Access to justice forum, pro bono awards on LSC agenda

The Legal Services Corporation Board of Governors is arriving in Indianapolis on Thursday for its quarterly meeting, marking the first time the board has met in the Circle City in years.

Eight members of the board are expected to participate in the meeting that runs through Saturday and includes a special forum on access to justice. Each year, the LSC board meets once in Washington, D.C., and in three more times in different locations around the country.

The LSC is familiar with the Hoosier state. In addition to providing funds to Indiana Legal Services, its board chair, John Levi, has visited Indiana and it has tapped Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush to serve on the LSC’s Opioid Task Force. Moreover, Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indianapolis, is co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Access to Legal Services Caucus.

While in Indianapolis, the board will hear about revisions to select federal regulations and discuss establishing an emerging leaders council. Also, the board will review the corporation’s financial reports, the status of the appropriations process and the operating budget for fiscal year 2019.

In conjunction with the meeting, the LSC Access to Justice Forum will meet Oct. 19 to discuss ways of expanding legal assistance for low-income Americans. The forum will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Indiana Supreme Court’s courtroom in the Indiana Statehouse.

Levi will speak briefly before a pair of panel discussions. The first panel will examine holistic approaches to serving legal aid clients and the second will look at the role of legal aid in confronting the opioid crisis. Also delivering remarks will be Victor Quintanilla, Indiana University Maurer co-director of the Center for Law, Society, and Culture, and Jennifer Thuma, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney associate director of professional development and pro bono.

The forum will be livestreamed here, on the LSC’s Facebook page.

Before the forum, LSC will present the Pro Bono Service Awards at a special reception Thursday. Five Indiana attorneys, a law firm and a volunteer lawyer program will be recognized for their commitment to equal justice.

The reception will start at 5:30 p.m. at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, 300 N. Meridian Street, Suite, 2700. Indiana Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Slaughter, who chairs the Indiana Coalition for Court Access, will deliver opening remarks. He will be joined by Tom Froehle, chair and managing partner of Faegre and Michael Harrington, senior vice president and general counsel for Eli Lilly and Co.

The recipients of the LSC’s awards are:

• Joseph Baurer, South Bend attorney and retired Notre Dame Law School professor who has taken nearly 30 pro bono cases.

• Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, a law firm that provides direct legal representation in conjunction with Indiana Legal Services and the only Indiana firm with a full-time pro bono manager.

• William Marsh, an Indianapolis attorney and former Indiana University Robert H. McKinney professor who volunteers weekly with the Indiana Legal Services Senior Law Project.

• Alice Springer, Randy Brown and Zia Mollabashy, lawyers at Barnes & Thornburg LLP who co-counseled with Indiana Legal Services on a complicated federal tax case that sought a trust fund recovery penalty of almost $100,000.

• Volunteer Lawyer Program of Northeast Indiana, Inc., a legal services nonprofit that has partnered with Indiana Legal Services and other legal services providers to create the Second Chance Project. The project helps people with criminal records find jobs.

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