2011 Forty Under 40: Jason Barclay

February 5, 2011

About me...
Jason Barclay
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Web sites:
Social media:
On my hip:
BlackBerry 8830 World Edition
Most-used apps:
Court Dates
Lonely Planet
Flight Tracker
Zagat To Go
Favorite stuff:
Duke and Butler basketball (unless they are playing each other;
"The Untouchables"; Lake Como, Italy; "The Bill Simmons Report" podcast; Peggy Noonan; Charleston, S.C.

Regarded among the state’s top young trial lawyers, Jason Barclay specializes in representing criminal defendants accused of complex, white-collar crimes.

In 2010, he successfully defended a Kentucky road contractor accused of public corruption in a highly publicized federal trial in Lexingon, Ky. The defendant, Leonard Lawson, was acquitted of all charges.

“I enjoy the ability to go to trial,” said Barclay, who graduated from Duke University and the University of Virginia Law School. “We actually go to trial far more often than my colleagues on the civil side” because it’s the only way for people to clear their names.

In the Kentucky trial, for instance, the client was in his 80s, and any prison sentence would have been a death sentence.

The demands of preparing for trial can make balancing personal commitments tricky.

“It’s very difficult to be the best trial lawyer possible, and be the best dad and husband possible” at the same time, he admitted.

His second child was born two months before the Kentucky trial started, he recalled, and the baby had terrible colic. He left for Kentucky, leaving his wife, Sarah, with a 15-month-old and a screaming baby.

Barclay stepped away from the law firm for a few years to work on Republican Mitch Daniels’ first campaign for governor, then joined Daniels’ staff as special counsel.

“I always tell people it’s a lot like working for a startup company, because there’s a lot of young people with a lot of responsibility,” Barclay said. “No idea was too big or too small—especially for this governor. So it was an exciting time to be a young person in state government.”

By mid-2006, he returned to Barnes & Thornburg. “Well, I decided I wanted to be a trial lawyer, so that’s difficult to do in government. While I enjoyed my time there, I think I’m on my last career path here.”

In addition to his legal work, Barclay is chairman of DARE Indiana, a drug-abuse prevention organization; chairman of the State Athletic Commission; and a member of the board of the Indiana Sports Corp.•

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