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IBA: Lawyers Doing Good

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Upon first learning that I am an attorney, a non-attorney friend said to me, “despite all of the stereotyped joke opportunities, lawyers do a lot of good in this world.” He is right. Lawyers do much good in this world, and I am fortunate to be personally acquainted with a great number of them whose generosity of time, talent, and treasure directly benefits our community and our profession.

scanlan-kelly-mug Kelly M. Scanlan, Wilson Kehoe & Winingham, 2012 IBF President

2012 was a whirlwind of a year. It was the first year that the Indianapolis Bar Foundation Board reached out to the prior year’s class of Distinguished Fellows and specifically invited them to serve as Foundation committee volunteers. We were pleasantly surprised to find that 100% of the 2011 class of Distinguished Fellows identified at least one committee on which to serve. The overwhelming response was proof positive that the Foundation’s donors strongly support the Foundation’s mission, and that they are willing to continue that support not just through charitable donations, but also through donations of their time and talent.

Early in the year, the Board, through its committees, began planning for its two annual fundraising events, the IBF Lawyer Links Classic and the Evening Under the Stars dinner/auction. Both events require significant planning, and their respective committees tackled with zeal the many challenges that arise during the planning stages.

Also early in the year, we met to nominate the 2012 class of Distinguished Fellows, who are a select group of members of the local legal community nominated by their peers based on their significant contributions to the legal profession or their communities at large. Importantly, they are also individuals who are willing to make a commitment to support the Foundation monetarily. The Foundation was pleased and privileged to add 27 Distinguished Fellows to its ranks last year.

In the spring, the Foundation awarded a single $35,000 grant to Reach for Youth to fund expansion of their successful Teen Court program. Specifically, grant funds supported a part-time Teen Court coordinator, whose role is to train student jury members at various schools (rather than at Reach for Youth offices). The coordinator’s goal is to encourage independent running of the program at each school, so that the program can benefit as many teens as possible without the need of a paid staff member.

For the first time in 2012, the Foundation sought input from you – its donors – in making the final determination regarding who would receive the substantial grant. The Board’s Impact Fund Committee reviewed grant applications and narrowed 16 grant applicants down to two groups who met grant criteria. We then reached out to all Distinguished and Senior Fellows and asked them to vote on the final recipient. Reach for Youth emerged the front-runner in a very close vote. Its Teen Court program boasts a recidivism rate of 16%, compared to 39% in the traditional system. All donors to the Foundation can be proud that grant funds supported this worthwhile program.

With summer came our golf outing, which was a success, thanks to our sponsors, participants, and the hard work of the Board’s Golf Committee. Thirty-one teams braved the threatening thunderstorms and enjoyed themselves for an afternoon of golf among friends, colleagues, and a handful of new faces.

There was no time to bask in the glow of a successful golf outing, however, because Evening Under the Stars planning kicked immediately into high gear. 2012 was the first year I sat on the Dinner Committee, and I was in awe of the amount of work each Committee member put in to make the event a success. We gathered for the first time at the Scottish Rite Cathedral for the event, and the venue was a hit. Attendees marveled at the gorgeous surroundings while bidding on silent and live auction items.

Following closely on the heels of the Evening Under the Stars, various Foundation committee members met again to nominate the 2012 class of Senior Fellows. Senior Fellows are nominated based on their continued outstanding dedication to the welfare of their communities and to the highest principles of the legal profession. At this writing, we were able to confirm 29 new Senior Fellows, each of whom made a commitment to continue their strong support of the Foundation.

Although we enjoy ourselves as Board members, the substantial year-round fundraising efforts are undertaken not for fun, but because we believe it is important to contribute to the betterment of our profession and our local community. The bulk of funds raised go directly to the provision of legal services for the underprivileged in Marion County, and to support Indy area attorneys and law students through CLE, scholarships, mentoring, and more.

The Foundation was privileged in 2012 to have 25 volunteer Board members and dozens of additional volunteer committee members. Those volunteers have busy professional and personal lives, and their commitment to the Foundation and its efforts has been invaluable. Thank you to all Foundation volunteers, donors and sponsors for supporting our profession – your profession – and our local community! We look forward to your continued support in 2013.•

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  1. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  2. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  3. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

  4. 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?

  5. This article proved very enlightening. Right ahead of sitting the LSAT for the first time, I felt a sense of relief that a score of 141 was admitted to an Indiana Law School and did well under unique circumstances. While my GPA is currently 3.91 I fear standardized testing and hope that I too will get a good enough grade for acceptance here at home. Thanks so much for this informative post.

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