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Hickey: Where There's a Will There's a... Thank You

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IBA-Hickey-ChristinePro Bono: for the public good. As lawyers, we know this as legal work undertaken free of charge. Rule 6.1 of the Rules of Professional Conduct makes clear our obligation to provide pro bono publico service, even referencing an aspirational goal of fifty hours per year, either through service or equivalent financial contribution. As an IBA member, we help you achieve this goal. No matter where your interests lie, the IBA has something to offer in pro bono opportunities. Below are just a few of the programs offered this year:

Ask A Lawyer: Twice annually, the Bar helps hundreds of Hoosiers by staffing local libraries with attorneys to provide free legal advice as a service to the community. On Tuesday October 12, 2010, you will have an opportunity to be a part of this community pro bono event; volunteers are still needed for two hour shifts at libraries around the city. This past April, IndyBar members helped nearly 500 families, making that program the most successful to-date.

Legal Line: On the second Tuesday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., IBA members provide free legal advice to the public by phone. In July alone, Bar members assisted 122 member s of the public in answering their legal questions. Mediation: The ADR and Pro Bono Committees hosted the first annual Mediation Day on August 3, 2010 at Baker & Daniels. Volunteers mediated screened cases for litigants who qualified for modest means mediation. Volunteers waived the normal hourly fee and the litigants’ share of the modest mean rate was donated to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation.

Foreclosure Prevention: The Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network, the HOPE NOW Alliance, and the IBA Pro Bono Committee are hosting home borrower outreach events to answer general legal questions about foreclosure proceedings. Attorney volunteers are being sought for two hour shifts at two events planned for September 1st and September 16th.

Bankruptcy Help Line: On the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, free telephone assistance is provided to the public on bankruptcy-related issues. This free legal advice program is sponsored by the Commercial and Bankruptcy Law Section and is made possible by a cy pres award from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Low Asset Wills Program: Providing free wills and advance directives to those in need, a recent “Thank you” received by the IBA sums up the importance of this program: “Just want you to know that I did take advantage of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Low Asset Wills program. What a blessing it was. I am 68 years old and live on a fixed income. My only experience with an Attorney was years ago and not a very good one. He took my money and I got nothing in return. I knew I needed to get a will done because I do own my own home. I wanted to be sure that all of my children and grandson shared equally in the money when the house is sold after my passing. The Attorney you told me to contact was Ms. Amy L VonDielingen, and I can not praise her enough. Very professional, always on time. Not once did I ever get the feeling that I was not a paid client. She took the time to explain everything to me making sure that I understood everything, so that the will would state exactly what is to be done after I am gone. We also did a Living Will and a Power of Attorney. I can’t tell you just how glad I was to get that done. If I ever need an Attorney again I would certainly call her. This is a wonderful program, one that I trust will be offered every year. Thanks again.”

What a blessing this program and all others are indeed. Thank you to the IBA Pro Bono Coordinator, Caren Chopp; Chairs Brita Horvath and Andrew Campbell of Baker & Daniels LLP, and all members of the Pro Bono Committee; to all other committees and partners listed above, and to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation for its support of these programs. Last and certainly not least, thank you to each and every volunteer who has given time to pro bono initiatives. Please contact Caren Chopp (cchopp@indybar.org) for information on getting involved in IBA pro bono events and programs.•

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  1. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  2. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  3. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

  4. Been on social security sense sept 2011 2massive strokes open heart surgery and serious ovarian cancer and a blood clot in my lung all in 14 months. Got a letter in may saying that i didn't qualify and it was in form like i just applied ,called social security she said it don't make sense and you are still geting a check in june and i did ,now i get a check from my part D asking for payment for july because there will be no money for my membership, call my prescription coverage part D and confirmed no check will be there.went to social security they didn't want to answer whats going on just said i should of never been on it .no one knows where this letter came from was California im in virginia and been here sense my strokes and vcu filed for my disability i was in the hospital when they did it .It's like it was a error . My ,mothers social security was being handled in that office in California my sister was dealing with it and it had my social security number because she died last year and this letter came out of the same office and it came at the same time i got the letter for my mother benefits for death and they had the same date of being typed just one was on the mail Saturday and one on Monday. . I think it's a mistake and it should been fixed instead there just getting rid of me .i never got a formal letter saying when i was being tsken off.

  5. Employers should not have racially discriminating mind set. It has huge impact on the society what the big players do or don't do in the industry. Background check is conducted just to verify whether information provided by the prospective employee is correct or not. It doesn't have any direct combination with the rejection of the employees. If there is rejection, there should be something effective and full-proof things on the table that may keep the company or the people associated with it in jeopardy.

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