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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. Should be beat this rap, I would not recommend lion hunting in Zimbabwe to celebrate.

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  4. All these sites putting up all the crap they do making Brent Look like A Monster like he's not a good person . First off th fight actually started not because of Brent but because of one of his friends then when the fight popped off his friend ran like a coward which left Brent to fend for himself .It IS NOT a crime to defend yourself 3 of them and 1 of him . just so happened he was a better fighter. I'm Brent s wife so I know him personally and up close . He's a very caring kind loving man . He's not abusive in any way . He is a loving father and really shouldn't be where he is not for self defense . Now because of one of his stupid friends trying to show off and turning out to be nothing but a coward and leaving Brent to be jumped by 3 men not only is Brent suffering but Me his wife , his kids abd step kidshis mom and brother his family is left to live without him abd suffering in more ways then one . that man was and still is my smile ....he's the one real thing I've ever had in my life .....f@#@ You Lafayette court system . Learn to do your jobs right he maybe should have gotten that year for misdemeanor battery but that s it . not one person can stand to me and tell me if u we're in a fight facing 3 men and u just by yourself u wouldn't fight back that you wouldn't do everything u could to walk away to ur family ur kids That's what Brent is guilty of trying to defend himself against 3 men he wanted to go home tohisfamily worse then they did he just happened to be a better fighter and he got the best of th others . what would you do ? Stand there lay there and be stomped and beaten or would u give it everything u got and fight back ? I'd of done the same only I'm so smallid of probably shot or stabbed or picked up something to use as a weapon . if it was me or them I'd do everything I could to make sure I was going to live that I would make it hone to see my kids and husband . I Love You Brent Anthony Forever & Always .....Soul 1 baby

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