Areas of Practice

Administrative Law

Administrative Law

Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis has significant experience in quasi-judicial proceedings conducted before administrative boards and hearing officers.  Decisions interpreting various rules, regulations, and orders of administrative agencies can have a substantial impact on our client’s legal rights.  Our firm has extensive experience in disciplinary hearings, professional licensing disputes, and other administrative hearings.

Disciplinary Hearings
Our firm enjoys a national reputation as experienced advocates in law enforcement and firefighter disciplinary hearings. As General Counsel for the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police and the Professional Firefighters of Indiana our firm has probably handled more public safety disciplinary hearing than any other law firm in the State. We’ve also represented teachers, doctors, and other professionals before state licensing boards. Trust Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis to protect your career.

Attorneys practicing in this area


Appellate Practice

Appellate Practice

Filing an appeal of an adverse judicial decision or defending a victory that you obtained in court requires the knowledge and resources of a law firm with experience in world of appellate law.  The appellate process is extremely precise and demands an acute understanding of the judicial process.  We have the experience to navigate and effectively litigate both state and federal appellate cases.

Attorneys practicing in this area

Business Transactions

Business Transactions

Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis assists clients with the creation of business entities, including limited liability companies and related issues. From business formation to corporation advice, we offer our clients solutions to their immediate business needs. We work with established and new companies to execute compliance programs, proactively address legal issues, and sustain capital growth. The firm also counsels companies and their Boards on legal matters and regulatory obligations. Our experience assisting businesses also includes Contract Cases, Real Estate Transactions, and Collections.

Contract CasesReal Estate TransactionsCollections
In today’s fast paced world, people don’t always live up to their agreements. Our attorneys have experience in both filing and defending breach of contract lawsuits. Whether your matter is a personal or business contract dispute, choose Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis to ensure that the deal that was made is the deal that is enforced.
Our firm provides legal representation in real estate transactions for both businesses and individuals. This includes the purchase and transfer of property interests, closings, deeds, mortgages, covenants, and homeowner’s associations. We also routinely assist clients in the drafting, negotiation, and litigation of residential and commercial lease agreements.
Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis provides counsel and representation to both creditors and debtors. We enforce and defend various aspects of collection issues, including asset execution, proceeding supplemental, garnishment and replevin. Ask how we can assist in these difficult monetary disputes.

Attorneys practicing in this area

Civil Lawsuits

Civil Lawsuits

Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis brings confidence and experience to the courtroom on behalf of our clients. Whether in State or Federal Court, our attorneys are highly effective advocates, and we have a successful track record in aggressively pursuing justice. We also believe in thorough preparation as a means to achieving our clients goals outside the courtroom through mediation and arbitration whenever it best serves their interest. Our civil litigation experience includes Contract Cases, Civil Rights Claims, and Personal Injury/Wrongful Death just to name a few.

Contract CasesCivil Rights Claims
In today’s fast paced world, people don’t always live up to their agreements. Our attorneys have experience in both filing and defending breach of contract lawsuits. Whether your matter is a personal or business contract dispute, choose Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis to ensure that the deal that was made is the deal that is enforced.
Much of our Federal Court litigation experience arises from civil rights litigation. Such claims include Section 1983 lawsuits against police officers. In such cases we not only partner with the City Attorney’s office to provide a comprehensive defense, but also specifically protect the individual rights of the affected police officer. And when the government takes action against you or your employment resulting in a violation of your constitutional rights, we also have experience in filing civil rights claims to protect your rights.

Attorneys practicing in this area

Collections

Collections

Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis provides counsel and representation to both creditors and debtors. We analyze, enforce and defend various aspects of collection issues, including asset execution, proceedings supplemental, garnishment and replevin. Ask how we can assist in these difficult monetary disputes.

Attorneys practicing in this area

Criminal Defense

Criminal Defense

Being charged with a crime is one of the most serious and stressful events that could occur in one’s life.  Our attorneys are skilled at representing individuals charged with crimes and aggressively advocate on behalf of our clients to achieve the best result possible.  We believe in tireless preparation of your case and will be well positioned for your day in court or to negotiate a favorable plea agreement on your behalf.

We have extensive experience defending people in several areas of criminal law, including DUI , battery, and expungements just to name a few.

Drunk DrivingBatteryExpungement
Being charged with drunk driving can have serious ramifications on a person’s life.  If you are convicted of drunk driving you face jail time, probation, and other consequences.  Our attorneys can guide you through the often confusing world of license suspensions and gaining specialized driving privileges so that while charges are pending you can try and move forward with life and defend against the criminal charges.
Disputes between people should always be resolved through dialogue and peaceful means.  But if you find yourself charged with battery, you need a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of self-defense, provocation, intent, and other critical concepts.
Being arrested for a crime can leave a blemish on your record.  But being convicted of a crime can create serious long-term employment consequences.  Fortunately, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law allowing persons arrested and/or convicted of crimes to petition for an expungement of their record. Petitioning for an expungement of your record just makes sense.  It allows you to move forward without being labeled a “criminal” by potential employers and you can legally answer “no” when asked if you have ever been arrested or convicted of a crime.  Our attorneys can guide you through the very technical process of gaining an expungement of your criminal record.

Attorneys practicing in this area

Disciplinary Hearings

Disciplinary Hearings

Our firm enjoys a national reputation as experienced advocates in law enforcement and firefighter disciplinary hearings. As General Counsel for the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police and the Professional Firefighters of Indiana our firm has probably handled more public safety disciplinary hearing than any other law firm in the State. We’ve also represented teachers, doctors, and other professionals before state licensing boards. Trust Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis to protect your career.

Attorneys practicing in this area

Estate Planning & Guardianships

Estate Planning & Guardianships

Should your family member pass away, it is crucial that a knowledgeable lawyer instruct their personal representative through the mazes of laws and local rules governing administration of estates. A probate lawyer can save you and the intended beneficiaries thousands of dollars, and give you peace of mind knowing you have complied with laws on inheritance and transfer of ownership at death.

Guardianships
In times of need for those you love, guardianships can be established for persons who become incapacitated. Skilled guidance is essential when administering a guardianship, while preserving the dignity of your disabled loved one.
Family Law & Domestic Relations

Family Law & Domestic Relations

Family law matters can involve a number of issues such as Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce, Emancipation, Legal Separation, Parenting Time, Paternity, and Spousal Support. These domestic relations matters are some of the most personal and emotionally involved matters you may face. Our attorneys are experienced and prepared to guide you through the legal processes involved in family law by providing a pragmatic, no-nonsense approach while ensuring you receive the support and respect you deserve. Our goal is to provide the resolution best suited for you and your family. We are prepared to work with you through a negotiated or mediated settlement of issues or represent you in court when necessary.

DivorceChild CustodyChild Support
The legal term for divorce in Indiana is “dissolution of marriage,” wherein the marriage is being dissolved. Indiana is generally considered a “no-fault state,” so while it is unnecessary to prove fault by one party or the other there are factors that can affect the outcome of your division of assets and debts, and issues involving your children. Our attorneys will explore these factors to ensure the most equitable outcome and that your interests are protected.
Issues involving child custody can be extremely emotional and are likely the most important issues you may face in the event of a divorce or establishing paternity of a child born out of wedlock. The courts are charged with making custody decisions based upon the best interests of the children, but it is extremely difficult for the courts to know what is best for any individual child. Our attorneys work to determine the issues involved in your particular situation so that a proper custody determination is made that will allow the child to thrive with participation of the parents to the appropriate degree. We will work with you to determine if a negotiated custody arrangement is appropriate or if a formal custody evaluation by trained professionals is needed to assist the court in making the best custody determination for you and your children.
Child support is not only an issue in divorce cases, but will arise in other domestic relations cases involving children such as paternity cases and post-dissolution matters involving custody, parenting time, support modifications and emancipation. Courts are required to ensure that an appropriate child support arrangement is reached in all family law cases that involve children. This is to ensure that parents adequately support their own children rather than the state taxpayers. Child support cases are often complex, requiring representation from a knowledgeable lawyer. These matters will involve appropriate investigation and input of each parent’s income to ensure an appropriate order to support the child or children. Child support matters may also involve issues involving health insurance, uninsured health care expenses, primary and secondary educational expenses, and college expenses. Our attorneys are experienced in establishing child support orders, modifying child support orders and enforcing child support orders.

Attorneys practicing in this area

Labor Law

Labor Law

Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis guides employers and employees through the complex world in the law of workplace governance. We advise our clients regarding how regulations and laws influence labor relations and specifically what that means to our clients’ work environment. We provide legal advice on contracts, union negotiations, collective bargaining agreements, employee benefits, discipline, discrimination, disability, worker’s compensation, non-compete agreements, and wage matters. We are experienced in areas of Federal law and regulation such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act. These laws and regulations impact our clients on a daily basis and we are often called upon for our advice and representation.

Legislation & Lobbying

Legislation & Lobbying

Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis has a long association and trusted relationship with lawmakers and legislators. We realize how vital it is to understand the legislative process, and we provide a voice for our clients in this process. We advocate on behalf of our clients so that lawmakers and legislators are aware of our clients’ needs and expectations when it comes to legislation.

Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

Personal Injury & Wrongful Death

Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis understands that if our clients suffer personal injury, it impacts every aspect of their lives. Daily activities, providing for a family, and overall quality of life can be substantially changed for the worse after an incident occurs. We work to achieve maximum results for our clients in personal injury claims so that they can move forward with recovery and on with their lives. The consequences can be even more devastating when a loved one has lost their life due to the wrongful acts of another person. Our lawyers can help protect your rights in personal injury and wrongful death cases, in both negotiations with the insurance companies and filing suit to protect your interests when necessary.

Attorneys practicing in this area

Police and Firefighter Representation

Police and Firefighter Representation

Police Officer Representation

Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis began providing legal counsel to Indiana’s Fraternal Order of Police in 1966 and continues to do so today.  Jack Ruckelshaus also served as General Counsel for the National Fraternal Order of Police for nearly a decade. The firm steadfastly remains public safety’s number one partner in legal protection throughout Indiana.

We regularly represent police officers in departmental disputes, disciplinary matters, Merit Board and Board of Safety hearings, and court proceedings.  We are experienced advocates in defense of officers accused of using excessive force and in all matters of civil and criminal defense.  Our attorneys frequently advise and represent our clients on Federal law such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act.

In addition to serving as General Counsel to the Indiana State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police along with several other lodges, we serve as counsel to the FOP Legal Defense Fund.  The Legal Defense Fund is a program specifically designed for law enforcement officers legal needs.  We also serve as counsel to the FOP Labor Council in matters of contract negotiation or contract disputes.

Firefighter Representation

For years we have represented firefighters and fire labor organizations on a wide array of issues. We advise fire professionals in disciplinary matters and labor disputes as well as providing criminal and civil defense for all public safety officers.  Our attorneys regularly consult and represent our clients on the Fair Labor Standards Act, the American’s with Disabilities Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act.

Our firm serves as General Counsel to the International Association of Professional Firefighters, Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local 416, and several other local firefighter organizations throughout Indiana.

John C. “Jack” Ruckelshaus (1930-2015)

From his commitment to public service to his legal practice, John C. “Jack” Ruckelshaus’ career  accomplishments impact Indiana’s communities and citizens every day.

After graduating from Notre Dame with his Bachelor’s degree, Jack began pursuing his law degree from  Indiana University while working full-time.  During his last semester of law school, Jack entered public service as an Indiana State Senator and he served the State Senate from 1957 to 1964.

Jack followed up his work in the Senate with a successful run for the Indianapolis Public School Board serving a four year term.  In 1969 Jack was a member of the inaugural Indianapolis City County Council. He served as a councilman until 1973.

In the 1960’s, Jack launched a life long professional relationship with firefighters and police officers.  In
1966, he began providing legal counsel to the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) in Indiana.  Jack served
as general counsel for the Indiana F.O.P. and the Indiana Firefighters Union until his retirement in 2012.
Jack also served as the first general counsel for the National F.O.P. and held that post for eight years.  In
1983, Jack was instrumental in creating the Legal Defense Fund for Hoosier F.O.P. members.

Jack was a member of the Indianapolis and Indiana State Bar Associations.

Wills, Trusts, & Probate

Wills, Trusts, & Probate

The lawyers at Ruckelshaus, Kautzman, Blackwell, & Bemis provide extensive services to assist you in designing plans to meet your specific wishes for the management and transfer of wealth during life and after death. Our goal is to create a comprehensive estate plan for you, whether your estate is small or extensive. We provide both basic and sophisticated services in the following areas:

  • Wills
  • Living Wills
  • Trusts
  • Powers-of-Attorneys
  • Advance Medical Directives
  • Administration of wills, trusts and estates
  • Fiduciary litigation, representing both individuals and corporate fiduciaries and beneficiaries
  • Providing advice to fiduciaries and beneficiaries

We also maintain an active probate practice and can guide personal representatives, family and friends of the deceased through this often difficult and emotional process. Our widely respected attorneys have decades of experience and have distinguished themselves as leaders in this area.