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IBA: Volunteer for the Health and Human Rights Clinic at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

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The Health & Human Rights Clinic at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law (“HHRC”), with the support of a $35,000 grant from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation (“IBF”), is launching a first-of-its-kind initiative to team local attorneys with clinical faculty in providing pro bono representation to low-income clients in the Indianapolis community. Based on the medical-legal partnership model, the HHRC represents the legal needs of patients from low income and ethnically diverse communities throughout the Indianapolis area. Volunteer attorneys will work with HHRC clinical faculty to identify and address the legal issues that negatively impact health, including access to safe and affordable housing; access to public benefits, including medical coverage; protection from domestic violence; consumer matters; and children’s access to special education services. The key advantages to this community-based partnership are the opportunities for volunteer attorneys to receive training, peer guidance, and access to families in need of assistance before their problems reach the crisis stage. These advantages are particularly helpful to volunteer attorneys who may be unfamiliar with the needs of low-income families. Thus, the HHRC will employ a dynamic model of legal services delivery to engage in “preventative lawyering,” an impactful and cost-effective form of legal intervention that helps to prevent homelessness, hunger, and health emergencies. With your help, the HHRC hopes to provide direct legal services to over 150 indigent individuals with health-related legal issues in 2012.

To participate, volunteers will attend a free, full-day procedural and substantive training in housing, consumer, and public benefits law. The first training session will be held on Friday, February 24, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. An application for CLE credit is pending in anticipation of offering 6.0 hours of free CLE credit to all attendees who agree to accept at least two pro bono cases. Once a volunteer participates in the training, they will be guided and supported by experienced poverty law attorneys in the representation of clients. If you are interested in attending the training, or obtaining additional information about the HHRC, please RSVP by calling (317) 278-0202, or sending an e-mail to gsmallwo@iupui.edu.

The HHRC is made possible in part by the generous support of the IBF 2011 Impact Fund Grant of $35,000. The IBF Impact Fund began in 2011, as a new vehicle to maximize the financial generosity of IBF donors, and to provide members of the Indianapolis Bar Association (“IndyBar”) with compelling opportunities to donate their time through pro bono services. In the past, the IBF awarded many smaller grants to numerous organizations in any given year.

In 2011, the IBF sought to change its philanthropic model by awarding a single, substantial grant to a non-profit organization that would affect a significant positive impact in central Indiana through the promotion of access to justice for indigent persons.

Among other things, the HHRC fulfilled the grant criteria by presenting an opportunity for IndyBar members to support the initiative through volunteerism, and significantly enhancing the visibility and image of Indianapolis attorneys in the broader community. Please consider supporting the HHRC by attending the February 24, 2012, training and representing clients on a pro bono basis.•

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