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Evansville attorney recognized for service

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Scott Wylie was turned down for the first job he applied for in legal services.

It was 1988 and Wylie, then a student at the University of Illinois College of Law, was following his long-held desire to do public service work. Fortunately, the disappointment of not getting the job did not dissuade him.

sw-probono-15col.jpg Attorneys Beverly Corn (left) and Scott Wylie champion pro bono legal assistance. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

He went forward to build a career in California before settling in Evansville to join the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana. His passion and idealism coupled with his efforts to provide legal services to those at the margins of society recently earned him praise from his colleagues in pro bono services across the country.

Wylie was recognized with the 2013 Tanya Neiman Pro Bono Professional of the Year Award by the National Association of Pro Bono Professionals. The honor was presented during the American Bar Association’s Equal Justice Conference in St. Louis, Mo., in May.

“You can’t do this work unless you want to change the world,” Wylie said.

Even while he concedes the problem of poverty will not be solved in his lifetime, he believes the work he and his Indiana co-workers are doing today may help provide a solution at some later time.

“It is hard work, and it’s not that it isn’t depressing at times,” Wylie said. However, he noted the satisfaction of providing something of value that the person otherwise wouldn’t be able to get is very rewarding.

The day after graduation from law school in 1989, Wylie packed his Mercury and drove to Los Angeles. He spent 17 years in southern California where he practiced in a private firm working mostly for nonprofits. He also taught at a law school and participated in pro bono initiatives.

At present, Wylie is the executive director of the Vanderburgh Community Foundation, helps administer the Volunteer Lawyer Program and serves on the Indiana Pro Bono Commission.

He is quick to deflect the credit for the Neiman Award from himself to the pro bono program as a whole, noting Evansville deserves to get that recognition as much as any major city.

Chuck Dunlap, executive director of the Indiana Bar Foundation which coordinates the Indiana Pro Bono Commission, applauded Wylie.

“Indiana is extremely lucky to have such a dedicated public servant like Scott Wylie,” Dunlap said. “Scott’s national award for Pro Bono Professional of the Year is richly deserved and is a testament to his longstanding leadership in promoting access to justice in Indiana and nationally. I can think of no better representative to demonstrate the spirit of volunteerism and public service that Hoosier lawyers practice on a daily basis.”

Wylie was surprised to receive the award. He previously had helped select recipients but had no idea he had been tapped for 2013.

At the luncheon during the Equal Justice Conference, the keynote speaker was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Missouri Richard Teitelman.

Ironically, before Teitelman ascended to the bench, he served for nearly 20 years as the executive director and general counsel for Legal Services in Eastern Missouri. He was the man who turned Wylie down in 1988.

“It was fun to speak with him afterwards and tell him I’d done OK, even though he had chosen not to hire me,” Wylie said.•
 

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  1. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

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  4. 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.

  5. 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 ...

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