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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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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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 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. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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