(Presiding Judge, Second District)
415 State House
Indianapolis, IN 46204
James S. Kirsch was appointed to the Court of Appeals in March 1994 and served as Chief Judge from March 1, 2004 to February 28, 2007. A native of Indianapolis, Judge Kirsch is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis (J.D., cum laude, 1974) and Butler University (B.A. with honors, 1968).
Judge Kirsch served as Judge of the Marion Superior Court from 1988 to 1994 and as presiding judge of the court in 1992. From 1974 to 1988, he practiced law with the firm of Kroger, Gardis & Regas in Indianapolis in the areas of commercial and business litigation and served as managing partner of the firm. Since 1990, he has held an appointment as Visiting Professor of Law and Management at the Krannert Graduate School of Management at Purdue University. He has taught law in more than twenty countries on five continents and currently holds concurrent faculty appointments at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands and the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.
Judge Kirsch is a past-president of the Indianapolis Bar Association and of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation and is a former member of the Board of Visitors of the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis. He is a past-president of the United Way/Community Service Council Board of Directors and a current or former member of the Board of Directors of the United Way of Central Indiana, the Board of Associates of Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, and of the Boards of Directors of the Goodwill Industries Foundation of Central Indiana, Community Centers of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Urban League, the Legal Aid Society of Indianapolis, the Stanley K. Lacy Leadership Association and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site. He is a Fellow of the Indiana State Bar Foundation and of the Indianapolis Bar Foundation.
Judge Kirsch is a frequent speaker and lecturer and has served on the faculty of more than 200 continuing legal education programs. He has been named a Sagamore of the Wabash by four different governors. In 2009, the Indianapolis Bar Association presented Judge Kirsch with its highest award – the Hon. Paul H. Buchanan Award of Excellence in recognition of “his notable attainments as a lawyer and honorable service to the legal profession over an extended period time.”
Judge Kirsch and his wife Jan have two children, Adam and Alexandra. Judge Kirsch was retained on the Court in 1996, 2006, and 2016.