ILNews

Long-time legal aid leader stepping down

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Indiana Legal Services executive director Norman Metzger has announced he will retire March 31, 2015, ending a tenure at the nonprofit that stretched more than four decades.

“Norman has been and remains a committed defender of the legal rights of the poor and vulnerable,” said Mary Fondrisi, president of the ILS board of directors and a partner with Smith Carpenter Fondrisi & Cummins in Jeffersonville. “Through his leadership of ILS, Norman has both personally and indirectly improved the lives of individuals and families throughout Indiana.”

The board of directors has hired Management Information Exchange to conduct a national search for a new executive director to lead ILS.

Metzger has guided what was then known as Legal Services Organization of Indianapolis, Inc. since 1970. Under his leadership, the nonprofit expanded beyond Marion County into central and southern Indiana communities like Bloomington, Evansville, Muncie, Richmond and Terre Haute.

In 2000, at the urging of the organization’s parent, the national Legal Services Corp., Metzger negotiated a merger with the Legal Services of Northwest Indiana, Inc. in Gary to create Indiana Legal Services. The following year, the Legal Services Program of Northern Indiana, Inc. in South Bend and Lafayette joined the organization.

Today, ILS is the largest poverty law firm in Indiana, serving clients in all 92 counties.

A native of Larwill, Metzger graduated from Manchester University and the University of Michigan Law School.

He is credited with helping to pioneer special legal practices in poverty law by assigning experienced attorneys to focus on frequently recurring legal issues in certain disadvantaged populations. The resulting special projects started in the 1980s by tackling the legal problems facing farmers and prison inmates. The projects soon expanded to include special initiatives for AIDS victims.

Currently, ILS has nine special legal projects that respond to complicated legal matters involving housing, consumer rights, health care, immigration and language rights, seniors, the homeless, low-income taxpayers, migrant farm workers and military veterans.
 
The agency has posted the job announcement on its website and requests résumes by Sept. 12. Anyone interested in applying for the position can find more information by visiting www.indianalegalservices.org.


 
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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