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Attorney Scott Barnhart

Scott Barnhart

Founding Partner

Contact Info:

After six and a half years gaining experience as an appellate and trial lawyer for the government, Mr. Barnhart founded Keffer Hirschauer LLP, where he practices in the areas of

  • Civil rights
  • Criminal law
  • Family law
  • Personal injury law

As a trial lawyer, Mr. Barnhart represents clients before criminal and civil courts throughout the State of Indiana. He firmly believes that the best litigation results are often the product of attorneys and clients who presume that their cases will be tried and prepare accordingly for that trial.

Because of his trial-tested strategy and his litigation experience, Mr. Barnhart is able to offer an in-depth advice concerning potential outcomes and what factors a client may or should consider when making a decision about his or her case.

A significant portion of Mr. Barnhart’s practice is devoted to the pursuit of civil rights cases against police departments, jails, prisons, and their respective officers. Those cases concern:

  • Police brutality
  • Sexual assaults
  • Dog bites
  • Jail deaths
  • Treatment of disabled individuals
  • Medical care for arrestees and prisoners

Backed By Education and Experience

Scott Barnhart grew up in the Evansville, Indiana, and attended the Indiana University, Bloomington. He graduated from IU’s Kelley School of Business and went onto attend the University of Toledo College of Law where he graduated with honors. While in law school, Mr. Barnhart began working in the Appeals Division of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office.

Where is Career as an Attorney Began

Following law school, he moved to Indianapolis and accepted a position as a Deputy Attorney General in the Appellate Division of the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. In that position, Mr. Barnhart was responsible for representing the State of Indiana in direct and post-conviction appeals and authored approximately four hundred appellate briefs. He has presented oral arguments before:

  • The Indiana Supreme Court
  • The Indiana Court of Appeals
  • The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Mr. Barnhart has handled cases involving various constitutional, statutory, and sentencing issues and has been counsel in approximately fifty published appellate opinions. He has the rare distinction of having successfully argued before the Indiana Supreme Court both as a government attorney and as a private defense attorney. He is regularly asked to serve as an instructor in continuing legal education programs providing insight on civil rights-related issues.

As either a public or private appellate practitioner, he has had the opportunity to address and litigate complex issues concerning constitutional law, criminal law, statutory construction, and commercial insurance coverage. While Mr. Barnhart began his career in government service as an appellate attorney, he later gained significant experience as a trial lawyer in both criminal and civil courts.

What Sets Him Apart

Because of his unique background and experience, he is frequently asked by media to comment on high profile legal topics or cases concerning both criminal and civil cases. Mr. Barnhart enjoys defending the constitution and ensuring that its principles are followed by the State and municipalities alike.

Mr. Barnhart’s legal experience also includes assisting clients in matters before administrative agencies and boards. As a former government lawyer, he assisted a state agency with administrative law matters including the prosecution of matters before an administrative board. Now as a private practitioner, Mr. Barnhart now uses his understanding and experience to assist clients in the navigation of what is often perceived as a confusing and intimidating process.

Whether it is attempting to informally resolve a dispute or moving forward with a contested hearing, Mr. Barnhart’s experience affords him a fundamental understanding of the decisions and the processes that administrative agencies use to regulate licensees or address issues concerning other stakeholders.

When it comes to administrative law, it is generally Mr. Barnhart’s goal to try and resolve issues or disputes informally either through an agreement or an agreed resolution through the government agency or board. However, a hearing before an administrative agency or board is sometimes necessary or is in the best interest of the client.

Mr. Barnhart has handled matters or represented clients before:

  • Indiana State Board of Nursing
  • The Indiana Board of Law Examiners
  • The Indiana Department of Insurance
  • The Indiana Department of Transportation
  • The Indiana Real Estate Commission
  • The Office of the Indiana State Chemist
  • Purdue University
  • The Indiana State Police
  • The Indiana Board of Pharmacy

Attorney Barnhart Remains Involved in the Community

In addition to his work as an attorney, Mr. Barnhart has volunteered and served in various capacities for the Indiana Bar Foundation. He currently serves as the Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee. During his tenure as Treasurer in 2015, the Bar Foundation awarded $1.4 million in grants for civil legal assistance.

That award was the first time in six years that the foundation had given out more than $1 million in grants to legal aid and pro bono groups. The Bar Foundation is a charitable foundation that is devoted to strengthening access to justice and appreciation for the rule of law through civic education, providing access to the justice system, and improvement in the legal profession.

An Attorney and a Professor

In addition to his responsibilities as an attorney, Mr. Barnhart also serves as an Adjunct Professor for a graduate program at the University of Indianapolis. He utilizes his skills and experience as an attorney to teach students about conflict resolution and conflict management systems.

Contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP today for assistance with criminal defense or family law matters.

Areas of Practice

  • 35% Civil Rights & Police Brutality
  • 25% Appeals
  • 25% Civil Litigation
  • 10% Criminal Law (including DUI)
  • 5% Post-Conviction Matters

Litigation Percentage

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • State of Indiana, 2005
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Indiana, 2005
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, 2005


  • University of Toledo College of Law, Toledo, Ohio
    • J.D. cum laude 2005
    • Honors: Deans Merit Law Scholarship
    • Honors: Criminal Law Moot Court Team
  • Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Bloomington, Indiana
    • B.S. 2001

Representative Cases

  • Wahl v. State, 51 N.E.3d 113 (Indiana Supreme Court 2016), reh'g denied (May 17, 2016)
  • Barnard v. Menard, Inc., 25 N.E.3d 750, 752 (Ind. Court of Appeals 2015)
  • Nicoson v. State, 998 N.E.2d 660 (Indiana Supreme Court 2010)
  • Hayes v. State, 906 N.E.2d 819 (Indiana Supreme Court 2009)
  • Freshwater v. State, 853 N.E.2d 941, 942 (Indiana Supreme Court 2006)
  • Gutermuth v. State, 868 N.E.2d 420 (Indiana Supreme Court 2007)
  • Boyd v. State, 866 N.E.2d 855 (Indiana Court of Appeals 2007)
  • Phillips v. State, 869 N.E.2d 512 (Indiana Court of Appeals 2007)
  • J.B. v. State, 849 N.E.2d 714 (Indiana Court of Appeals 2006)
  • Peters v. State, 888 N.E.2d 274 (Indiana Court of Appeals 2008)
  • Widduck v. State, 861 N.E.2d 1267 (Indiana Court of Appeals 2007)
  • Calhoon v. State, 842 N.E.2d 432, 436 (Indiana Court of Appeals 2006)
  • Markland v. State, 865 N.E.2d 639 (Indiana Court of Appeals 2007)
  • Haywood v. State, 875 N.E.2d 770, 773 (Indiana Court of Appeals 2007)
  • Jewell v. State, 887 N.E.2d 939, 940 (Indiana Supreme Court 2008)
  • Eaton v. State, 889 N.E.2d 297 (Indiana Supreme Court 2008)


  • Speaker, ICLEF Masters Series Seminar, Litigating Constitutional Rights: An Examination of Section 1983 & Other Constitutional Claims, August 26, 2016
  • Speaker, ICLEF Appellate Writing CLE, June 23, 2016
  • Speaker, IndyBar New Lawyer Roundtable, January 26, 2016
  • Speaker, ICLEF Masters Series on Constitutional Rights and Section 1983, August 14, 2014
  • Speaker, Indiana Sex and Violent Offender Registry Seminar, Indiana Attorney General’s Office, August 30, 2011
  • Speaker, Prosecutors Sued: Attorney General’s Representation on Forfeiture, Immigration, and Abortion Suits, 2011 IPAC Summer Conference
  • Speaker, Appealing to a Higher Power, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office Continuing Legal Education Program, January 13, 2009

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Indiana Bar Foundation, Member
    • President Elect
    • Member of the Executive Committee
  • Indiana Bar Foundation, Member
    • Board of Directors
  • Indiana Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • We the People Civic Education Program, Member
    • Committee Member
    • Judge and Volunteer
  • Indiana High School Mock Trial Program, Volunteer
  • American Association for Justice, Prior Member
  • Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, Member
  • National Advocacy for DUI Defense, Member & Superior Attorney
  • Indiana State Bar Association, Member
  • Indianapolis Bar Association, Member
  • Hamilton County Bar Association, Member
  • National High School Mock Trial Inc.,
    • Member of the Board of Directors 2016-2018

Past Employment Positions

  • Office of the Indiana Attorney General, Appellate Division, 2005-2008
  • Office of the Indiana Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, 2009-2012

Pro Bono Activities

  • Indiana State Bar Association Task Force on Lawyer Advertising
  • Indiana High School Mock Trial Competition Committee, 2015-current
  • Citizenship Education Committee, 2013-present
  • Indiana Bar Foundation Fundraising Committee, 2012 - 2014
  • Indiana High School Mock Trial Board Member, 2012 - 2014
  • Indiana High School Mock Trial Woods Dedication Award 2014

Learn more about Scott Barnhart

Our Accomplishments

  • Former Deputy Prosecutors

  • Former Fatal Alcohol Crash Team

  • LawInfo Lead Counsel Rated

  • Two-time Indianapolis Bar Association Director's Award Recipient

  • Top 40 Under 40 according to the National Trial Lawyers Association

  • Superior Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Attorney by the National Advocacy for DUI Defense

  • Former Marion County (Indianapolis) DUI Prosecution Unit