James J. Bell is a Partner at Hoover Hull Turner LLP, an award-winning law firm providing high-quality counsel in complex, sensitive, high-stakes commercial litigation. As a criminal defense lawyer, James has represented judges and attorneys in ethics inquiries and represents businesses in conducting comprehensive internal investigations. He is a former state public defender and federal CJA panelist.

James was the 2018 President of the Indianapolis Bar Association, the Past Chair of the IndyBar Criminal Justice Section, and has served as Chair of the Indiana State Bar Association’s Legal Ethics Committee and Criminal Justice Section. He is a father, nationally recognized speaker, world traveler, and regular contributor to The Indiana Lawyer, where he writes about attorney ethics.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • James J. Bell discusses ethics in the law profession
  • James reflects on his background growing up in Canada and the United States
  • How did James discover his passion for criminal law?
  • Legal ethics and politics: the Supreme Court’s outcome on Bush v. Gore
  • James’ journey to becoming a renowned speaker on ethics
  • James’ experience as a public defender and transitioning to private practice
  • The differences between representation in criminal defense versus disciplinary hearings on lawyers

In this episode…

Legal ethics refers to the rules of professional responsibility, which lawyers must follow with integrity and honesty. What happens when an attorney faces misconduct charges and needs defense representation? Celebrated defense lawyer James J. Bell takes listeners on a riveting journey along his 25-year career trajectory from a law enthusiast to representing other legal practitioners as “a lawyer for lawyers.”

James realized his attraction to criminal law during a course in law school. Inspired by society’s commitment to ensuring justice, he solidified his career pursuit and participated in criminal defense clinics. His experience at a reckless homicide trial, which ended in an acquittal, increased his interest in his chosen professional path. James later worked as a court clerk and public defender before transitioning to private practice. After teaching a legal course on professional ethics for six semesters, he discovered his love for public speaking. James followed his passion after a colleague mentored him on legal disciplinary representation, and he went on to become a sought-after defense lawyer for attorneys and a renowned speaker on ethics.

In this episode of the Circle City Conversations, Alex Limontes hosts James J. Bell, Partner at Hoover Hull Turner LLP, to discuss the intersection of ethics and the legal profession. They explore James’ career journey into criminal defense, his experience representing lawyers in ethics inquiries and civil litigation, and the differences between representing criminals versus lawyers in disciplinary hearings.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

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