Legal organizations/services

Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic offers help for low-income taxpayers

March 23, 2011
Jenny Montgomery
Unexpected audits, bankruptcy complications, and misunderstandings about tax law are what bring many low-income clients to the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic’s Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic. The LITC staff – one tax attorney, one paralegal, and one outreach coordinator fluent in English and Spanish – helps clients understand how to handle complicated tax issues.
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Encouraging diversity in CASA programs

March 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Having volunteers and staff who can relate to families that interact with Court Appointed Special Advocates programs has proven invaluable to a number of county-level CASA programs in Indiana. Indianapolis-based Child Advocates Inc. received the National CASA Inclusion Award for its inclusion and diversity plan March 20 at the National CASA conference in Chicago.
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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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Race for LACE to benefit Kenya legal aid clinic

February 23, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Following the success of last year’s Race for LACE to support the Legal Aid Centre of Eldoret, Kenya, organizers are seeking participants for this year’s event that coincides with the 5K race held with the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon on May 7.
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Indiana man named Advocate of the Year

February 22, 2011
IL Staff
A Marion man will be honored in March by the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association with the G.F. Bettineski Child Advocate of the Year Award. Frank West of CASA of Grant County will receive the award during the association’s 30th annual national conference in Chicago.
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Poverty law event at IU-Indy March 1

February 21, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, and the Central Indiana Peace Corps Association are hosting a poverty law event that will discuss issues facing American families.
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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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Fundraiser to benefit Legal Aid in Tippecanoe County

February 8, 2011
IL Staff
The Legal Aid Outback lunch and auction will be held Feb. 23 at Outback Steakhouse in Lafayette. Proceeds from the event benefit Legal Aid Corporation of Tippecanoe County, a nonprofit that provides low-cost legal assistance to low-income county residents on family law matters.
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CASA group to receive national diversity award

February 4, 2011
IL Staff
The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association announced Thursday afternoon that it will honor Indianapolis-based Child Advocates Inc. with the National CASA Inclusion Award at their 30th Annual National CASA Conference in Chicago on March 20.
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AALS president to speak at IU Maurer School of Law

February 2, 2011
IL Staff
The president of the Association of American Law Schools will speak about higher education issues at Indiana University Maurer School of Law at noon Feb. 7 in the law school’s moot courtroom at 211 S. Indiana Ave., Bloomington. The event is free and open to the public.
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Attorney helps senior citizens stay in their homes

February 2, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Orville Copsey Jr. works for Indianapolis Legal Aid Society as a liaison between the elderly with housing issues and the Marion County Health Department’s attorneys and inspectors.
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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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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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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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Maurer dean chosen president-elect of national law school association

January 11, 2011
IL Staff
Indiana University Maurer School of Law Dean Lauren K. Robel was elected president-elect of the American Association of Law Schools at the annual meeting of its House of Representatives Jan. 7.
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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 Supreme Court to hear arguments on victim-advocate privilege

January 5, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
Domestic violence victims’ advocates and criminal law attorneys are waiting on the Indiana Supreme Court’s decision in a case involving a criminal defendant’s subpoena for records from a victim’s advocacy organization.
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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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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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Bar associations host free CLE

December 8, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
Bar associations and pro bono districts are working together in December and January to promote replays of a CLE for attorneys who want to participate in the annual statewide Talk to a Lawyer Today event taking place Jan. 17, 2011.
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Human trafficking cases on the rise in Indiana

November 10, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
While it may still be an issue under the radar of many Hoosiers, human trafficking seems to be thriving in Indiana.
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Attorney, legal services organization receive access to justice awards

October 28, 2010
IL Staff
The Muslim Alliance of Indiana presented two awards today at its second annual Access to Justice luncheon.
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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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Annual event recognizes pro bono efforts

October 27, 2010
IL Staff
Photos from the 2010 Randall T. Shepard Award Dinner.
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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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