Bill Barrett heads the litigation group at the Williams Barrett & Wilkowski law firm in Greenwood. He says his background after graduating from Indiana University Law School (Bloomington) is invaluable in his current role.
Barrett was a clerk for both the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Tax Court. He followed that by becoming a prosecutor in Johnson County and then serving as magistrate for the Johnson circuit and superior courts.
“I’ve worn so many hats over the years that the system of advocacy that our legal system is based on is almost second nature to me,” he says. “I’m able to see things from another perspective, which is always handy. Young lawyers tend to be too committed to their positions. … When somebody says there are two sides toe very story, I say there are at least two sides.”
Barrett does appellate, campaign and election work, among other areas of focus. He also represents a variety of law enforcement agencies.
“I find that those (past) experiences have given me a breadth of perspective that have let me work in different areas, which is part of what makes us nimble and able to get along at a level of 10 lawyers – and not down to two or three, or have to jump up to 40 or 50.”
Barrett was joined by Chuck Baldwin of Ogletree Deakins and Heather Wilson of Frost Brown Todd for a roundtable discussion on the legal profession in our current BizVoice® magazine. You can read the full story at www.bizvoicemagazine.com.
From the moment I heard about Phyllis Gratz Poff’s career, I was intrigued. When I met her in person, I was awestruck.
BizVoice® magazine profiles Poff (at age 87, she’s Indiana’s longest-practicing female attorney) in our current issue, which features a special law firm section. I traveled to her downtown office in Auburn, which she’s occupied for 45-plus years.
During an impromptu lunch, we ran into attorney Eric Weber who affectionately proclaimed, “She’s a legend around here!” At least a handful of others acknowledged her with a hug, a wave or chat.
Young attorneys in the area starting their careers often seek guidance from Poff. “Just as I did (in her early days),” she observes.
In addition to knowledge and experience, what makes her such a vital part of the community is her spirit:
- Grit: In 1953, she graduated from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago (she was the only female in her class.)
- Civic service: Between 1960 and 1964, Poff served as the attorney for DeKalb County and Watlerloo, her hometown. In addition, she presided as Auburn city judge (1967 to 1979), among other roles.
- Resilience: She refuses to surrender to cancer and other health issues. Three weeks after having back surgery, for instance, she returned to work. My jaw dropped upon learning this! Poff didn’t bat an eye. Why? Devotion to clients is a way of life.
During our chat, she tells childhood stories, shares legal lessons and imparts words of wisdom: “You can never give up on the human race,” she reflects.
I was so inspired, I asked her to take a photo with me to commemorate my visit. It’s one I’ll cherish.
Read more about Poff in BizVoice.