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Theresa Browning
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Honor for Carmel Attorney’s Public, Professional Service

John Proffitt to Receive 2017 Legendary Lawyer Award from Bar Foundation in September

INDIANAPOLIS – John Proffitt doesn’t see himself as a legend.

His colleagues do. Other attorneys do, including those not immediately associated with the Carmel, Indiana, attorney. Five of them, in fact, selected him for the Indiana Bar Foundation’s Legendary Lawyer Award this year.

“All an individual lawyer does is contribute,” he said expressing the limits on his involvement in local civic development projects.

Lawyers, he said, “bring a certain expertise that entities need but cannot afford,” he continued. “We all benefit from what’s accomplished,” he said citing the City Center and Hamilton County projects.

“Contribute” to a bounty of projects is what Proffitt has done. The list of boards, civic and volunteer service organizations he has let is lengthy (See attached list at end of news release.).

Always proud to be a Lawyer
He was president of the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) during its 100th anniversary (1996). “It was the most fun,” he smiled.

“(Involvement) gave me more friends than anything else I’ve participated in,” he said. “Where else are you going to find 15,000 people with something in common to talk about? There’s no substitute for the people you meet and “grow up with.”

Proffitt said he “always wanted to be a lawyer and that he was always proud to be a lawyer.”

When he started practicing law in 1962, “no lawyers charged by the hour even in large cities.” He said lawyers and clients were friends who sat and chatted about families and experiences. He wondered aloud how many lawyers today would be invited to a wedding of a client’s daughter or son.

Proffitt was the managing partner of his firm for more than 30 years of his 55-year career. Every time he hired a new lawyer, he did his best to ensure the individual understood that “if you cared about the client and the work product, you would have no other professional worries.”

“Do a good job, be honest, and the money and clients will follow,” he said when asked about advice for today’s attorneys. “Take your time and do it right,” he continued.

Mentoring was always an important part of his practice to him. He was mentored, in a way, by members of his childhood church in Lebanon, Indiana. Various members helped him with college, scholarships and other support for his enrollment at Wabash College for his undergraduate degree and the University of Chicago School of Law.

“Have an interest in that person and how he progresses, and good things are bound to follow,” he said.

Indeed, they have.

Award Presentation, Ceremony & Reception
The award will be presented at a reception and ceremony honoring John Proffitt, Life Fellow, as the 2017 Legendary Lawyer Award winner Thursday, September 21, 5:00 p.m. at the Ritz Charles banquet facility, 12156 N. Meridian St., Carmel. RSVP’s requested by September 8: 317-608-6502. It is free to attend but reservations are requested for planning purposes.

John Proffitt's Community and Civic Involvements

  • Riverview Hospital Building Committee, Board of Directors, 1982-1992.
  • Carmel-Clay Symphony Orchestra, Board of Directors, 2002-2003.
  • Carmel-Clay Public Library, Board of Trustees, 2001-2005 and President, 2002-2004.
  • Harbour Trees Golf Club, Board of Directors, 1997-2000, and President 2000.
  • Hamilton County Progress Committee, Director and Charter Member.
  • Carmel Clay Chamber of Commerce, Past President.
  • St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, Administrative Board, 1989-1993.
  • Carmel Clay Schools Building Trades Council, Past Director and Charter Member.
  • City of Carmel Public Parking Commission, Past Director and Charter member.
  • Carmel Civic Square Building Corporation, Past President.
  • Sherlock Homes Society of London, England.
  • Meadows Country Club, Sarasota Florida, Board of Governors, 2009-2013.
  • First Merchants National Bank of Hamilton County, Chairman, member of the Board of Directors 2000-2005.
  • Member of Masonic Lodge, the Scottish Rite, Blue Key and the Sphinx Club.
  • U.S. Army Veteran (1954-1956), and a member of the Phi Alpha Delta, Phi Gamma Delta Fraternities (President, 1953).
  • Associate Editor of the University of Chicago Law Journal.
  • Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
  • Named a Distinguished Hoosier by Governor Daniel, 2007.
  • Carmel Clay Public Library Board of Trustees, 2001-2003, past President, 2003-2004.
  • Carmel Rotary Outstanding Service Award, 1999.

Award Description
The Legendary Lawyer Award spotlights attorneys whose career commitments in legal ethics, community involvement, public service, and lawyer professionalism demonstrate the high calling and higher achievement of lawyers in modern society. This award is annually presented to a member of the Fellows of the Indiana bar Foundation. Nominations are sought for individuals that have demonstrated their adherence to the highest principles and traditions of the legal and practical skills in the practice of law through a legal career of 50 years or more. Nominations are due by December 31st annually. Find criteria and past recipients here.

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