Online Exclusive: Cohen & Malad Names Partner Rick Malad Who Retires After 48 Years


Rick Malad is retiring at the end of the year after nearly 50 years with Cohen & Malad.

In 1973, Rick Malad blinked in surprise when his law firm handed him the reins of a major bankruptcy case just weeks after starting his legal career. His colleague, Louis Cohen, had been seriously injured in an accident that left him with a broken neck and unable to work on the case. It was up to Malad to do the job.

“I was practicing law for a month and then all of a sudden I was dealing with this statewide Chapter 11 business bankruptcy case,” Malad said with an incredulous laugh. “It was my baptism.

When Malad walked into the first meeting of creditors for the bankruptcy case, the courtroom was packed. In the midst of the madness, young Malad had the overwhelming feeling that he just had to do his job.

“You have to at least act like you know what you’re doing and trust that you can figure it out,” he said. “One thing I learned about myself is that if I could do this, I could do anything. It gave me confidence for 48 years, to be honest.

After nearly five decades, the longtime lawyer and name partner recently announced his retirement from Cohen & Malad LLP of Indianapolis. As a senior partner of law firms since 1992, Malad has seen the firm go through significant changes and notable litigation.

Now he has decided it is time to end his legal career on December 31st.

At the end of the day, Malad said it seemed like the right time to retire. But, he added, he will be missed daily at the cabinet which he has repeatedly described as his “family” from the very beginning.

Back to basics

Having started from the bottom with an initially small general practice, Malad leaves behind a legacy of growth and leadership in a fully evolved firm that handles a variety of cases – from family law to bankruptcy to class actions. .

The original company, founded in 1968 by John J. Dillon, Jim Kelley, Virginia Dill McCarty, Don Hardamon and Lou Cohen, underwent two major reorganizations which ultimately resulted in the addition of Malad’s last name to the company nameplate circa 1984.

As a young lawyer, Malad said he could never have imagined that Cohen & Malad would become what he is today.

“When we reorganized into a real partnership, it was huge,” he recalls. “We have formed six or seven practice groups and practice subgroups and have become more specialized and national with class action work. “

Malad, who got his position with the firm after graduating from Robert H. McKinney Law School in Indiana in 1973, said he was lucky. He had previously held a law-related job in Johnson County while studying law. Several local law firms were also looking for him as a potential hire, but Malad said he knew this route would be a mistake.

“All of my connections were in Marion County,” he said. “My dad knew John Dillon and I kept bugging Dillon, ‘This will work, bring me in’, and he did. It was crazy.”

Since then, Malad has planted deep roots in Cohen & Malad. When asked why he had never left, he replied in a soft voice that the reason was simple.

“I have a lot of good friends in the firm and I’m so proud to be there,” he said. “I never considered leaving.”

‘Renaissance man’

Irwin Levin

Having known and worked with Malad the longest, the Managing Partner, Irwin Levin, remembers interacting with Malad at Marion Circuit Court in the late 1970s, when Levin was working as a bailiff.

“The thing about Rick is he’s extremely nice, sympathetic and very lively,” said Levin, describing Malad as a “Renaissance man.” “No one would guess his undergrad was in biology. He’s a great athlete, he played baseball and softball in college, and he has a great read. “

Levin said he didn’t remember anyone saying anything bad about Malad.

“He was one of the reasons I came to this firm, because I admired him and thought it would be fun to practice with him,” Levin said. “It’s a rare thing in this world when a lawyer spends his entire career with the same firm. We have a very unique culture at Cohen & Malad, and that’s because of Rick. “

David Cutshaw

David Cutshaw, who has worked with Malad at the firm since the early 1980s, called him a great mentor and friend. His first impression of Malad was that he always encouraged his fellow lawyers to draw straight lines from the beginning to the end of the case to do justice to every client.

“Our company has been around for over 50 years, and I think Rick is one of the reasons we all got along and didn’t go our separate ways like a lot of other companies have,” Cutshaw said.

Michael mcbride

As a beneficiary of his mentorship, Cohen & Malad attorney Michael McBride said he learned invaluable lessons in the practice of law and practice group management under Malad’s guidance.

“But Rick really taught me more than anything how to treat clients, coworkers, or anyone in your life with respect and kindness,” McBride said. “I think as a professional it is great to work with him and against whom.”


With extensive experience in commercial litigation and personal injury matters, Malad has focused in recent years on commercial and real estate matters, lender representation, construction and automotive matters.

But during his long-standing legal career, Malad said he will always remember one particular case as the most significant.

In September 1992, a midair collision involving two small aircraft occurred just northeast of Indy South Greenwood Airport. One of Malad’s business clients was involved in the fatal crash, which left six people dead.

“It was quite emotional for me,” he said. “While I was in pain that my client and friend was killed and his daughter was burned, I discovered that the other five people killed were civic leaders from Indianapolis and very well known and respected people.

“It was two difficult years for me,” he continued. “It was a very interesting case and one that I will never forget.”

Another case Levin recalled as important in Malad’s career was when he was appointed ad litem guardian for Indianapolis kidnapper Anthony G. “Tony” Kiritsis.

Kiritsis, who spent years locked up after wielding a shotgun over Richard O. “Dick” Hall’s head, was having a party when a mortgage foreclosure was challenged and Malad was brought in.

Reflecting on his work at the trial, Malad said the courtroom experiences were possibly the most exciting of his career. Some of the biggest thrills, he said, were his trials.

Describing Malad as a brilliant lawyer, friend and advocate, Deborah Caruso of Rubin & Levin said he was an example of professionalism and courtesy in the courtroom.

Deborah Caruso

“He never gets ruffled. He’ll never scream or scream, ”Caruso said. “I think he has done our bar a great service by training a lot of young lawyers. Even though you were on the other side of the case against Rick, I think the mentorship was extremely helpful.

Walk on

Indianapolis attorney Paul Ludwig of Redman Ludwig PC said he has always admired Malad’s quest for accountability and his willingness to make the needs of his clients his top priority.

“I think Rick has a lot of empathy for people. And he tries to understand what their needs are. You certainly avoid the cookie-cutter approach to practice when you take this approach, but you also meet the client where they are, ”Ludwig said.

“He’s genuinely interested in people,” Ludwig continued. “He can be in a room full of strangers and in half an hour these strangers can feel like they’ve known him for years.”

Looking to the years to come, Malad said he looks forward to spending his days outside. He prides himself on being an outdoorsman and sports enthusiast, which includes taking care of his 189-acre lot and log cabin nestled in the Indiana Hills. He also enjoys going to Florida for boating and fishing.

Retired, Malad said he looks forward to indulging in his hobby of being an outdoor enthusiast. Photo courtesy of Malad.

“Rick and I have been fishing together every spring since 1990, so I have a lot of fond memories with him. I have caught just about all of the biggest fish of any species in his company,” Ludwig added. I learned a lot from him on the water and I also learned a lot from him in the practice of law. “

Sitting in front of a fire in his log cabin with a cup of coffee in hand as he spoke on the phone with Indiana Lawyer, Malad pondered his next retirement. With a tight throat, he expressed his gratitude to his firm and fellow lawyers for the journey he made.

“I’m going to walk in the woods and do my thing,” said Malad. “I can’t help but miss (practicing law) but you know it’s about time.” •


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