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  • Brady

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 1:00 am

City lawyer picked for federal post

Nominated for US District Court

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

President Donald Trump has nominated Fort Wayne attorney Holly A. Brady to become a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.

Brady, 48, is a partner with the law firm Haller & Colvin, where she has practiced civil, employment and labor law. Her nomination requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

If confirmed, she would become a judge in the federal court's Fort Wayne Division, which hears cases from a dozen counties in northeast Indiana. Brady would replace Chief Judge Theresa Springmann, who would transfer to the Hammond Division to take over for Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen, who has been on senior status since September.

The White House announced Tuesday morning Trump's intention to nominate Brady and said later that her nomination had been sent to the Senate. She referred all questions to the Department of Justice.

Two local lawyers – one a Democrat who works with her, the other a Republican – praised Brady's nomination.

“Boy, what a great judge she will make,” Mark Gia- Quinta, a Democrat and an attorney with Haller & Colvin, said in a telephone interview.

“She brings all the attributes a lawyer wants when he or she walks into a courtroom: You're going to get a fair hearing from a very smart lawyer, a very smart judge,” he said. “And she will demand a lot. ... I've seen her in a lot of different situations, and I've never met a more prepared attorney in my professional life.”

Attorney Steve Shine of the law firm Shine & Hardin described Brady as “a listener, someone who certainly weighs all sides of the argument. ... She is a very fair, equitable individual.” 

Shine, the chairman of the Allen County Republican Party, said in a phone interview that Brady “is extremely proficient in federal practice, and she will make a wonderful addition to the federal judiciary,” 

Shine said he does not know what Brady's political leanings are.

“That, to me, is a reassurance to the legal community and to litigants of the unbiased nature of the nomination,” Shine said.

GiaQuinta said Brady is a Republican and a conservative but has devoted her time to her family, job and community work, not partisan politics.

The Journal Gazette reported in June that there was speculation Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis might be a candidate for the federal judgeship. Shine said Tuesday he knew of “numerous” applicants for the position, “all of whom were extremely well-qualified.”

The office of Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said Young and his staff had “vetted and interviewed several candidates” for federal judicial, attorney and marshal vacancies in Indiana. 

“I know she made a very positive impression on everyone she met, both at the White House and in the offices of the senators from Indiana. Holly makes that kind of impression on everybody she meets,” GiaQuinta said.

Brady joined Haller & Colvin in 2007. She formerly was a partner at Theisen, Bowers & Brady and an associate at Barnes & Thornburg and Gallucci, Hopkins & Theisen. A graduate of Indiana University and the Valparaiso University School of Law, Brady has practiced law since 1994.

She has been a member of the board of directors of Northern District of Indiana Federal Community Defenders, an officer and board member for the Allen County Bar Association, vice president of the Fort Wayne Sexual Assault Treatment Center, legal counsel and vice president of Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana and a member of the Allen County Judicial Nominating Commission.

Shine said the fact that Brady is not a judge should do nothing to hurt her during the Senate confirmation process.

“She concentrates her area of practice in federal court,” Shine said, and is likely as familiar with federal court procedures, rules and decorum as a sitting judge.

Of the 20 judicial nominations the White House announced Tuesday, only six are current judges. Nominees include Indianapolis attorney J.P. Hanlon, a partner with Faegre Baker Daniels. Trump nominated Hanlon, co-chair of his firm's white-collar defense and investigations practice, to become a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Young said in a statement that Hanlon and Brady “have earned excellent reputations in the legal community as experienced litigators in the types of cases that come before federal trial courts.” He said they “are fair, impartial and highly regarded attorneys with the right temperament to serve on Indiana's district courts.”

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said in a statement, “Both nominees have strong legal backgrounds and a range of experiences that have prepared them for the federal bench.”

Donnelly said he looks forward to learning more about Hanlon and Brady and following their confirmation hearings, while Young urged quick confirmation of both nominees. 

bfrancisco@jg.net