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State bar advances pro bono reporting requirement

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Attorneys soon will be required to report the number of pro bono hours of service they provide on an annual basis under a proposal adopted Friday by the Indiana State Bar Association.

The bar’s House of Delegates approved the proposal by voice vote on the final day of the association’s annual meeting in French Lick, according to outgoing state bar president Daniel Vinovich. Chief Justice Brent Dickson championed the proposal.

Details – including when the requirement will take effect and how the information will be used – are still to be worked out. But Vinovich said the resolution stipulated that attorneys will have input on how the Supreme Court implements a rule and that its passage would not be a first step toward mandatory pro bono as some attorneys feared.

“It was a very civil, scholarly discussion on the issues,” Vinovich said of arguments preceding the vote by those for and against. He said he sensed that many concerns raised by lawyers against the requirement had been answered.    

Some attorneys, for instance, worried that reporting zero hours of pro bono service might trigger some type of disciplinary action. “That’s not contemplated in our resolution at all,” Vinovich said. “This resolution does not require any lawyer to do any pro bono work at all. You can report zero hours.”

Rather, he said the resolution is seen as a way to foster pro bono work as has been the experience of the relatively few other states where such a requirement exists. Vinovich said he believes only eight other states have such a requirement.

“It will help us assess the coordination of a statewide pro bono strategy,” he said. “If we can at least start at the reporting level, that will help.”

Also Friday, the bar installed Frost Brown Todd LLC partner Jim Dimos as president.

Read more about the pro bono reporting requirements and the challenges presented by pro se litigants in the Oct. 23 Indiana Lawyer.
 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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