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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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