IndyBar: The IBF is in full swing for spring

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duncan Duncan

We have all finally made it through the winter that just never seemed to quit and I hope everyone is enjoying the long awaited return of warmer weather. We are now just over a quarter of the way through 2014 and I am happy to report that, like the welcome spring weather, your Indianapolis Bar Foundation is having meaningful impact throughout central Indiana. Thank you everyone for your generous contributions and continued support of the Foundation and the Indianapolis legal community.

The IBF recently awarded three academic scholarships to assist students during their law school career. The following students received academic scholarships in 2014: Rosalie F. Felton Scholarship awarded to Jason Sprinkle, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; Hon. S. Hugh Dillin Scholarship awarded to Marcus McGhee, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law; and Neil E. Shook Scholarship awarded to Daniel Spungen, student at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In addition to these academic scholarships, four individuals received educational scholarships for the IndyBar’s summer 2014 Indy Bar Review course. This course, the only bar review course offered by a bar association in the country, will prepare these individuals to sit for the Indiana Bar Exam in July 2014. Individuals receiving educational scholarships in 2014 include: Graham Youngs; Whitney Coffin; and Vanessa Woolsey.

Under the direction of the Impact Fund Committee, chaired by Melanie Reichert, finalists for this year’s Impact Fund Grant have been announced. The final recipient will receive a grant of up to $35,000 to fund its project. Through its grant award, the IBF wishes to support a project presented by an organization that seeks to affect a substantial positive impact in central Indiana.

The finalists for this year’s Impact Fund are as follows:

1. Peace Learning Center - Creating a Case for Peace is an innovative project designed to teach the 622 elementary students, more than 50 staff members, and parents/guardians of students at Indianapolis Public Schools’ (IPS) Thomas D. Gregg School #15 (first in poverty within the school district and situated within the second-highest crime rate in the city) about the tremendous responsibility lawyers and our legal system have to uphold justice while also creating a culture of peace by establishing a new peer mediation program at the school. The project will begin with teacher training in the summer of 2014; 20 peer mediators/student leaders will be trained at the start of the 2014-2015 school year; PLC facilitators will work in the school two days per week throughout the year to support the peer facilitators, hold office hours, communicate program related messages and teach peace education lessons in all classrooms; the student leaders will meet during lunchtime to plan school-wide activities involving lawyers to achieve project goals, parent nights with lawyers, and discuss the peer mediation initiative; and three parent nights will be held throughout the school year to build relationships between lawyers and the school community. The program is designed to be nearly self-sustaining because the students and staff will be trained to continue the peer mediation program after the first year of training, and the community coordinator at IPS #15 will be able to assume the duty of coordinating volunteer opportunities for the Indianapolis legal community after initial relationships have been established and training has been provided by PLC’s volunteer coordinator.

2. The Joseph Maley Foundation (“JMF”) plans to start its Parent Education and Pro Bono Legal Assistance Program for Central Indiana Students with Individualized Education Programs in the summer of 2014. Pertinent to the educational calendar year, the JMF will roll out this program to the public in August/September 2014 and proceed to work with families in August/September and January/February of each school year to coincide with semester cycles, with ongoing counseling and advocacy year-round. Funding would provide staff for community and family outreach, paralegal assistance on intake of matters needing legal advocacy, and educational programs through central Indiana. IndyBar members would be recruited to serve as volunteer speakers, volunteer writers of educational materials, and as pro bono advocates for students as necessary and appropriate in their IEP planning and implementation. There is a tremendous unmet need for these services. The JMF has a proven track record of success in programming and delivery of services, and a growing and strong donor base to sustain this program beyond the significant assistance that the Impact Grant would provide.

Videos of each finalist’s presentation to the Impact Committee have been emailed to the IBF’s Distinguished Fellows and Senior Fellows, and I ask all recipients of the survey to take a few minutes to watch these presentations and mark your ballot for which program you would like to receive the Impact Fund Grant. The award of the 2014 Impact Fund Grant will be announced at a meeting of IndyBar members to be held May 28, 2014, at 9 a.m. at the Skyline Club. Please plan on attending this meeting of members by registering at

Last year’s Impact Fund was awarded to Indiana Legal Services, Inc. (“ILS”) to fund the expansion of ILS’s Military Assistance Project (“MAP”). Through this award, the ILS has developed a Military Cultural Competency Manual being utilized as a resource by pro bono attorneys in implementing workshops, clinics and training sessions and/or offering direct legal services addressing common legal issues encountered by Hoosier veterans on a regular basis. Look for more updates on the successes of MAP to come.

Congratulations to all scholarship recipients and best of luck to our Impact Fund finalists. Finally, thank you to all of our donors! Without your generous contributions and support, none of this could be possible. Your gifts enable this Foundation to continue have meaningful impact, not only to the Indianapolis legal community, but to the Indianapolis community at large.

If you haven’t already, please donate to the IBF’s Impact of One Campaign. No gift is too small, but imagine the collective impact we can have if all of us donate the equivalent of one billable hour. I ask you to be part of the “Impact of One” and donate to the IBF of this year.•


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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.