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IndyBar: Pro Bono for Any Schedule

January 11, 2017

Pro bono service is a rewarding—and expected—component of the practice of law. With reporting requirements now in place, the need to find opportunities that fit varied schedules, practice areas and interests is greater than ever.

Volunteers are now being sought for three IndyBar pro bono programs that allow members to choose to dedicate just an hour or two or a longer-term commitment. Check out details below and contact Caren Chopp at cchopp@indybar.org for more information.

Ask a Lawyer

Small time commitment, big impact—answer legal questions from the public at the IndyBar’s Ask a Lawyer program, coming up on Tuesday, April 11. This face-to-face advice program will be held at 11 locations throughout the city from 2 to 6 p.m.

Volunteers take on just one two-hour shift and are provided with a resource guide to help in assisting the public with questions on divorce, guardianship, child custody, child support, landlord/tenant issues, bankruptcy, personal injury, criminal law, employment law and more.

The IndyBar Hospice Program

Be the light in life’s darkest moments through the IndyBar Hospice Program. Through the program, volunteer attorneys assist hospice and palliative care patients with end-of-life concerns through consultations and limited representation at Eskenazi Health, IU Hospital, St. Francis and St. Vincent Indianapolis.

Volunteers in the program comfort hospice patients in so many ways with just a little bit of time. Answering questions, executing powers of attorney or simple wills or transferring a car title can relieve the mental anguish from which a patient suffers.

Volunteers should be familiar with the basics of end-of-life matters and documents, including wills and powers of attorney, but don’t have to have a practice specializing in elder law, estate planning or probate.

The IndyBar Homeless Shelter Project

Through the IndyBar Homeless Shelter Project, IndyBar volunteers visit one of five local homeless shelters each month, giving legal advice and occasionally offering limited representation.

Volunteers typically serve four two-hour shifts per year, from 7 to 9 p.m., and visit the shelters in pairs. Training is not provided, but volunteers are given the most recent edition of the “Commonly Asked Questions About Indiana Law” resource guide and will be paired with a veteran volunteer.

One longtime volunteer describes his participation like this:

“Offering limited representation can be equally rewarding for the client and the attorney. For example, one client not only was homeless and trying to raise his son after his wife died, but all of his possessions other than the clothes on his back were being wrongfully held by a storage company. It is hard to describe the joy in the client’s eyes when he received his property back from the storage facility at no cost.

It is more than just answering legal questions—it is providing hope and encouragement to individuals who many times have no reason to hope. Just volunteer and you will experience joy in helping people every time equal to the joy experienced handling your first case out of law school.”•

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