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IBA Pro Bono Awards: Meeting the needs of our community

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Making a difference in providing free legal assistance to our neighbors in Indianapolis is second nature to this year’s winners of the Indianapolis Bar Association’s Pro Bono Awards.

The IndyBar recognizes member attorneys who give their time assisting individuals and entities, as well as a law student member of the Association. This year’s recipients will be honored at the Indianapolis Bar Association/Foundation Recognition Luncheon on Tuesday, November 29, at noon at the Conrad Indianapolis, 50 W. Washington St. They are:

Practicing Attorney, Aiding Individuals

Nearly four years ago, a homeless and mentally ill man entered the lobby of Baker & Daniels and asked to meet with an attorney upon learning the firm had a disabilities pro bono working group. He was seeking assistance to overturn a guardianship set up in Parke County, Indiana that he maintained resulted in the guardian causing his house to be destroyed against his wishes and without his consent. To complicate the process the client suffers from mental illness. Enter Sarah Jenkins and Kathy Osborn, partners with Baker & Daniels LLP.

They litigated the client’s cause to the successful result at the Indiana Court of Appeals, which reversed a trial court’s ruling. The resulting opinion makes new law helping to govern the manner in which guardians perform their duties in Indiana and also breaks new ground on a national level with respect to the interpretation of a due process right of a person under a guardianship, so it will benefit not only the client, but literally thousands of people similarly situated.

Practicing Attorney, Aiding Entities that Serve the Indigent

Not only a partner in Bingham McHale LLP’s Private Client Group (Estate and Wealth Transfer Planning Group), their Business Advisory Department and co-chair of the Bingham McHale Women’s Forum, Christi Anderson finds time to do pro bono work with a variety of organizations. She donates time to Indianapolis Continuity of Care, is an active volunteer with the IndyBar’s Hospice and Low Asset Wills, has served as a GAL in Juvenile Court several times, and under her leadership the number of central Indiana residents gaining assistance through the IndyBar’s Ask a Lawyer free legal advice event increased by 5%.

Law Student

In June 2011, Matthew Gaudin, a student Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, began work at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic as an AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate working with consumer law and Project GRACE which serves ex-offender clients. In nominating Gaudin, the clinic called him, “a leader among his fellow interns, helping them navigate their case load an answering questions regarding legal issues and current clients.” He was so successful during his internship he was asked to stay and his responsibilities have been expanded. Known for his diligence, Gaudin has logged over 200 hours of services in the past three months alone. The clinic summed up their nomination by saying, “The Clinic has come to value greatly, the skills, intelligence and kindness Mr. Gaudin has to offer and we are excited to see the attorney he will become in the future.”

Those wishing to attend the awards luncheon are encouraged to register online at www.indybar.org. The cost is $30 per person.•
 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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