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. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.