Pro Bono: for the public good. As lawyers, we know this as legal work undertaken free of charge. Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct makes clear our obligation to provide pro bono publico service, even referencing an aspirational goal of fifty hours per year, either through service or equivalent financial contribution. As an IBA member, we help you achieve this goal. No matter where your interests lie, the IBA has something to offer in pro bono opportunities. Below are just a few of the programs offered this year:
Ask A Lawyer: Twice annually, the Bar helps hundreds of Hoosiers by staffing local libraries with attorneys to provide free legal advice as a service to the community. On Tuesday October 12, 2010, you will have an opportunity to be a part of this community pro bono event; volunteers are still needed for two hour shifts at libraries around the city. This past April, IndyBar members helped nearly 500 families, making that program the most successful to-date.
Legal Line: On the second Tuesday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., IBA members provide free legal advice to the public by phone. In July alone, Bar members assisted 122 member s of the public in answering their legal questions. Mediation: The ADR and Pro Bono Committees hosted the first annual Mediation Day on August 3, 2010 at Baker & Daniels. Volunteers mediated screened cases for litigants who qualified for modest means mediation. Volunteers waived the normal hourly fee and the litigants’ share of the modest mean rate was donated to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation.
Foreclosure Prevention: The Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network, the HOPE NOW Alliance, and the IBA Pro Bono Committee are hosting home borrower outreach events to answer general legal questions about foreclosure proceedings. Attorney volunteers are being sought for two hour shifts at two events planned for September 1st and September 16th.
Bankruptcy Help Line: On the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, free telephone assistance is provided to the public on bankruptcy-related issues. This free legal advice program is sponsored by the Commercial and Bankruptcy Law Section and is made possible by a cy pres award from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
Low Asset Wills Program: Providing free wills and advance directives to those in need, a recent “Thank you” received by the IBA sums up the importance of this program: “Just want you to know that I did take advantage of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Low Asset Wills program. What a blessing it was. I am 68 years old and live on a fixed income. My only experience with an Attorney was years ago and not a very good one. He took my money and I got nothing in return. I knew I needed to get a will done because I do own my own home. I wanted to be sure that all of my children and grandson shared equally in the money when the house is sold after my passing. The Attorney you told me to contact was Ms. Amy L VonDielingen, and I can not praise her enough. Very professional, always on time. Not once did I ever get the feeling that I was not a paid client. She took the time to explain everything to me making sure that I understood everything, so that the will would state exactly what is to be done after I am gone. We also did a Living Will and a Power of Attorney. I can’t tell you just how glad I was to get that done. If I ever need an Attorney again I would certainly call her. This is a wonderful program, one that I trust will be offered every year. Thanks again.”
What a blessing this program and all others are indeed. Thank you to the IBA Pro Bono Coordinator, Caren Chopp; Chairs Brita Horvath and Andrew Campbell of Baker & Daniels LLP, and all members of the Pro Bono Committee; to all other committees and partners listed above, and to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation for its support of these programs. Last and certainly not least, thank you to each and every volunteer who has given time to pro bono initiatives. Please contact Caren Chopp (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information on getting involved in IBA pro bono events and programs.•