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Maurer law honors pro bono efforts

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Law School Briefs

Law School Briefs is Indiana Lawyer’s new section that will highlight news from law schools in Indiana. While we have always covered law school news and will continue to keep up with law school websites and press releases for updates, we’ll gladly accept submissions for this section from law students, professors, alums, and others who want to share law school-related news. If you’d like to submit news or a photo from an event, please send it to Rebecca Berfanger, rberfanger@ibj.com, along with contact information for any follow up questions at least two weeks in advance of the issue date.

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. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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