Russell J. Sanders

Civil Mediator


Russ Sanders was born and raised in Indianapolis and graduated from IU Law School, Indianapolis, cum laude in 1975.

Following graduation he became Assistant Director to Dean Cleon Faust of the Indiana Lawyers Commission where he worked with prominent Attorneys, Judges and government officials in criminal justice research, reform and legislation. During his time with the Lawyers Commission Russ met J. Lee McNeely who invited him in 1976 to practice law in Shelbyville as his partner. Russ remained with Mr. McNeely for 20 years in a practice that included tort litigation as well as school, hospital, planning and zoning, labor and business law. Their practice went from a small two man county seat firm to what is now the largest firm in southeastern Indiana.

As a lawyer Russ has been active in the Shelby County Bar Association as a past president and in the Indiana Bar Association as a chairman of the Young Lawyers Section and member of the Board of Directors. He is also a Life Fellow of the Indiana Bar Foundation.

In 1996, Russ realized a career long dream and was elected Judge of Shelby Superior Court II. That Court has general jurisdiction handling civil and criminal cases both large and small. Judge Sanders has presided over traffic infractions and murder cases as well as small claims disputes and multi-million dollar lawsuits.

During his terms on the bench, Judge Sanders has earned the Judicial College Diploma and was awarded a Certificate in Judicial Process in recognition of his completion of the Indiana Graduate Program for Judges. He has also served on the Criminal Benchbook Committee and chaired the Special Courts Committee of the Judicial Conference of Indiana.

Both as a litigator and as an adjudicator, Russ has been involved in and supported alternative dispute resolution. When the opportunity was offered to become a mediator with The Mediation Group he jumped at it.

As he told Governor Daniels in his letter of resignation from 14 years on the bench: “At this stage of my legal career to be able to complete the triumvirate of representation and adjudication with mediation is too tempting an offer to decline.” While an attorney Russ completed the mediation training and was certified. Over the past six years Russ has successfully mediated for well over 1000 clients. He looks forward to the continuing challenges of his career and is available to travel to his clients’ offices in order to bring his ADR skills to your door.

Russ and his wife June have raised four children and have three grandchildren. They enjoy golf, travel and time spent with their family.