Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History
(One hundredth Justice)
More photos of Justice Dickson
Brent E. Dickson was appointed to the Indiana Supreme Court in January, 1986, by Governor Robert D. Orr, after seventeen years as a general practice lawyer in Lafayette, Indiana, where he earned certification as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He has served as a justice on the court longer than any other person since 1853. He was Chief Justice of Indiana from May 15, 2012 to August 18, 2014. During his service as Chief Justice, he was selected to serve on the Board of Directors of the national Conference of Chief Justices and chaired the Conference's Committee on Professionalism and Competence of the Bar. Justice Dickson retired on April 29, 2016.
Justice Dickson also serves as a member of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States. Justice Dickson's writings, speeches, and activities reflect his longstanding interests in fostering attorney civility, preserving and enhancing our jury trial system, developing and encouraging mediation, and promoting the study and application of state constitutional law. He is co-founder of the Sagamore Chapter of the American Inns of Court in Indianapolis, an elected member of the American Law Institute, a registered mediator, and has been an active participant in a host of local, state, and national judicial and legal organizations. During his judicial career, he has been chair of the Supreme Court Records Management Committee, Judicial Data Processing Oversight Committee, Task Force on Access to Court Records, various other committees, and has been a liaison to its Disciplinary Commission and Board of Law Examiners.
For more than ten years, Justice Dickson served as an adjunct professor teaching evening courses in Indiana Constitutional Law at both Indiana University's Maurer School of Law in Bloomington and its Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.
During his judicial career, Justice Dickson has published several articles: "Renewing Lawyer Civility," 28 Valparaiso University Law Review 531 (1994); "Lawyers and Judges as Framers of Indiana's 1851 Constitution," 30 Indiana Law Review 397 (1997); and "The Effects of Capital Punishment on the Justice System – Reflections of a state supreme court justice," 89 Judicature 278 (2006). Among Justice Dickson's awards and honors are the Indiana State Bar Association Litigation Section Civility Award (2015) and the Indianapolis Bar Association Silver Gavel Award (2014).
Born in Gary, Indiana, in 1941, he was educated at public schools in Hobart, Indiana; Purdue University (B.S. 1964); and Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law (J.D. 1968). Justice Dickson received a honorary doctor of letters degree from Purdue University in 1996. While a student at Purdue, he served as a student senator, managing editor of the daily Purdue Exponent, and pianist for the "Salty Dogs" dixieland band. He attended law school as a night student while working full time as an insurance claims adjuster.
Justice Dickson and his wife, Jan Aikman Dickson, have three adult sons and nine grandchildren. Mrs. Dickson is founder of the national Judicial Family Institute. In 2012 she was inducted into the Warren E. Burger Society for her "exemplary commitment to improving the administration of justice through extraordinary contributions of service or support to the National Center for State Courts."