Indiana Pro Bono Commission

Attorney reaction spurs tweaks of pro bono reporting rule

January 28, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
During a January lunchtime meeting of the Elkhart City Bar Association, attorneys served a plateful of questions about the state’s new mandatory pro bono reporting rule and ladled on some skepticism.
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Supreme Court approves requirement for attorneys to report pro bono hours

September 8, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Starting Jan. 1, 2015, Indiana attorneys will be required to report the number of hours they provide free legal assistance to indigent clients.
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Task force makes recommendations for pro bono reporting

July 14, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
As the Indiana Supreme Court continues to consider mandating all Indiana attorneys report the number of pro bono hours they work, a task force has proposed that the donated hours be disclosed publicly only in an aggregate form rather than identifying the number of pro bono hours performed by an individual or a firm.
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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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Attorneys use pro bono tax work to fill the gap

March 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Almost immediately after taking her seat on the Indiana Tax Court, Judge Martha Blood Wentworth saw the problem. Flowing into her court were numerous pro se litigants who ended up getting their cases bounced because they had made a procedural error.
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2012 Year in Review

January 2, 2013
IL Staff
2012 was another busy year for the legal community. We welcomed new justices and a new chief justice, witnessed the beginnings of the state’s fifth law school, and saw local stories garner national and international attention. Here’s a look back at the top news stories from last year.
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Too few pro bono attorneys in Indiana rural communities

November 7, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
In response to the low numbers, the Indiana Bar Foundation is launching a legal assistance website to help low-income Hoosiers.
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Wentworth, Avery appointed to Pro Bono Commission

September 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Tax Judge Martha Blood Wentworth has been appointed by the Indiana Supreme Court as chair of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission. Allen Superior Judge David Avery has been appointed vice-chair, the Supreme Court announced Monday.
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Pro Bono Commission chair sees dramatic drop in funding during term

May 23, 2012
Dave Stafford
Colleagues say Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Melissa May's selflessness and volunteer spirit made her ideally suited for the position.
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Bill would increase funds for pro bono districts

January 18, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The modest filing fee could help offset declining IOLTA funds.
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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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Pro bono award winners announced

October 4, 2011
IL Staff
An attorney who made significant contributions in pro bono service will receive a posthumous honor on Oct. 21.
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Supreme Court amends state rules for courts, attorneys

September 23, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Multiple new rule changes will begin next year for the state’s court system, which were announced in a slew of Indiana Supreme Court orders released earlier in the week.
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Pro Bono Commission receives cy pres award

June 9, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Pro Bono Commission has received an award for the benefit of its districts that comes from a class-action lawsuit.
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Pro bono districts hire new plan administrators

February 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
With almost half of the pro bono districts losing plan administrators since mid-2009, it is not going to be an easy job to replace the institutional knowledge of the outgoing plan administrators. Districts 2, 3, 6, 9, 11, and most recently 7 have been forced to tackle that task.
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Talk to a Lawyer Today includes 3 dozen sites

January 17, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
While many attorneys get a day off of work today because courts, government offices, banks, and many businesses are closed to honor the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., more than 200 lawyers have volunteered to spend two hours answering legal questions from the public as part of the Indiana State Bar Association’s 10th annual Talk to a Lawyer Today event.
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Talk to a Lawyer Today event seeks volunteers

January 6, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
The annual Talk to a Lawyer Today event will take place on Jan. 17 at locations around the state. While the free CLE opportunities took place in late 2010, volunteers who want to participate may do so if they didn’t attend the CLE.
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Indiana pro bono districts take a hit

December 22, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While low interest rates can be a good thing for those looking to take out loans to buy a home, a car, or to refinance, they mean nothing but headaches and heartaches for organizations that depend on the dollars generated, such as legal aid organizations that rely on funds from Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts.
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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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IBF receives $100k; shares 2011 budget

October 27, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Following the unexpected gift from the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum’s governing board of $100,000 to the Indiana Bar Foundation on Oct. 15, leadership for IBF said it is unlikely the foundation will give all of that money to the pro bono districts.
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ICLEF gives $100,000 to Indiana Bar Foundation

October 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum’s governing board is giving $100,000 to the Indiana Bar Foundation, which is struggling financially because of low interest rates that have hit IOLTA accounts and created problems in funding pro bono and related programs statewide.
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ISBA Business Law Section helps nonprofits

September 29, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While many attorneys may want to do pro bono work, not all of them are comfortable taking on what could end up being a lengthy and possibly complicated family law case, which is the majority of cases the pro bono districts around the state tend to handle.
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IBF announces pro bono award winners

September 15, 2010
IL Staff
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.
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Tippecanoe County judge recognized for access to justice work

September 15, 2010
IL Staff
Tippecanoe Superior Judge Gregory J. Donat is the 2010 recipient of the American Judicature Society’s Kathleen M. Sampson Access to Justice Award. Judge Donat has worked to improve access to justice for everyone.
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  1. The voices of the prophets are more on blogs than subway walls these days, Dawn. Here is the voice of one calling out in the wilderness ... against a corrupted judiciary ... that remains corrupt a decade and a half later ... due to, so sadly, the acquiescence of good judges unwilling to shake the forest ... for fear that is not faith .. http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2013/09/prof-alan-dershowitz-on-indiana.html

  2. So I purchased a vehicle cash from the lot on West Washington in Feb 2017. Since then I found it the vehicle had been declared a total loss and had sat in a salvage yard due to fire. My title does not show any of that. I also have had to put thousands of dollars into repairs because it was not a solid vehicle like they stated. I need to find out how to contact the lawyers on this lawsuit.

  3. It really doesn't matter what the law IS, if law enforcement refuses to take reports (or take them seriously), if courts refuse to allow unrepresented parties to speak (especially in Small Claims, which is supposedly "informal"). It doesn't matter what the law IS, if constituents are unable to make effective contact or receive any meaningful response from their representatives. Two of our pets were unnecessarily killed; court records reflect that I "abandoned" them. Not so; when I was denied one of them (and my possessions, which by court order I was supposed to be able to remove), I went directly to the court. And earlier, when I tried to have the DV PO extended (it expired while the subject was on probation for violating it), the court denied any extension. The result? Same problems, less than eight hours after expiration. Ironic that the county sheriff was charged (and later pleaded to) with intimidation, but none of his officers seemed interested or capable of taking such a report from a private citizen. When I learned from one officer what I needed to do, I forwarded audio and transcript of one occurrence and my call to law enforcement (before the statute of limitations expired) to the prosecutor's office. I didn't even receive an acknowledgement. Earlier, I'd gone in to the prosecutor's office and been told that the officer's (written) report didn't match what I said occurred. Since I had the audio, I can only say that I have very little faith in Indiana government or law enforcement.

  4. One can only wonder whether Mr. Kimmel was paid for his work by Mr. Burgh ... or whether that bill fell to the citizens of Indiana, many of whom cannot afford attorneys for important matters. It really doesn't take a judge(s) to know that "pavement" can be considered a deadly weapon. It only takes a brain and some education or thought. I'm glad to see the conviction was upheld although sorry to see that the asphalt could even be considered "an issue".

  5. In response to bryanjbrown: thank you for your comment. I am familiar with Paul Ogden (and applaud his assistance to Shirley Justice) and have read of Gary Welsh's (strange) death (and have visited his blog on many occasions). I am not familiar with you (yet). I lived in Kosciusko county, where the sheriff was just removed after pleading in what seems a very "sweetheart" deal. Unfortunately, something NEEDS to change since the attorneys won't (en masse) stand up for ethics (rather making a show to please the "rules" and apparently the judges). I read that many attorneys are underemployed. Seems wisdom would be to cull the herd and get rid of the rotting apples in practice and on the bench, for everyone's sake as well as justice. I'd like to file an attorney complaint, but I have little faith in anything (other than the most flagrant and obvious) resulting in action. My own belief is that if this was medicine, there'd be maimed and injured all over and the carnage caused by "the profession" would be difficult to hide. One can dream ... meanwhile, back to figuring out to file a pro se "motion to dismiss" as well as another court required paper that Indiana is so fond of providing NO resources for (unlike many other states, who don't automatically assume that citizens involved in the court process are scumbags) so that maybe I can get the family law attorney - whose work left me with no settlement, no possessions and resulted in the death of two pets (etc ad nauseum) - to stop abusing the proceedings supplemental and small claims rules and using it as a vehicle for harassment and apparently, amusement.

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