This is the fifty-fifth Court Times article highlighting a member of the Indiana Judiciary
Judge Lakshmi Reddy was appointed to the Vigo Superior Court and was recently reelected to the bench in 2020. She graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and in 1997, she earned her J.D. from the IU McKinney School of Law. Judge Reddy has also been named to the Rural Justice Collaborative Advisory Council. She and her husband have been married for over 27 years and have three boys ages 19, 14, and 12.
What prompted you to study law?
I wish I could say it was a lifelong dream or passion. Truth be told, I really did not know what I wanted to do with my life. Medical school did not work out and researching in a lab to put my biology degree to work was just not for me. So, I thought I would get a law degree and figure it out. My mom was thrilled—but not my dad. A legal career was not the typical or expected path for an Indian child. To this day, I still remember my dad saying, “I don’t know what you will do with a law degree. Do you think you are going to be a politician or something?” Even my close friends could not believe it when I said I was going to law school. They all said something to the effect of that I am way too honest to be a lawyer. From my perspective, it has all worked out better than I ever expected!
What was your childhood like?
I was born in India and came to the United States with my parents when I was 2 years old. I grew up in Huntsville, Alabama (home of the space and rocket center), being the only girl and a middle child with two brothers. My brothers and I grew up playing basketball and soccer. I was always trying to compete and keep up with them.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job and what brings you joy?
The most challenging aspect is watching so many unrepresented litigants trying to handle their divorce and custody disputes and knowing that these individuals do not have the knowledge and understanding to articulate their position. It is also a challenge to know and believe that I could do more as a judicial officer, but I am constrained by the lack of resources.
I feel tremendous joy when I see families improve their situation either with better parent-child relationships or better communications between parents. Knowing that I played some small role in this success gives me great satisfaction. I also really enjoy serving on a task force and being part of making bigger and positive changes in our judicial system.
What career would you choose if you weren’t already in this field?
I still have this desire to go back and get my Ph.D., so I imagine that my alternate career would be a professor in college.
Do you have a favorite hobby?
I honestly cannot say that I have any hobbies. I am so busy between work, serving on boards, and kids, that there is not much time for anything else. With my three boys who have been involved in travel basketball for over a decade, I seem to spend a large majority of my time watching them play. We also spend a lot of time attending Colts football games and ISU basketball games, since we are season ticket holders. However, I never think of these things as hobbies.
Where is your getaway spot, a place where you like to relax?
My favorite spot to relax is anywhere near the ocean where I can hear the ocean waves first thing in the morning and when I go to bed. It allows me to sleep the most peacefully. I can guarantee that in retirement, you will find me close by an ocean and warm weather.
What’s your favorite meal, place to eat, or recipe? Why?
I am not a very good cook and never had much of an interest in learning to cook. My favorite meal is when the kids ask me to cook something for them that they are craving. They often ask me to make spicy chicken and noodles. It is probably the cheapest meal I can make, and it is their favorite! It is my favorite because we always end up sitting together, talking, and laughing.
What are you looking forward to in the next year or two?
We are just about to begin remodeling a place to live in. Our new home overlooks a golf course and river, and I am looking forward to the end result. I imagine this will be the home taking us into retirement. So our goal is to really make it a retreat to relax and enjoy spending time with family and friends.
Do you have any advice for your colleagues?
What I have learned is that as judges, we really can and do have a lasting impact on families through our decisions. We listen to peoples’ most sensitive and intimate disputes and have the privilege of being problem solvers to assist in improving their circumstances. I cannot think of a more noble calling, and I am proud to be a part of it.