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Kayla O'Brien
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“You Will Not Win A Negotiation ... But You Will Feel Like You Did”

Shelbyville McNeely Honored

Shelbyville attorney Lee McNeely was honored in a ceremony that contained laughter and a few tears. There was admiration for Lee and for the legal profession’s honorable traits he exemplifies. His colleagues shared stories about his treatment of not just them, but his associates, staff, family and adversaries that evening with 140 guests. 

From left: Hon. John Tinder, Lee McNeely, Hon. Mark Massa

The Hon. John Tinder, retired from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, led the tributes. He described McNeely as having the “nerves of a gambler,” but knowing “what risks were worth taking and what’s not.” Maybe that’s a trait of most trial lawyers but building a practice in Shelbyville had to add risk. Judge Tinder reminded everyone Lee knows that “helping clients do what they can’t do for themselves” is the most important task a lawyer can handle.   

That spirit extended to those new to the profession as well. Tinder described McNeely as “extending a strong hand to help a young lawyer.” He also reminded the audience that Lee knew the practice of law as a “darn fun way to make a living.” 

The admiration from the judge for McNeely was palpable. 


Rock Solid Integrity 

John Trimble explained to those gathered that to Lee, “law is a calling; it’s who you are and what you do.” He described McNeely’s integrity as “rock solid.” He further relayed that McNeely’s tenacity meant, “You will not win a negotiation with Lee, but you will feel like you did.” 

Finally, Michael Stephenson described his “long time law partner, mentor and friend.” McNeely, he said, had provided him “a lifetime of opportunity.”

  Lee and Rose McNeely

He shared that McNeely understood the concept of flextime before it was customary, and that 87 people and their families were supported “by this man.” He described McNeely’s philanthropy in his support of two churches – his and his wife’s – and the $100,000 donation he and his wife Rose made to the Boys and Girls Club.  

A video tribute ended the formal presentation with both humor and poignancy. Kent Frandsen said McNeely had a “deep voice” and “likes to pontificate.” Stephen Oliver touched on the reason for the nomination and selection of McNeely for the Legendary Lawyer Award as he “embodies the civility all lawyers try to obtain.” 

Many thanks to Jan Carroll who emceed the ceremony.

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