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IBA: Celebrate Ask a Lawyer's Ten Year Anniversary

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By Julie M. Armstrong

In November, 2000 then Indianapolis Bar Association President Karen Turner, Indiana Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm, and Indianapolis lawyer Patty McKinnon teamed up to make the Indianapolis Bar’s first Ask a Lawyer a reality. The brainchild of the late Hon. Paul H. Buchanan, Jr., Ask a Lawyer was created to give all Indianapolis citizens the opportunity not just to gain free access to an attorney, but to personalize the profession.

Judge Buchanan thought that if more people knew a lawyer, really had an opportunity to sit and talk with a lawyer, it would be more difficult to think the worst of those who practice law. He knew how highly he regarded the people he encountered in practice and wanted to share them with those in need. From that desire Ask a Lawyer began.

Armed with Judge Buchanan’s vision and monetary support, IBA President Karen Turner began seeking key volunteers to turn the vision into a reality. First on board was Justice Boehm who agreed to oversee the creation of The Commonly Asked Questions About Indiana Law, which still serves as the handbook for Ask a Lawyer volunteers.

Patty McKinnon joined the team to shape the recruitment plan for the 100 volunteer attorneys needed to make the program a success. Within a few short months sites were secured, all volunteer spots were filled, and the handbook was complete. Ask a Lawyer was born.

Since that time Ask a Lawyer has continued to be held twice each year averaging service to over 350 central Indiana residents per session. That’s over 3,500 people getting to know a lawyer, not just asking a lawyer. Judge Buchanan must be proud.

Play a role in celebrating our tenth year by volunteering to assist with our October 12, 2010 session. Attorneys are needed to staff the following Marion County Library locations from 2-4 p.m. or 4-6 p.m.:

Brightwood

East Washington

East 38th

Shelby

Southport

To volunteer please contact IBA Pro Bono Coordinator Caren Chopp at cchopp@indybar.org.•

Julie Armstrong has been on staff at the Indianapolis Bar since 1991, serving as Executive Director of the Association and Foundation since 1995.

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  1. Too many attorneys take their position as a license to intimidate and threaten non attorneys in person and by mail. Did find it ironic that a reader moved to comment twice on this article could not complete a paragraph without resorting to insulting name calling (rethuglican) as a substitute for reasoned discussion. Some people will never get the point this action should have made.

  2. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  3. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  4. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  5. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

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