IBF announces pro bono award winners

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Ralph Adams, the former staff attorney and director of Legal Services of Maumee Valley, will receive this year’s Randall T. Shepard Award for excellence in pro bono service. He, along with other recipients of pro bono awards, will be honored at the Shepard Award Dinner in October.

Adams, of Fort Wayne, spent 38 years with Legal Services of Maumee Valley, which shut its doors nearly two years ago because of a lack of funding. Adams is the most prolific pro bono attorney with the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Northeast Indiana. From January to July this year, he has been active in 140 new cases and has never turned down a VLP referral. He also spearheaded the program’s efforts to create a “hotline” approach to serve clients within hours of initial inquiries.

The Indiana Pro Bono Commission will present the award to Adams, which is named in honor of Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard’s vision and leadership in pro bono in Indiana.

The Indiana Bar Foundation will recognize several others at the dinner for their pro bono efforts. Wendy Clar, Jean M. Blanton, Jennifer A. Elston, and Baker & Daniels will receive the Pro Bono Publico Award.

Clar, of Carmel, is being honored for her dedication to help those who may otherwise go unrepresented. She has represented more pro bono clients in Hamilton County than any other volunteer attorney with the Heartland Pro Bono Council. Blanton and Elston, both from Evansville, are being honored for their co-counsel efforts on two pro bono family law appeals through the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwest Indiana Inc. Baker & Daniels is being honored for its work with the Wishard Medical-Legal Partnership.

Baker & Daniels, along with Eli Lily and Co., will also be honored with a Law-Related Education Award for its Street Law Corporate Diversity Pipeline Education Project. The Indiana Supreme Court’s “Courts in the Classroom” will also receive a Law-Related Education Award for its project, “My Place is in the Voting Booth: Hoosier Suffragette Helen M. Gougar.”

The awards will be presented at the annual dinner Oct. 15 at the Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Dinner reservations are $60 and can be made at or at (317) 269-2415.


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