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IBA: Giving Thanks: Pay it forward by offering your expertise

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Since 2007, attorney volunteers have assisted hundreds of individuals prepare for times when they can no longer speak for themselves through the Low Asset Wills program. For IndyBar volunteers it is easy: clients are pre-screened and template forms are provided.

Consider volunteering a small piece of your time for this program during the first quarter of 2013. The time commitment is minimal, but your impact is great. Feedback shows that each client commitment averages three to five hours.

This year the Pro Bono Standing Committee has expanded the program to include a Modest Means income-qualification level. Volunteers can choose: take only clients qualified to have their documents drafted pro bono, or agree to hold a complimentary consultation and charge no more than $75/hour for a modest means client while also taking one pro bono client as well.

Please contact Caren Chopp at cchopp@indybar.org or 269-2000 if you are interested in participating or have questions. Specialized training will not be provided but we may be able to pair you with a mentor. If you plan to participate in this program, be sure to renew your IndyBar membership for 2013 as all volunteers must be current IndyBar members.•

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  1. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

  2. If the end result is to simply record the spoke word, then perhaps some day digital recording may eventually be the status quo. However, it is a shallow view to believe the professional court reporter's function is to simply report the spoken word and nothing else. There are many aspects to being a professional court reporter, and many aspects involved in producing a professional and accurate transcript. A properly trained professional steno court reporter has achieved a skill set in a field where the average dropout rate in court reporting schools across the nation is 80% due to the difficulty of mastering the necessary skills. To name just a few "extras" that a court reporter with proper training brings into a courtroom or a deposition suite; an understanding of legal procedure, technology specific to the legal profession, and an understanding of what is being said by the attorneys and litigants (which makes a huge difference in the quality of the transcript). As to contracting, or anti-contracting the argument is simple. The court reporter as governed by our ethical standards is to be the independent, unbiased individual in a deposition or courtroom setting. When one has entered into a contract with any party, insurance carrier, etc., then that reporter is no longer unbiased. I have been a court reporter for over 30 years and I echo Mr. Richardson's remarks that I too am here to serve.

  3. A competitive bid process is ethical and appropriate especially when dealing with government agencies and large corporations, but an ethical line is crossed when court reporters in Pittsburgh start charging exorbitant fees on opposing counsel. This fee shifting isn't just financially biased, it undermines the entire justice system, giving advantages to those that can afford litigation the most. It makes no sense.

  4. "a ttention to detail is an asset for all lawyers." Well played, Indiana Lawyer. Well played.

  5. I have a appeals hearing for the renewal of my LPN licenses and I need an attorney, the ones I have spoke to so far want the money up front and I cant afford that. I was wondering if you could help me find one that takes payments or even a pro bono one. I live in Indiana just north of Indianapolis.

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