When Indiana needs a lawyer

A Jackson County resident has been hired to serve the state as a deputy attor-ney general.

Tyler Banks, 28, of Brownstown, recently was sworn in. He reports to Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

His first day on the job was March 2.

On April 16, Banks, a former deputy prosecuting attorney, will argue his first case before the Indiana Court of Appeals, much earlier than he anticipated.

“I have been assigned to my first oral argument about a month and a half ahead of schedule,” he said. “When I was hired, I was told that it would be three to six months until I was assigned to an argument. After a month and a half and me turning in only two briefs, they thought I was ready.”

Deputy attorneys general handle a variety of duties, such as civil litigation, consumer protection investigations and family services issues.

“My current job is in the appellate division, specifically the criminal appeals section,” he said.

A typical case in appellate court is when a defendant convicted of a crime appeals, claiming some type of error in the trial or the proceedings leading up to the trial.

“I am responsible for defending the conviction and advancing the state’s interests in criminal cases,” he said.

That requires doing legal research, writing persuasive briefs to the court and presenting oral arguments in selected cases.

Well-prepared

Banks said his experience as a prosecutor in Jackson County and his familiarity with Indiana criminal law has prepared him well for working at the state level.

His office is in the Indiana Government Center in downtown Indianapolis, across the street from the Statehouse.

He said he became interested in becoming a lawyer while studying economics.

“I have always enjoyed learning about complicated topics and using that knowledge to try to advance an idea or proposition,” Banks said. “Practicing law is about digesting difficult material and being able to turn that material into a persuasive argument.”

His favorite aspects of being an attorney are researching legal issues and writing. While in law school, he published a law review article, which required extensive research, writing and editing, he said.

Always wanting to improve himself and advance in his career, Banks said, he would love to someday argue before the U.S. Supreme Court if he chooses to stay in appellate work.

But for now, he said, he plans to focus on his new position, learning and doing as much as he can as quickly as he can.

‘Don’t do it for the money’

For anyone interested in a law career, Banks said, it’s important to have the right priorities.

“Don’t do it for the money. There is no money,” he said. “Because of continuing economic issues, the practice of law is not the big money proposition that it once was.”

When he graduated from law school at Emory University in Atlanta, there were jobs available for only about half the new lawyers, he said.

He also said that in law it’s vital to focus on writing skills and to read as much as possible.

“Writing is the most important skill a good attorney possesses and the skill that will clearly differentiate them from others,” he said. “It is a skill that requires practice. And reading constantly helps to improve and enlighten writing.”

Grateful for support

Banks said he wouldn’t be where he is today without the support, encouragement and opportunities provided by many people in his life.

As a new attorney, he learned much from his boss, Jackson County Prosecutor AmyMarie Travis, and others who worked in the prosecutor’s office.

“I could not imagine a more supportive environment to learn and grow,” he said. “Amy and all my other former colleagues are some of the most intelligent and thoughtful attorneys with whom I have had the pleasure of working.”

He also looks up to legal academic Richard Epstein, who Banks said “never shied away from opinions or arguments that challenge popular opinion.”

But on a personal and motivational level, Banks said his grandmother, the late Catherine “Cathy” Murray, was his biggest influence.

“She truly inspired my love of the written word and constantly encouraged me to be smarter, learn more and keep excelling,” he said.

Tyler Banks

Age: 28

Hometown: Brownstown

Education: Academic Honors Diploma, Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities; B.S. Economics, Purdue University (2009); J.D., Emory University, Atlanta (2012)

Past work experience: Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, Jackson County, intern from 2011-2013, DPA from 2013-2015

Family: Parents, Dan and Arann Banks; siblings, Sally, Willis and Mitchell Banks; grandparents, Jerry and Sally Banks

Author photo
January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.