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IBA: Bar Leader Series Service Projects Impact Local Community

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By Kevin Morrissey, Lewis & Kappes PC

As part of the leadership development curriculum of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Bar Leader Series, the 25 members of Bar Leader Series Class X (BLS X) have been charged with creating, developing and executing service projects to benefit the Indianapolis community.

To this end, BLS X divided itself into five smaller groups based upon common interests. These common interests included various societal challenges, including Health & Fitness, Children’s Issues, Disabled Individuals, Women’s Issues, and Education. The groups then narrowed their focus within these broad categories according to their research of pressing needs within Indianapolis. To foster creativity and leadership, the Bar Association deliberately put few restrictions on the groups. The result is five inspired projects touching often overlooked segments of our city. I am proud to describe the five projects that have grown out of the hard work and planning of the 25 BLS X members.

Team 1

Team 1 has described its project as “Women Helping Women.” On March 5, this group hosted an event at the Skyline Club to benefit Dress for Success Indianapolis and the Julian Center. Attendees were invited to donate professional accessories and attire for disadvantaged women, which will then be donated to women in need to promote their economic independence and career development. The Julian Center is a nonprofit organization focusing on counseling and advocacy for survivors of domestic violence. According to my sources, this event was a smashing success and the group collected numerous donations to benefit both organizations.

Team 2

Team 2 has partnered with Growing Near West to promote Health & Fitness within the Indianapolis community. This group is organizing an event on Saturday, May 11 that will include the planting of an urban garden in the morning and health fair in the afternoon. The fair will include numerous activities that promote health and longevity such as Zumba classes and healthy cooking demonstrations. The event is scheduled to take place at the Friendship West Side Center for Excellence in Indianapolis. Interested IndyBar members are welcome to attend.

Team 3

Team 3 identified financial literacy and personal finance education of young people as its primary concern. Specifically, this project will educate local high school students about the day-to-day financial issues they will face immediately after high school. On April 8 and 15 these young lawyers will present seminars to construction trade classes at the Wayne Township Career Center. This Career Center serves students from 11 high schools, and Team 3 will offer four 30-minute presentations regarding insurance, budgeting, credit issues, loans, housing, and employment. The team will also create materials, including a CD/DVD of the curriculum from these presentations, to be donated to the Career Center for future use.

Team 4

Team 4 has been dubbed “Team Kids” and will target its efforts to educate fifth grade students at Skiles Test Elementary School about bullying. This group will present a workshop concerning the damage bullying causes as well as the choices they have when faced with bullying to these students on April 19. Team 4 seeks to provide these students with some of the tools and knowledge to be proactive in confronting and stopping bullying. As part of this program, this team has organized an anti-bullying picture-drawing contest for the fifth graders that will include the presentation of an award to the winning submission on May 17.

Team 5

Team 5 has chosen to focus on aiding the families of children with disabilities. This team has partnered with Indianapolis Public Schools and Damar Services to provide a resource guide for families of disabled children. Many of these families are unaware of the multitude of services and opportunities available to them and their children throughout Indianapolis. In addition to providing information resources, Team 5 has collected donations of goods and services to provide something of a “respite” for these families. These include meals, coupons for services, and gift cards to provide some relief to these disadvantaged families’ already overly-stressed checkbooks.

The Bar Leaders Series program has facilitated positive contributions in the Indianapolis area from the BLS X members. Be sure to mark your calendars for the upcoming service project events and activities. Thanks to those who have already supported these events with their time and money. It has been a pleasure for me to see these attorneys donate their time, skill, and effort to benefit others. I am proud to call each of them my friend. I look forward to reporting the continued success of these projects.•

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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