IndyBar: Guest Column: Better Together: An Indy Legal Alliance

By Amber Nicole Ying, Indiana Department of Revenue

Indianapolis is home to three prominent bar associations — the Indianapolis Bar Association (IndyBar) the Marion County Bar Association (MCBA) and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association-Indiana (APABA-IN) — and the Indianapolis Bar Foundation (IndyBar Foundation), the charitable arm of the IndyBar. 2022 IndyBar Foundation President Raegan Gibson conceived of a partnership under which the four organizations would unite to plan opportunities to improve our local community through collaborative and sustainable charitable efforts.

Bringing this vision to fruition, on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, membership and leadership from the IndyBar (Hon. Alicia Gooden, president), the IndyBar Foundation (Raegan Gibson, president), the MCBA (Katie Jackson-Lindsay, president) and APABA-IN (Rachana Fischer, board member) convened at IndyBarHQ for “Better Together: A Night with Local Community Leaders.” Organization leadership introduced their respective associations, focusing on history, mission, vision and core programs. The forum transitioned into an open dialogue. As discussion ensued, the first strategic planning session naturally developed. Some attendees raised concerns about deficiencies in the Indianapolis legal community; others offered suggestions to remedy the same. Many inquired about opportunities to either join or support the activities of the associations of which they were not members. All agreed to the benefit of combining efforts.

What grew from that evening is the proposed Indy Legal Alliance (ILA), pronounced “eye-la.” The mission of ILA is to promote and support a thriving, diverse, equitable and inclusive Indianapolis legal community that works together to support law students and lawyers and advance justice in the broader community. ILA’s three roles are:

• Unifier — Unite our local bar associations and their members;

• Collaborator — Promote relationship building and organize joint community projects; and

• Thought leader — Champion and provide a platform for joint causes, initiatives and objectives.

A draft proposal describing the ILA governance structure is currently circulating among the IndyBar, IndyBar Foundation, MCBA and APABA-IN membership for review and comment. Additional information will be provided in the coming months, so watch this space.

As an Indianapolis attorney with strong ties to all four organizations, I am excited to be part of this novel cooperative endeavor.•

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