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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. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  2. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

  3. It's a big fat black mark against the US that they radicalized a lot of these Afghan jihadis in the 80s to fight the soviets and then when they predictably got around to biting the hand that fed them, the US had to invade their homelands, install a bunch of corrupt drug kingpins and kleptocrats, take these guys and torture the hell out of them. Why for example did the US have to sodomize them? Dubya said "they hate us for our freedoms!" Here, try some of that freedom whether you like it or not!!! Now they got even more reasons to hate us-- lets just keep bombing the crap out of their populations, installing more puppet regimes, arming one faction against another, etc etc etc.... the US is becoming a monster. No wonder they hate us. Here's my modest recommendation. How about we follow "Just War" theory in the future. St Augustine had it right. How about we treat these obvious prisoners of war according to the Geneva convention instead of torturing them in sadistic and perverted ways.

  4. As usual, John is "spot-on." The subtle but poignant points he makes are numerous and warrant reflection by mediators and users. Oh but were it so simple.

  5. ACLU. Way to step up against the police state. I see a lot of things from the ACLU I don't like but this one is a gold star in its column.... instead of fighting it the authorities should apologize and back off.

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