit. If you would like to take advantage of the excellent CLE program that includes the presentation by Jon Stowell and other expert faculty members, look at the On Demand or Video Replay Seminars of “Trying the Traumatic Brain Injury Case,” and “Recent Developments in DUI Defense.” as well as the ever-popular 36th Annual Indiana Law Update scheduled live in September.


About our Law Tips faculty participants:
Jon Kenneth Stowell is Associate Counsel-Managing Attorney at the Law Offices of The Cincinnati Insurance Company in Indianapolis. His areas of practice are: Traumatic Brain Injury; Wrongful Death; Nursing Home Negligence; Dental Malpractice; Product Liability; Agent Errors and Omissions; Construction Injury; Construction Defect; and Premises Liability.

About our Law Tips blogger:
Nancy Hurley has long-standing connections with Indiana lawyers. She was formerly a member of the ISBA and IBF staffs for over 30 years. Nancy’s latest lifestyle venture is with ICLEF. We are utilizing her exceptional writing and interviewing skills while exploring how her Indiana-lawyer background fits with ICLEF’s needs. When she isn’t ferreting out new topics for Law Tips, her work can be found in our Speaker Spotlight blogs, postings on the ICLEF Facebook and Twitter pages, and other places her legal experience lends itself.

Thank you for reading Law Tips. You may subscribe to this weekly blog through the RSS link at the top of this page.  Also, you are encouraged to comment below or email Nancy. She welcomes your input as she continues to sift through the treasure trove of knowledge of our CLE faculty to share with you.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Law Tips, Sale/Featured Items0 Comments

36th Annual Judge Robert H. Staton Indiana Law Update, Sept. 23-24, 2014: An ICLEF 12 CLE Seminar

ICLEF Expands Reach of Scholarship with Indiana Law Update

35th Annual Judge Robert H. Staton Indiana Law Update 2013, Sept. 26 & 27, 2013

Record Setting Attendance at the 2013 Indiana Law UpdateTM Seminar


36th Annual Judge Robert H. Staton Indiana Law Update, Sept. 23-24, 2014: An ICLEF 12 CLE Seminar

July is here and that means it is time to register for this year’s Indiana Law UpdateTM Seminar. This is the ORIGINAL program that you have been attending and is the Only one that has existed since 1979. It continues to offer exactly what you are looking for – the finest scholarly review of the latest trends, developments and changes in Indiana Law – and how those changes effect you and your practice. Do not be confused by another program. Indiana Law UpdateTM is the Original – the one you know and have placed your trust in for 35 years!

ICLEF is proud of our longstanding support of scholarship funding for law students. Since the inception of the Robert H. Staton Indiana Law UpdateTM program in 1979, ICLEF has provided significant financial support to the Robert H. McKinney Alumni Association as well as local bars and foundations.

ICLEF has recently extended the reach of this tradition by providing funds to each of the four accredited Indiana Law Schools. ICLEF is without equal in our financial support for the continuing legal education of future Indiana Lawyers. Your commitment to the Indiana Law UpdateTM program makes this possible.

” Thank you for your support of the Notre Dame Law School and Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship Account.”
- Nell Jessup Newton, The Joseph A. Matson Dean & Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame

” Thank you for your gifts to the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law and the IU Maurer School of Law Scholarship Fund on behalf of the Judge  Robert H. Staton Indiana Law UpdateTM Program. Through your generous support, deserving young men and women have access to a world-class education”
- Daniel C. Smith, President & CEO, Indiana University Foundation

“Thank you for your generous support of our Law Students. Your donations to the School of Law Annual Fund ensures that talented young scholars who wish to earn a Valpo degree will have the means to do so.”
- Mark A. Heckler, Ph. D., President, Valparaiso University

“Your generosity is greatly appreciated. Private philanthropic contributions from our friends is essential, and your gift helps to bridge the gap between the cost of tuition and the true cost of educating every McKinney Law Student.”
- Andrew R. Klein, Dean & Paul E. Beam Professor of Law, Robert H. McKinney School of Law, Indiana University, Indianapolis

“Thank you for the generous contribution that we recieved through the Judge Robert H. Staton Indiana Law UpdateTM program. Such support makes a real difference and is deeply appreciated. We are grateful for this contribution, and for the ongoing relationship with ICLEF.”
- Hannah L. Buxbaum, Interim Dean, IU Maurer School of Law, Bloomington

36th Annual Judge Robert H. Staton Indiana Law UpdateTM
12 CLE / 1E
– Tuesday & Wednesday, September 23 & 24, 2014  •  8:50 A.M. – 4:45 P.M (Both Days)

For your convenience this years program will be available simultaneously in multiple locations across the state:

- Indiana Convention Center, 500 Ballroom
100 S. Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225

- Grand Wayne Center, Fort Wayne
120 W. Jefferson Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46802

- Blue Chip Resort & Casino, Michigan City
   777 Blue Chip Drive, Michigan City, IN 46360
   Program begins at 7:55 A.M. Central Time

- DeFur Voran Law Office, Muncie
   400 S. Walnut St., Suite 200, Muncie, IN 47305

- Taft Stettinius & Hollister Law Office, Indianapolis
   130 E. Ohio St., Suite 3500, Indianpolis, IN 46204

- From your home or office computer or tablet


ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

Posted in Highlighted Seminars0 Comments