Category: Firm News

In Our Own Words

Many people are hesitant or even frightened when they have to consult an attorney. Jones Obenchain attorneys are active members of the Michiana community. They serve businesses, individuals, and families in Indiana and Michigan with effective legal solutions and are unafraid to explore non-traditional solutions for their clients. Let us put your mind at ease about consulting an attorney.

Celebrate National Hot Dog Day!

National Hot Dog day was created by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council to highlight the humble hot dog during National Hot Dog Month. In 2016, it was held on July 14th. This year it’s on July 17th. Commemorating National Hot Dog Day is pretty simple – all you have to do is cook your favorite hot dog and enjoy!

JO Knows Dissolution of Marriage

It’s hard to imagine anything having a more profound impact on your family life, your financial life, and your personal life than a divorce. But good planning beforehand, via an antenuptial agreement, and good representation during, via Jones Obenchain, can make the unbearable bearable. We’ve been helping people through their divorces for decades. And if necessary, we’re be here to help you through yours.

Are You A Parent Of A Recent Graduate?

If you are a parent of a recent high school graduate, congratulations! Before the confetti has cleared from your celebration you are probably already knee-deep preparing for your new graduate’s next steps. For many of you those next steps may include filling out financial-aid forms. If you have started that process and realize that you do not have copies of your tax returns, the IRS has a few tips to make that piece of the financial-aid puzzle a little easier. Visit: to learn more.

JO Knows Mediation & Arbitration

People generally avoid litigation. It’s expensive, time consuming, emotionally draining, and unpredictable. Because litigation is so inefficient, people have been seeking alternative ways to resolve disputes for almost as long as they have been litigating them. Arbitration and mediation are two forms of alternative-dispute resolution that have become increasingly popular.

Arbitration and mediation are similar, but there are important differences. Arbitration is generally conducted with a panel of arbitrators who are much like judges. The parties may call witnesses and introduce evidence. The arbitrators hear the evidence, weigh arguments, and issue decisions. Those decisions can be binding or non-binding. Most people don’t realize that popular television shows like Judge Judy and The People’s Court are actually binding arbitration proceedings, not judicial proceedings.

Although arbitration is sometimes conducted with a single arbitrator, the most common procedure is for each side to select an arbitrator. Then, those two arbitrators select a third arbitrator, at which point the dispute is presented to the panel. Decisions are made by majority vote.

Mediation, on the other hand, is a process in which a neutral third party, called a media­tor, tries to help the parties resolve their dispute. Mediation is an informal and non-adversarial process. The objective is to help the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement between themselves on all or any part of the issues in dispute. Deci­sion-making authority rests with the parties, not the mediator. The mediator assists the parties in identifying the issues, fostering joint problem solving, exploring settlement alternatives, and assists in other ways con­sistent with these activities.

Happy Independence Day!

America’s first Continental Congress voted to declare America’s independence from the British monarchy on July 2, 1776, and the Declaration was ratified two days later on July 4th . The Declaration was published in newspapers and read to the public on July 4th. The attorneys and staff of Jones Obenchain wish you and yours a safe and Happy Independence Day!

Meet Our JO Team

Mark Phillipoff graduated from the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University School of Law. He was a deputy prosecuting attorney and an associate at a southern Indiana law firm before returning to his hometown, South Bend, and joining Jones Obenchain in 1983. Mark’s practice includes mediation, general trial work, family law, estate planning, probate, and real-estate law. In 2007, Mark trained to become a collaborative family-law lawyer and joined the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Get to know Mark and the ways he can serve you, your family, or your business by visiting

JO Knows Insurance Defense

At Jones Obenchain, we’ve been representing local, regional, and national insurers and their insureds for over 100 years. The work we do for them runs the gamut from defending personal-injury claims, to litigating employment-discrimination claims, to prosecuting and defending coverage actions and errors-and-omissions lawsuits.

All of this litigation gets us into court…a lot. In 2018 Jones Obenchain tried more civil jury trials in Indiana than all but one other firm.*And though litigation is an adversarial process, our peers consistently rank us among the best at what we do. So do our clients, if the feedback they’ve given us on legal sites such as AVVO and Martindale-Hubbell are any indication.

But as essential as courtroom skills are to a litigation prac­tice, they’re worthless if our clients and the courts don’t want to read what we have to say. Let’s face it: there’s a lot of writing in a litigation practice and most legal writing is a chore to get through. We read it because we have to, not be­cause we want to.

So our litigators emphasize writing in plain English and using cutting-edge tech­nology in the documents we prepare to make them a pleasure to read. What does that mean, exactly? It’s not unusual to see photographs, hyperlinks, and video embedded in our briefs and motions. These add visual interest to the text and corroborate the arguments without sending readers to riffle through mounds of exhibits.

Not only are plainly written, visually appealing documents easier for clients to read and understand, they help persuade mediators and judges about the merits of our clients’ position. That means we’re often able to bring cases to a successful resolution before we ever step foot in a courtroom.

*Source: 2018 Indiana Jury Verdict Reporter.

Need to Amend your 2018 Tax Return?

We are now two months passed the April 15th deadline for filing your taxes. If you met the deadline but have since discovered you need to amend your return, the IRS has some helpful hints to answer some questions and make amending your return less stressful. To see the list of hints visit:

JO Knows Agriculture Law

Jones Obenchain attorneys can provide many useful and valuable tools to run a sophisticated, 21st century farm operation. We protect your assets by forming and managing business entities and reviewing insurance coverage. We help you run your business by drafting farmland-lease agreements, assisting with regulatory compliance, and reviewing routine contracts. We can also help resolve disputes when they crop up. And on a more personal level, we can help you create and execute an estate plan that continues your farming family’s legacy.