Indiana Pro Bono Commission

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 hitRestricted Content

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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Nominees sought for pro bono Shepard award

June 8, 2010
IL Staff
The Indiana Pro Bono Commission is seeking nominees for the Excellence in Pro Bono Publico Randall T. Shepard Award.
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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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