Lance M. Lindeen is a busy guy. He's the chief justice of the 2010-11 Sherman Minton Moot Court Executive Board. He's pursuing a joint degree at IU's renowned School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Lindeen is the current champion of the Law School Trial Tournament. He serves as president of the Student Trial Advocacy Board and team captain, head coach, and lead member of the Law School's National Trial Competition Team. In fall 2010, Lindeen led the Team to the Semifinals in the Section of Labor and Employment Law: Trial Advocacy Competition. And if that weren't enough, he's working as an advocate in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit by helping develop oral argument. Lindeen took time from his busy schedule to talk about how he got to Indiana Law and the myriad opportunities that exist at the Law School.
The personal touch: In a word, the recruiting process with Indiana Law was "personal." From the initial steps of the application process to my acceptance of Indiana's offer, I spoke to the people at Indiana Law. I applied to nearly 40 law schools and was accepted by most. Indiana Law was one of the few schools whose people patiently listened and answered my many questions. I made my decision to attend the Maurer School of Law based on the credentials of the School and the distinct feeling that the people at the Law School wanted me to attend.
On pursuing a joint degree at SPEA: Studying policy helped me to appreciate the law. Since much of the law comes about as a result of policy -- good or bad -- understanding how policy is made helps me anticipate how lawyers and judges will interpret and argue the merits that policy (or the lack thereof) as law. On a personal level, my contact with a noted economics professor at SPEA (Clinton V. Oster) helped me develop a paper topic that I refined as an interdisciplinary Comment (law and policy). I am happy to report that my Comment is the only Comment the Indiana Law Journal will publish this year. I owe my having been published to the use of these two distinct analytical approaches in drafting my manuscript.
Life before law school: Nothing beats preparation. Arriving at law school with significant work experience gave me the advantage of immediately establishing a work routine and managing my time. I prepared for every class, every day. That is the day-to-day benefit of having worked and managed my time over a number of years. However, the biggest advantage of having had prior work experience lies in perspective.
No one owes me a living. I've spent considerable time in law school credentialing myself and feverishly searching for internships and, soon enough, a permanent position. Understanding that no one will just hand me a job kept the fire lit under me to constantly move forward professionally and to take advantage of every opportunity to make myself a viable job candidate. And, I have succeeded: I have been published; served on the Indiana Law Journal Executive Board; made it to the finals in the internal trial competition and moot court; and received oral advocacy honors in both. Now, I serve as chief justice of the Sherman Minton Moot Court Board and work with Dean Lauren Robel on a brief with an opportunity to argue in federal court before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
My having worked prior to law school allowed me to appreciate every opportunity because law school -- as with much of life -- goes by all too quickly. Work experience also taught me the value of collaboration. Working with Professor Alex Tanford in Evidence class and throughout various trial competitions resulted in a true, sustained collaboration. I am a far better advocate for having worked with him. I am confident that my collaboration with Professor Tanford and other faculty members will not end upon my graduation.
Arguing in front of a real judge in Moot Court finals was... Exhilarating. I love advocacy. I learn with every single case I try or oral argument I give. The opportunity to argue before real judges -- while important and exciting -- was also one advocacy experience in a long line of trials and appellate oral arguments. I have learned from every opportunity to advocate.
Study secrets: Balance your time. In terms of time, allocate yourself efficiently and develop a sense of perspective. Spend your time on those readings and assignments that that matter. Not everything is equally important. Time spent on things that don't matter much (or complaining about them) is opportunity wasted.