Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard announced Wednesday that he will step down from the bench in March 2012.
Shepard, who joined the Indiana Supreme Court in 1985 and became chief justice in 1987, is the longest serving state court chief justice in the United States. He'll turn 65 on Dec. 24.
Shepard has authored nearly 900 opinions and 68 law review articles. He co-created the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity with former Gov. Frank O'Bannon in 1997 to help minority and educationally and economically disadvantaged students succeed in law school.
In 2007, Shepard was appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to co-chair the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform with former Gov. Joe Kernan. Their report on how to streamline government became known as the "Kernan-Shepard Report."
Shepard has also served as adjunct professor at Yale Law School — where he received his law degree in 1972 — as well as at the Maurer School of Law in Bloomington and Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.
The Evansville native has been honored by his hometown — he is the inspiration for the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp.'s Randall T. Shepard Academy for Law and Social Justice, and the Evansville Bar Association recently restored and named the Randall T. Shepard Courtroom in the Old Vanderburgh Courthouse.
Shepard is married and has one daughter.
The Indiana Judicial Nominating Commission, which is chaired by Shepard, will begin interviewing candidates in February. The governor will select the next justice.