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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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