Attorneys say thanks by offering legal help to first responders

Ryan Murray, attorney at Eli Lilly and Co., has learned first responders usually arrive early.

He acquired the knowledge from his years volunteering as part of the Wills for Heroes project offered twice a year to law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical professionals who live around downtown Indianapolis. The most recent clinic was held Sept. 29 at Lilly Corporate Center in conjunction with Lilly’s 10th Global Day of Service and Indy Do Day. As expected, the first responders began showing up well before the doors opened at 8:30 a.m.

Co-sponsored by Eli Lilly and Co., Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP and Indiana Legal Services Inc., the one-day clinic offered pro bono legal help, with the volunteer attorneys preparing wills and health directives.  

Murray, counsel on Lilly’s health, safety and environment regulatory legal team, estimated nearly 80 attorneys from Lilly and Faegre along with administrative staff and paralegals helped prepare 130 legal documents during the clinic. The effort continued until about 3:30 p.m.

“I would say they are universally grateful for the opportunity to come and get these legal documents executed that have been on their minds for quite some time,” Murray said of the first responders. “I hope it gives them a little bit of peace of mind because they are putting themselves in harm’s way.”

The attorneys had four options for wills to offer the clients who made appointments with the legal clinic. Space was available on the documents for some customization such as designating specific bequests. Individuals needing a more specialized will are referred to other attorneys for additional help.

The directives enabled the clients to designative someone to make health decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated.

“We tried hard to make it as painless as possible,” Murray said, noting many of the first responders were stopping by either before or after their shifts.

Murray, a former volunteer firefighter in New Jersey, enjoyed helping at the Wills for Heroes clinic. It put him face-to-face with clients and allowed him to do legal work different from his usual routine.

“It was well worth it,” he said, “and a way to do something with a legal slant for the Global Day of Service.”

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