Joseph L. Smith Jr. and James S. Birge, lawyers at Baker & Daniels LLP, were named to this year's Forty Under 40 class by the Indianapolis Business Journal.
The 2008 group marked the 16th year that the weekly publication featured 40 of the best and brightest individuals making a name for themselves before the age of 40. The latest honorees represent diverse fields in business, government and not-for-profit. The IBJ received more than 200 nominations for the recognition.
Smith, who joined Baker & Daniels in 2003, is a partner, practicing in government services, labor and employment law, and certified business enterprises and supplier diversity. In 2008, he was named to The Best Lawyers in America for government relations law.
Before joining Baker & Daniels, Smith served in several positions with the public sector, including executive assistant to former Governor Frank O'Bannon and compliance officer with the U.S. Department of Labor. He is active in a number of community activities, including serving on the board of directors for the Martin Luther King Multi-Service Center and Lighthouse Academics charter school.
Birge, also a Baker & Daniels partner, concentrates his practice in advising clients on a variety of corporate transactions and economic incentive programs. He has served as co-chair of the firm's United Way campaign and a member of the recruiting committee, which selects, trains and mentors new associates.
Birge joined Baker & Daniels after graduating from law school in 1998 but spent one year as deputy chief of staff for former Governor Joseph Kernan, working on government reform and economic development issues. He currently chairs the Caleb Mills Organization and serves on the board for the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.
Smith (twice) and Birge are former recipients of the Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor given to a civilian by the Indiana Governor.
Founded in 1863, Baker & Daniels LLP is one of Indiana's largest law firms. With more than 370 lawyers and legal professionals, Baker & Daniels serves clients in regional, national and international transaction, regulatory and litigation matters from offices in Indiana, Washington D.C. and China. For more information about Baker & Daniels, visit www.bakerdaniels.com.