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Girl Scouts learn law, bar offers scholarships

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Bar Crawl

Bar Crawl is Indiana Lawyer’s section highlighting bar association news around the state. The IL strives to include bar association news and trends in its regular stories, and we would like to include more news from specialty and county bars. If you’d like to submit an update about your bar association or a photo from an event your bar association has hosted, or if you have questions about having your bar association news included in the newspaper, please send it to Jennifer Montgomery at jmontgomery@ibj.com, along with contact information for any follow-up questions at least two weeks in advance of the issue date.

Girl Scouts learn law, legal careers

About 75 Girl Scouts learned about legal issues that may affect them and heard from practicing female lawyers about what it takes to become a lawyer or a judge at the Indiana State Bar Association’s Women in the Law Committee inaugural “Lady Justice” event March 26. The event took place at Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis.

In addition to the Girl Scouts in third, fourth, and fifth grade, 23 troop leaders and parents participated in the program. About 15 attorney volunteers interacted with the girls.

The girls completed two projects, had lunch, listened to a panel discussion, and watched a mock trial. The work will culminate in the Scouts earning a badge.

One of the activities involved the girls making a bracelet out of beads, with each bead representing a civil right that they have, such as the right to counsel. Another activity involved a drawing exercise where girls drew themselves at age 15, 25, and 50, after learning about how to set goals and make smart decisions. This portion of the event also had attorneys explain to small groups of girls how to plan to become a lawyer or judge, including how to prepare for college and law school.

After the projects, the girls listened to a panel discussion of women who shared their perspectives of becoming attorneys. Patty McKinnon talked about her experience as a solo attorney in Indianapolis; and Kelly Scanlan, an associate at Bose McKinney & Evans, gave her perspective as an attorney at a large firm. Marion Superior Judge Cynthia Ayers also shared her experience of becoming a judge.

The Girl Scouts also had lunch with the volunteer judges and attorneys, and witnessed a mock trial for the Big Bad Wolf. The script for the mock trial was written by Holly Wanzer, an attorney at Jocham Harden Dimick Jackson, and a Girl Scout troop leader.

Another attorney at Wanzer’s firm, name partner Stephenie Jocham, has been credited by other organizers as the person to first suggest the idea of a Girl Scout badge about the law.

The girls will earn a “Scales of Justice” patch after completing this program.

“We didn’t want to dumb this down for the girls,” said Marion Superior Magistrate Vickie Ransberger, one of the organizers of the event. “They’re a lot more knowledgeable than some people might give them credit for. They care. They think about things that are important to them.”

Ideally, Ransberger said, the program could be replicated for Girl Scouts all over the state or even around the country. Organizers worked closely with the Girl Scout organization to make sure it had the right qualifications for a badge.

While it is not the only law-related badge for Girl Scouts, it is the only one where the girls learn about how the law affects them and how they can someday become lawyers or judges.

– Rebecca Berfanger

Johnson Co. Bar offers scholarships

The Johnson County Bar Association is awarding at least two $1,000 scholarships to local students who plan to enroll in a four-year baccalaureate program at an accredited public or private university.

Interested seniors may obtain scholarship applications by contacting Stephen L. Huddleston at 317-736-5121. Applications must be submitted by April 15 to Stephen L. Huddleston; 98 W. Jefferson St.; Franklin, IN 46131.

– IL Staff

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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