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IndyBar: The IBF is in full swing for spring

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duncan Duncan

We have all finally made it through the winter that just never seemed to quit and I hope everyone is enjoying the long awaited return of warmer weather. We are now just over a quarter of the way through 2014 and I am happy to report that, like the welcome spring weather, your Indianapolis Bar Foundation is having meaningful impact throughout central Indiana. Thank you everyone for your generous contributions and continued support of the Foundation and the Indianapolis legal community.

The IBF recently awarded three academic scholarships to assist students during their law school career. The following students received academic scholarships in 2014: Rosalie F. Felton Scholarship awarded to Jason Sprinkle, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; Hon. S. Hugh Dillin Scholarship awarded to Marcus McGhee, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; and Neil E. Shook Scholarship awarded to Daniel Spungen, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In addition to these academic scholarships, four individuals received educational scholarships for the IndyBar’s summer 2014 Indy Bar Review course. This course, the only bar review course offered by a bar association in the country, will prepare these individuals to sit for the Indiana Bar Exam in July 2014. Individuals receiving educational scholarships in 2014 include: Graham Youngs; Whitney Coffin; and Vanessa Woolsey.

Under the direction of the Impact Fund Committee, chaired by Melanie Reichert, finalists for this year’s Impact Fund Grant have been announced. The final recipient will receive a grant of up to $35,000 to fund its project. Through its grant award, the IBF wishes to support a project presented by an organization that seeks to affect a substantial positive impact in central Indiana.

The finalists for this year’s Impact Fund are as follows:

1. Peace Learning Center - Creating a Case for Peace is an innovative project designed to teach the 622 elementary students, more than 50 staff members, and parents/guardians of students at Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) Thomas D. Gregg School #15 (first in poverty within the school district and situated within the second-highest crime rate in the city) about the tremendous responsibility lawyers and our legal system have to uphold justice while also creating a culture of peace by establishing a new peer mediation program at the school. The project will begin with teacher training in the summer of 2014; 20 peer mediators/student leaders will be trained at the start of the 2014-2015 school year; PLC facilitators will work in the school two days per week throughout the year to support the peer facilitators, hold office hours, communicate program related messages and teach peace education lessons in all classrooms; the student leaders will meet during lunchtime to plan school-wide activities involving lawyers to achieve project goals, parent nights with lawyers, and discuss the peer mediation initiative; and three parent nights will be held throughout the school year to build relationships between lawyers and the school community. The program is designed to be nearly self-sustaining because the students and staff will be trained to continue the peer mediation program after the first year of training, and the community coordinator at IPS #15 will be able to assume the duty of coordinating volunteer opportunities for the Indianapolis legal community after initial relationships have been established and training has been provided by PLC’s volunteer coordinator.

2. The Joseph Maley Foundation (“JMF”) plans to start its Parent Education and Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program for Central Indiana Students with Individualized Education Programs in the summer of 2014. Pertinent to the educational calendar year, the JMF will roll out this program to the public in August/September 2014 and proceed to work with families in August/September and January/February of each school year to coincide with semester cycles, with ongoing counseling and advocacy year-round. Funding would provide staff for community and family outreach, paralegal assistance on intake of matters needing legal advocacy, and educational programs through central Indiana. IndyBar members would be recruited to serve as volunteer speakers, volunteer writers of educational materials, and as pro bono advocates for students as necessary and appropriate in their IEP planning and implementation. There is a tremendous unmet need for these services. The JMF has a proven track record of success in programming and delivery of services, and a growing and strong donor base to sustain this program beyond the significant assistance that the Impact Grant would provide.

Videos of each finalist’s presentation to the Impact Committee have been emailed to the IBF’s Distinguished Fellows and Senior Fellows, and I ask all recipients of the survey to take a few minutes to watch these presentations and mark your ballot for which program you would like to receive the Impact Fund Grant. The award of the 2014 Impact Fund Grant will be announced at a meeting of IndyBar members to be held May 28, 2014, at 9 a.m. at the Skyline Club. Please plan on attending this meeting of members by registering at indybar.org/events.

Last year’s Impact Fund was awarded to Indiana Legal Services, Inc. (“ILS”) to fund the expansion of ILS’s Military Assistance Project (“MAP”). Through this award, the ILS has developed a Military Cultural Competency Manual being utilized as a resource by pro bono attorneys in implementing workshops, clinics and training sessions and/or offering direct legal services addressing common legal issues encountered by Hoosier veterans on a regular basis. Look for more updates on the successes of MAP to come.

Congratulations to all scholarship recipients and best of luck to our Impact Fund finalists. Finally, thank you to all of our donors! Without your generous contributions and support, none of this could be possible. Your gifts enable this Foundation to continue have meaningful impact, not only to the Indianapolis legal community, but to the Indianapolis community at large.

If you haven’t already, please donate to the IBF’s Impact of One Campaign. No gift is too small, but imagine the collective impact we can have if all of us donate the equivalent of one billable hour. I ask you to be part of the “Impact of One” and donate to the IBF of this year.•
 

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  1. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  2. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  3. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  4. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

  5. Brian W, I fear I have not been sufficiently entertaining to bring you back. Here is a real laugh track that just might do it. When one is grabbed by the scruff of his worldview and made to choose between his Confession and his profession ... it is a not a hard choice, given the Confession affects eternity. But then comes the hardship in this world. Imagine how often I hear taunts like yours ... "what, you could not even pass character and fitness after they let you sit and pass their bar exam ... dude, there must really be something wrong with you!" Even one of the Bishop's foremost courtiers said that, when explaining why the RCC refused to stand with me. You want entertaining? How about watching your personal economy crash while you have a wife and five kids to clothe and feed. And you can't because you cannot work, because those demanding you cast off your Confession to be allowed into "their" profession have all the control. And you know that they are wrong, dead wrong, and that even the professional code itself allows your Faithful stand, to wit: "A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law." YET YOU ARE A NONPERSON before the BLE, and will not be heard on your rights or their duties to the law -- you are under tyranny, not law. And so they win in this world, you lose, and you lose even your belief in the rule of law, and demoralization joins poverty, and very troubling thoughts impeaching self worth rush in to fill the void where your career once lived. Thoughts you did not think possible. You find yourself a failure ... in your profession, in your support of your family, in the mirror. And there is little to keep hope alive, because tyranny rules so firmly and none, not the church, not the NGO's, none truly give a damn. Not even a new court, who pay such lip service to justice and ancient role models. You want entertainment? Well if you are on the side of the courtiers running the system that has crushed me, as I suspect you are, then Orwell must be a real riot: "There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever." I never thought they would win, I always thought that at the end of the day the rule of law would prevail. Yes, the rule of man's law. Instead power prevailed, so many rules broken by the system to break me. It took years, but, finally, the end that Dr Bowman predicted is upon me, the end that she advised the BLE to take to break me. Ironically, that is the one thing in her far left of center report that the BLE (after stamping, in red ink, on Jan 22) is uninterested in, as that the BLE and ADA office that used the federal statute as a sword now refuses to even dialogue on her dire prediction as to my fate. "C'est la vie" Entertaining enough for you, status quo defender?

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