Donald Lundberg is a lawyer’s lawyer. His work takes him through the complicated back end of the legal profession, helping his clients navigate ethical dilemmas like conflicts of interest and offering preventative advice to keep firms out of hot water.
Lundberg enjoys the feeling of collaboration when it comes to counseling his professional peers. “What I find particularly rewarding is working with lawyers as clients,” he says of what excites him about his practice area. “They’re very knowledgeable and sophisticated clients, and because of that, they’re great partners in legal representation. They bring to it a background in the knowledge of the law that non-lawyer clients often don’t. So it really is a type of legal representation that is a true partnership between myself as the lawyer for the lawyer and the client, who is also a lawyer.”
And while some attorneys might feel intimidated by the potential scrutiny of a client so well versed in matters of the law, Lundberg instead finds the shared background to be motivating. “I think of it way more as a positive than a negative,” he says. “I guess it’s a challenge that with very sophisticated and knowledgeable clients you have to be on your toes, and you can’t just bluff your way through seeming like you know what you’re doing. You have to actually know because your clients are going to detect it if you don’t.”
Now an Indianapolis 2018 Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” award winner in Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law, Lundberg began his career as a civil legal services lawyer, counseling clients who could not afford representation otherwise. He then went on to become the executive director of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, where he developed an interest in ethical and professional responsibility cases, before going on to join Barnes & Thornburg and then begin Lundberg Legal. He now writes the “Ethics Curbstone” column for the Indiana State Bar Association magazine and is often asked to speak on the ethical areas covered in his practice.
In spite of his career success, Lundberg didn’t come from a family of lawyers and didn’t go to school with the plans to become one. But shortly after graduating, something stuck in his mind, he says. “I was such an argumentative kid that my grandma said, ‘you’re going to be one of two things when you grow up: a minister or a lawyer.’ And minister didn’t seem to be in the cards.”