Indiana Legal Services Inc.

Long-time legal aid leader stepping down

August 12, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Legal Services executive director Norman Metzger has announced he will retire March 31, 2015, ending a tenure at the nonprofit that stretched more than four decades.
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Legal Service Corp. requests substantial boost in funding to meet growing need

March 5, 2014
IL Staff
In the budget released March 4, the White House recommended the Legal Services Corp. receive a federal appropriation of $430 million for the fiscal year 2015.
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Indiana Legal Services’ case load likely to increase with additional federal dollars

January 31, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
After watching its federal appropriation sink to $4.7 million during the economic downturn, Indiana Legal Services is set to receive a boost in funding for the 2014 calendar year.
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Fostering cooperation between Indiana legal service providers

November 20, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Supreme Court has formed a new commission to address the problem of Indiana residents who cannot afford legal services. But rather than giving attention to the clients, this group will focus on the nonprofit agencies that provide the assistance.
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Case illustrates the value of legal-medical partnership

August 28, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The impact of the Midtown/Indiana Legal Services Medical Legal Partnership is life-altering for an Indianapolis great-grandmother and grandson.
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After the storm passes, legal questions swirl

February 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Attorneys volunteer to provide advice and comfort to affected residents after natural disasters.
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ILS Medical Legal Partnership gives Midtown clients access to legal services

September 26, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Legal Services' clinic helps clients at Midtown Community Mental Health Center navigate through legal entanglements that can ensnare them.
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LSC says funding cuts will reduce staff, close offices

August 16, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Legal Services Corporation offices around the country will have to lay off staff – including 350 attorneys – due to funding cuts, according to a survey released Wednesday by the legal aid program.
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Restructuring revises coverage area for some pro bono offices

January 4, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
As of Jan. 1, Indiana has 12 pro bono districts, down from 14. Some districts saw no change in their boundaries. But all saw a sharp decrease in funding from the year before, marking the third straight year of declining funds.
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Funding less for legal aid offices

December 21, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The groups will tap reserves in 2012 as their budgets decrease.
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Congress proposes cutting legal aid funding

November 16, 2011
IL Staff
If an agreement between the members of Congress passes, Legal Services Corp. will see its budget reduced by 14 percent. The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee had previously proposed cutting it by 17 percent.
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2011-2012 Civil Legal Aid Fund figures released

August 31, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The Division of State Court Administration has released figures for 2011-2012, showing how the $1.5 million Civil Legal Aid Fund has been distributed among 11 qualifying agencies.
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Indiana Legal Services weathers budget cuts

June 22, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
The ILS board has taken cost-cutting steps, which include not renewing staff contracts.
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Lawyer commits to pro bono

March 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The aspirational pro bono goal for attorneys, set by the American Bar Association and endorsed – but not forced – by many states, is around 50 hours. Some Indiana attorneys work this into their annual budget by working with pro bono district plan administrators to accept cases when need exists and when they can easily fit them into their work schedules.
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Cuts proposed to LSC budget would affect ILS

February 10, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Among approximately 70 proposed budget cuts, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee has proposed cutting $75 million, or 17 percent of the budget for the Legal Services Corporation, which funds 136 civil legal aid programs around the country, the committee announced Wednesday.
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Court's community-service policy is unenforceable

January 25, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s order that an indigent small claims litigant perform community service in lieu of paying a filing fee, holding the informal local rule requiring community service is unenforceable.
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Legal aid budgets remain steady

January 19, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
While the need for services for indigent Hoosiers during these tough economic times continues to increase, civil legal aid providers are reporting that budgets for 2011 will be similar to those of 2010, and the numbers of cases handled in 2010 are comparable to 2009.
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Arguments set in Medicaid appeal

January 19, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
In a case that involves whether Medicaid applicants who were rejected can include information that was not in their initial applications when they appeal, the Indiana Supreme Court has set oral arguments for March 3 at 9 a.m.
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Clark County self-help center helps pro se litigants

December 22, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
When pro se litigants find themselves in a courthouse for the first time, there’s a good chance they aren’t quite sure what to do. In the Clark County courthouse in Jeffersonville, just across the river from Louisville, a self-help center for pro se litigants in civil cases has been operational since late May.
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Free CLE offered for pro bono volunteers

December 7, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Bar associations and pro bono districts are working together to encourage attorneys to sign up to participate in the annual statewide Talk to a Lawyer Today event taking place Jan. 17, 2011. Free CLE, which is offered in December and January to lawyers who volunteer their time with TTALT but is not required to participate in the event, is a video replay of a CLE that originally took place in Indianapolis in October.
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ACLU of Indiana's dinner to honor organization’s founder

September 21, 2010
IL Staff
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana’s annual dinner this year will honor Irving Fink, an attorney who helped found the organization and Indiana Legal Services.
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Couple should have jury trial on legal claims

August 11, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
A couple whose home is being foreclosed on is entitled to a jury trial on their legal claims against the mortgage holder and loan servicer, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.
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Indiana's freedom fighter

July 7, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
A 90-year-old Indianapolis attorney couldn’t have predicted his legal career of more than 60 years would include handling many controversial clients, including the Ku Klux Klan and conscientious objectors of the Vietnam War.
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Could Indiana adopt a law like Arizona's?

July 7, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Immigration attorneys and victims advocates are reading up on the Arizona illegal immigrant law and bracing themselves for what a similar bill in Indiana could mean for their clients.
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Center, interns address migrant workers' legal rights

June 9, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Indiana Legal Services Migrant Farm Workers Center, led by Melody Goldberg, helps migrant workers understand their legal rights.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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