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Maurer law honors pro bono efforts

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Three law students received the Access to Justice Program’s Pro Bono Award for performing the most pro bono in each of their respective classes.

The awards were presented to Alex Haugh, J.D. ’10, third-year student Gina Venturelli, and second-year student Rachael Steller during a ceremony at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law – Bloomington Sept. 8.

The Access to Justice Program started in March 2009 to set an aspirational goal for students to complete at least 60 hours of pro bono service over the course of their three years in law school. The school uses the ABA definition of pro bono, and students do not receive payment or class credit for their time. The awards ceremony recognized the completion of the first full academic year of the Access to Justice Program.

After the ceremony, students were able to learn more and sign up for various pro bono opportunities, including the District 10 Pro Bono Project, Inmate Legal Assistance Project, Tenant Assistance Project, Public Interest Law Foundation, and Shalom Center HELP Legal Clinic.

Each of the award winners performed a different type of pro bono service.

Haugh volunteered at the Shalom Community Center HELP Legal Clinic and spearheaded the creation of the Shalom Benefits Clinic to provide assistance to those seeking Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps, and cash assistance benefits.

Venturelli began her pro bono service with Outreach for Legal Literacy, where she taught literacy, verbal, and logic skills to fifth graders. She is the president of the Family Law Society.

Steller performed the majority of her pro bono work at Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice in San Francisco, where she prepared civil rights complaints and other legal documents for low-income, minority communities disproportionately affected by environmental degradation. She is the student director of the law school’s Protective Order Project, which helps local victims of domestic abuse.

“We are extremely proud of our students for their extraordinary commitment to providing service to the local community,” Seth Lahn said in a statement. “Pro bono service gives students the opportunity to get hands-on experience while still in school and allows them to see the true difference they make through their work. We hope the wonderful experiences students have with clients will lead to a lifetime commitment to serving those in need.”

Lahn and clinical professor Carwina Weng co-direct the Access to Justice Program.•

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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