Beitler to retire from attorney practice at end of year
Longtime Berne attorney, James Beitler, Jr., has announced his plans to retire from the offices of Baumgartner and Beitler, Attorneys at Law, on January 1, 2014.
Beitler recently reflected on his years as an attorney in his hometown.
“It has been both a joy and an honor to practice law for the past thirty-nine years in the city where I was raised. I had the great and good fortune to be mentored by Howard Baumgartner and have thoroughly enjoyed my years of practice with both Howard and David Baumgartner.
"Our partnership was forged with shared values and mutual respect. We had common purpose and a shared vision, not only in the way legal services were to be provided, but how people, whether clients or not, were to be treated," continued Beitler. "I am indebted to both for their friendship and support. My practice in a small town provided me with varied experiences and many contacts that I will always remember and cherish.”
Beitler served 30 years as the city attorney during the administrations of Gaylord Stuckey, Delmar Neuenschwander, Blaine Fulton and Bill McKean. He was also active in community projects that promoted and enhanced the city of Berne. He served as the co-chair for the 2002 Berne Sesquicentennial along with Floyd Liechty and continues to serve on the Board of Directors of Berne Community Development Corporation and as fundraising co-chair, along with Roger Muselman, for the capital campaigns for the Muensterberg Plaza and Clock Tower.
“Having reached my full retirement age,” Beitler said, “I have decided to retire and place myself on inactive status, effective January 1, 2014. My wife, Melissa, and I will be moving to Wheaton, Illinois, to be close to children and grandchildren. We will continue to serve on various committees in Berne associated with the clock tower. Our plan is to return to this community at least once a month for meetings and programs as well as for visiting with family and friends.”
It's been wonderful to be an attorney in a small town, my home town at that," said Beitler. "The connections that result from working with people that you know, see, communicate with and live beside makes all the difference in the world."
Beitler said that he and fellow attorney David Baumgartner were recently driving back from a meeting in Indianapolis.
"When we drove out of the capital city, we talked about how fortunate we feel to be in a small town. It's not just the client-attorney connection, it's serving the entire community," Beitler said.
"It's a satisfying thing to see a problem and then initiate a plan and develop it to work out the ultimate solution," continued Beitler. "The biggest tasks are not easily resolved. There are many components involved in recognizing the problem and then trying to achieve the preferred result."
Beitler cited the example of trying to solve the problem in relation to the old Dunbar Furniture plant. He noted that developing a TIF District can help resolve the financial part, but there is also the environmental study and remedial plan to get it worked out.
"It's like a jigsaw puzzle," said Beitler. "You start to put the border pieces together, then you look things over to see how to put the rest of the picture together."
Beitler said that another thing he has enjoyed is seeing how decisions made in the past bear fruit on current situations. He noted the hard work that former Mayor Blaine Fulton put into developing a TIF district to attract FCC to the city now is the mechanism that brings further benefits.
"What we did then allows us to have the mechanics in place to do future good for the city," commented Beitler.
Beitler said that the thing he will miss the most in retiring will be working with Mayor Bill McKean and his fellow professionals.
"The fact that it's a small law firm, working with Howard and Dave has not only been working with partners. They become your closest friends," Beitler said. "Dave and I have a very deep friendship.
"I keep looking at not what I'm leaving, but what I am going towards," added Beitler. "There is always a new journey and new path. I am looking forward to spending time with my family."
"We feel really indebted to this community and we plan to continue our involvement in the community," added Beitler.
Beitler's partner, David Baumgartner, will continue the practice at the new office at 360 West Main and will serve Baumgartner & Beitler clients there. An Open House and Farewell Reception are being held at the Main Street office on Monday, December 30, 2013 between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
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