RebeccaBerfanger

Rebecca Berfanger joined the Indiana Lawyer staff in 2006. She typically covers law schools, bar associations, pro bono and social justice issues, and interesting things lawyers do when they're not working.

She reported for legal publications in Boston from 2001 to 2004, and earned her MSJ in magazine publishing from Northwestern University in 2005. She has taught magazine publishing as an adjunct professor at her alma mater Ball State University, where she majored in French and journalism and graduated with honors in 2000.

The Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has honored her work annually since 2006. In 2008, she received the ACLU of Indiana's Media Defender of Liberty award.

She has also written for non-legal publications while living in Indianapolis, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Recent Articles

Attorneys discuss pros and cons of practicing in 2 states

April 13, 2011
Attorneys in Indiana know that they must meet certain ongoing requirements to maintain their law licenses: CLE hours, and staying abreast of procedural changes. Why, then, would anyone want to be licensed in two states?
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Protective Order Pro Bono Project offers training

March 30, 2011
For the last 10 years, volunteer attorneys and students in central Indiana have been helping domestic violence victims obtain protective orders, but before embarking on this process, volunteers must be trained on various matters.
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Girl Scouts learn law, bar offers scholarships

March 30, 2011
Girl Scouts from Indiana recently learned about the law and legal careers. Also, the Johnson County Bar Association is offering scholarships to local students.
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Law School Briefs - 3/30/11

March 30, 2011
Two Indiana law schools ranked in the top 20 of U.S. News & World Report's annual list of top graduate schools. The American Bar Association has recognized Valparaiso University School of Law.
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Legal analysts use media to educate public about issues

March 30, 2011
Lawyers and judges who eat, sleep, and breathe the law might find it easy to forget that not everyone understands the finer points of how the justice system works. This is where legal commentators – analysts of the inner workings of the legal system – come into play.
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Law school dean on NFL Network as legal analyst

March 16, 2011
If you watch the NFL Network, you may have recognized a familiar name among the commentators. Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis Dean Gary R. Roberts has been serving as an on-air legal analyst for the network discussing the current labor dispute between NFL owners and players.
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President shares MCBA goals

March 16, 2011
Minority bar associations continue to benefit the Indiana legal community by offering diverse perspectives. Members benefit from networking opportunities, and the bars help to maintain a positive professional presence in the communities they serve.
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Race for LACE supports Kenyan Legal Aid Clinic

March 16, 2011
A few years after several Indianapolis judges and attorneys helped form a legal aid clinic in western Kenya, that clinic is thriving. Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Patricia Riley, a co-founder of the Legal Aid Centre of Eldoret, traveled there earlier this year to see progress being.
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Encouraging diversity in CASA programs

March 16, 2011
Having volunteers and staff who can relate to families that interact with Court Appointed Special Advocates programs has proven invaluable to a number of county-level CASA programs in Indiana. Indianapolis-based Child Advocates Inc. received the National CASA Inclusion Award for its inclusion and diversity plan March 20 at the National CASA conference in Chicago.
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Bar Crawl - March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011
The Evansville Bar Association will celebrate Law Day 2011 in late April. On April 28, mock trials and a student lunch will take place; Applications for an October 2011 to October 2013 term on the Indiana State Bar Association board of governors are due April 1.
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Recent Blog Posts

Do parades and other big events interrupt your work?

March 17, 2011
Has today being St. Patrick’s Day been a cause for celebration or inconvenience, especially if you’re office is on or near a parade route?
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We the People seeks support

March 14, 2011
To express their concerns over proposed budget cuts eliminating the We the People civic education program, a group of that program’s alumni from Indiana have started a Facebook petition to tell Congress to continue the program’s funding.
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Museum focuses on justice system

March 7, 2011

Museum offers response to dramatization of crime and punishment using history, artifacts of crimes and criminals throughout U.S. history, and simulators used to train police.

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Happy Valentine's Day

February 14, 2011
The Marion County Clerk’s Office has raised more than $5,500 for American Heart Association since 2007 from its “Chapel of Love” event on Valentine’s Day. This year’s event had 35 couples who reserved a spot to say “I do.”
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Observations of immigration bill hearing

February 10, 2011
A reporter’s observations about the Senate Committee on Pensions and Labor hearing on Senate Bill 590, an immigration bill, from the hallway outside of the Senate Chamber.
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  1. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  2. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  3. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

  4. "...not those committed in the heat of an argument." If I ever see a man physically abusing a woman or a child and I'm close enough to intercede I will not ask him why he is abusing her/him. I will give him a split second to cease his attack and put his hands in the air while I call the police. If he continues, I will still call the police but to report, "Man down with a gunshot wound,"instead.

  5. And so the therapeutic state is weaonized. How soon until those with ideologies opposing the elite are disarmed in the name of mental health? If it can start anywhere it can start in the hoosiers' slavishly politically correct capital city.

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