John S. Terry

John was admitted to the Bar in 1998 and is a second generation lawyer. He is a lifelong resident of Carmel. He says that he went to all three Carmel schools – Carmel Elementary, Carmel Junior High and Carmel High School. His father worked for one of the biggest law firms in Indiana, but counselled John to strike a balance between work and life which helped drive his decision to open his own law firm. With Cate, Terry & Gookins he is bringing his nearly 20 years of legal experience to his home community to fulfill his father’s advice.

John regularly advises men and women, their companies and families, through the day to day and long term challenges they may encounter. John prepares simple “mom and pop” wills and trusts as well as more complicated estate documents for those that need to develop a plan to avoid or mitigate the federal estate tax. For business owners, he provides advice regarding business formation and entity selection, contract preparation and review, asset and stock sales and acquisitions, and business succession planning. The touchstone of his practice is the lasting relationships he makes with his clients.

Community service is also an important hallmark of John’s non-professional life. He is on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Hamilton County Parks and the Actors Theatre of Indiana. He can be found also coaching his children’s sports teams through the Carmel Dad’s Club.

John is a past president of the Hamilton County Bar Association. He holds a preeminent AV rating from Martindale Hubbell, is rated as a 10 out of 10 attorney by Avvo, and has been previously recognized as a Rising Star by the Indianapolis Monthly Magazine. In 2015 he was a contributing author for a Thompson Reuters publication called Inside the Minds™ – Best Practices for Structuring Trusts and Estates.

John is a life member of the NRA and a fan of IU Basketball, the Pacers, the Colts and the Wabash College Little Giants. In his spare time he enjoys reading classic mysteries like Sherlock Holmes. He also writes poetry and literature and hopes one day to publish his own book of fiction.

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Indiana, 1998, Northern District of Indiana, 2014
  • Indiana, 1998
  • Illinois, 2015


  • Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, Indiana
    • J.D. – 1998
  • Wabash College
    • A.B. – 1995

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • Hamilton County Bar Association, President (2010 – 2011), Vice President (2007-2009), Treasurer (2003 – 2007)
  • Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development, Board Member, 2004 – 2014
  • Actors Theatre of Indiana, Board of Directors Member, 2015 – Present
  • The Legacy Fund, Scholarship Committee Member, 2015 – Present
  • Friends of Hamilton County Parks, Inc., Board of Directors, 2015-Present

Published Opinions:

  • Garner v. State, 59 N.E.3d 355, 2016 Ind. App. LEXIS 334 (Ind. Ct. App. 2016)