By Whitney L. Mosby, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
It is a good time of the year to highlight the significant impact that your financial contributions to the Indianapolis Bar Foundation (IBF) are having on the community. The IBF awards thousands of dollars to community service programs each year. Without the generosity and energy of the directors, fellows and donors of the IBF, the various community service programs offered by the IndyBar simply would not exist. Some of the programs funded by the IBF include:
1. Service to the Community
The IBF directly supports the pro bono programs of the IndyBar. These programs benefit a wide spectrum of our community – from the homeless and families in crisis to local business owners and those in hospice care. A few of the IndyBar pro bono efforts funded by the IBF include:
• Ask a Lawyer. Individuals are given the opportunity to meet with qualified, licensed attorneys to ask basic legal questions free of charge at the IndyBar’s “Ask A Lawyer” event. This is a one-day community event sponsored by the IndyBar and the IBF in cooperation with the Indianapolis Public Library and Indianapolis Public Schools. The next Ask a Lawyer event is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 14, from 2 to 6 p.m. at various locations. Visit indybar.org for location information.
• Low Asset Wills Program. Through the Low Asset Wills program, qualified individuals are given the chance to meet privately with IndyBar attorneys who will draft a last will and testament and advance directive free of charge. The application period for the 2014 Low Asset Wills program is now closed but will be available again in 2015.
• Legal Line. IndyBar attorneys provide free legal advice on a variety of topics on the second Tuesday of the month by phone from 6 to 8 p.m.
• Bankruptcy Help Line. Twice a month, attorneys from the IndyBar’s Commercial and Bankruptcy Law Section staff this telephone-only service focused solely on bankruptcy-related issues.
In addition, the IBF provides free copies of the “United States and Indiana State Constitution Book” and voter registration information to the individuals sworn in as new U.S. citizens at naturalization ceremonies conducted throughout the year.
2. Service to the Profession
The IBF funds the IndyBar’s Diversity Job Fair that will be held Aug. 21 and 22 at the Hilton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites. The Diversity Job Fair brings together diverse law students from law schools around the country with local legal employers. The job fair showcases Indianapolis as a great place to work and live, and introduces top law students to legal firms and government agencies as well as to corporations and businesses in Indianapolis.
The IBF also publishes the “Commonly Asked Questions About Indiana Law: A Guide for Pro Bono Service,” which is a comprehensive guide to providing answers to basic legal questions. This guide is provided free of charge to all volunteers participating in IndyBar-sponsored pro bono events.
3. Leadership Training/ Scholarships
IBF provides scholarships for IndyBar programming, including the Bar Review course, the Applied Professionalism course, the Bench Bar Conference, and the Bar Leader Series. The IBF also funds law student scholarships each year.
4. Educational Initiatives – The Bench Bar Conference
The IBF provides educational grants and program funding to boost the level of professionalism and collegiality in the Indianapolis legal community. Programs funded by the IBF include the annual Bench Bar Conference. This event attracts more than 300 attorneys, judicial officers and guests. The 2014 Bench Bar Conference held in Cincinnati, Ohio, was a huge success! Next year’s conference will be held June 18-20, 2015, at the Louisville Marriott Downtown in Louisville, Kentucky. Registration will open in 2015.•