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 ( for information on getting involved in IBA pro bono events and programs.•


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  1. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  2. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  3. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  4. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?

  5. Research by William J Federer Chief Justice John Marshall commented May 9, 1833, on the pamphlet The Relation of Christianity to Civil Government in the United States written by Rev. Jasper Adams, President of the College of Charleston, South Carolina (The Papers of John Marshall, ed. Charles Hobson, Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2006, p, 278): "Reverend Sir, I am much indebted to you for the copy of your valuable sermon on the relation of Christianity to civil government preached before the convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Charleston, on the 13th of February last. I have read it with great attention and advantage. The documents annexed to the sermon certainly go far in sustaining the proposition which it is your purpose to establish. One great object of the colonial charters was avowedly the propagation of the Christian faith. Means have been employed to accomplish this object, and those means have been used by government..." John Marshall continued: "No person, I believe, questions the importance of religion to the happiness of man even during his existence in this world. It has at all times employed his most serious meditation, and had a decided influence on his conduct. The American population is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and Religion are identified. It would be strange, indeed, if with such a people, our institutions did not presuppose Christianity, and did not often refer to it, and exhibit relations with it. Legislation on the subject is admitted to require great delicacy, because freedom of conscience and respect for our religion both claim our most serious regard. You have allowed their full influence to both. With very great respect, I am Sir, your Obedt., J. Marshall."