INDIANAPOLIS — “Servant leader” may best describe the 2016 Legendary Lawyer selected by the Fellows of the Indiana Bar Foundation.
John D. Ulmer, Goshen, has served lawyers, the judiciary, citizens and schools as well as his clients. The Fellows of the Foundation have selected him for the 2016 Legendary Lawyer Award.
A former state legislator, Ulmer spoke against an Indiana House bill that would have redefined how the judges for the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court are selected.
The bill would have changed the current practice of application to and review by members of the Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission/Commission on Judicial Qualifications with final selection by the governor to a process that would have required the election of judges, a process many find places judges in the untenable position of campaigning for public office and risking their impartiality.
“He is the reason Indiana’s appellate courts remain a well-respected judiciary and a retention election state,” said the Hon. Margret Robb in her letter of support. After Ulmer stated his opposition, other legislators followed. Robb used “servant leader” in her letter supporting his nomination for this award.
He is a “strong believer in the constitutional provisions of three co-equal branches of government” she continued, that includes a “fair, independent, impartial and politically neutral” judiciary for “true justice.”
In addition, he was a “deciding vote” on a bill to convert Indiana to daylight savings time, according to Robert Konopa, South Bend, who defined Ulmer as having a “career laced with service to others” and a “confident and sagacious advisor” to members of the judiciary.
Ulmer has been an active member of the Indiana State Bar Association, the American College of Trial Lawyers and a number of state and national legal groups. He represented most of Elkhart County in House District 49 in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1998-2008. His biography includes leadership for Goshen City Schools and numerous nonprofits. Ulmer is Of Counsel with Yoder, Ainlay, Ulmer and Buckingham LLP operating in the Michiana area since 1957.
The Legendary Lawyer Award is given annually to a Fellow of the Indiana Bar Foundation who has practiced law for 50 or more years and has a distinguished legal career complemented by active community service.
The Indiana Bar Foundation promotes appreciation for the rule of law and access to civil legal aid for those who cannot afford a private attorney. Serving Indiana since 1950, attorneys and judges support the Foundation with private donations that allow it to offer programs for the public such as We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution and the Indiana High School Mock Trial Program. The Foundation recently became responsible for the Coalition for Court Access. Find more information on the Foundation at www.inbf.org.