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IndyBar: Attorney Volunteers Needed for IndyBar Homeless Shelter Project

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Want to make an impact? The IndyBar Homeless Shelter Project is looking for attorney volunteers. Through this project, IndyBar volunteers visit one of five local homeless shelters each month, giving legal advice and occasionally offering limited representation.

Volunteers typically serve four two-hour shifts per year, from 7 to 9 p.m., and visit the shelters in pairs. Training is not provided, but volunteers are given the most recent edition of the “Commonly Asked Questions About Indiana Law” resource guide and will be paired with a veteran volunteer. To volunteer or get further information, please contact Caren Chopp at cchopp@indybar.org.

One longtime volunteer describes his participation like this:

“Offering limited representation can be equally rewarding for the client and the attorney. For example, one client not only was homeless and trying to raise his son after his wife died, but all of his possessions other than the clothes on his back were being wrongfully help by a storage company. It is hard to describe the joy in the client’s eyes when he received his property back from the storage facility at no cost.

It is more than just answering legal questions—it is providing hope and encouragement to individuals who many times have no reason to hope. Just volunteer and you will experience joy in helping people every time equal to the joy experienced handling your first case out of law school.”

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  1. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

  2. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

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