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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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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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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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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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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Law School Briefs; March 16, 2011

March 16, 2011
The third annual Equal Justice Works dinner at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis will take place April 9 at 6 p.m.; Research by the Indiana University Maurer School of Law’s Center on the Global Legal Profession was featured in an ABA Journal cover story titled “What Lawyers Earn”; Students at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, along with students from other schools in central Indiana, have started a program to provide free legal services to residents of Indianapolis.
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Loan repayment assistance now available

March 16, 2011
Applications for the John R. Justice Student Loan Repayment Program are due March 31 to the Office of the Indiana Attorney General.
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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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