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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. 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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