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IndyBar: We Need You! Volunteer to Take a Family Law or Minor Guardianship Pro Bono Case

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Since early 2013, the IndyBar and local legal service providers have been teaming up to provide pro bono help in family law cases. As the second year of this joint effort begins, more than 100 cases have been placed and additional volunteers are needed to provide assistance to those in need.

The Supreme Court’s appointed Heartland Pro Bono Council, the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society and the Indianapolis Bar Association are asking you to help by taking a family law or minor guardianship pro bono case. This program should also reduce the burden of pro se bogging down the judicial system.

“Serving clients on a pro bono basis is a most rewarding part of our profession. For example, to be part of an appropriate child custody placement and see the look on the face of a gratified parent or grandparent is an indescribably good feeling that cannot be measured,” says IndyBar pro bono volunteer Andrew Soshnick, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. “All lawyers should volunteer their time to help those in need and experience these heartwarming situations.”

The IndyBar is committed to maximizing your experience as a volunteer by forwarding only one qualified case at a time. This is an ideal opportunity for rewarding pro bono service and a hands-on way to make a difference in your community.

If you volunteer:

1. You will be contacted by the IndyBar when the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society has identified a financially qualified but conflicted litigant. You are free to decline based on client or schedule conflicts, in which case you will be called at a later time.

2. It is the client’s responsibility to contact you. If the client does not call you within 10 days, you have no responsibility to find the client or represent them. Clients will be responsible for filing fees and will be notified to bring filing fees to their first attorney meeting.

3. Your hours will be tracked and your name will be eligible for another assignment only after your case closes. Caren Chopp, IndyBar Pro Bono & Legal Services Coordinator, will be available to serve as a resource for you throughout the duration of the case.

4. You retain the right to withdraw from the case just as you would if this were a private case.

5. You also retain the right to file for a motion to withdraw if the client shows signs of an ability to pay fees.

We very much appreciate your consideration and look forward to working with you as a pro bono volunteer. Please contact Caren Chopp at cchopp@indybar.org to volunteer or if you have any questions.•

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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