Educating Tomorrow's Leaders | Expanding Civil Justice | Aiding the Profession
In This Issue
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Annual Report
Pro Bono Reporting Assistance in Your Mail
The Foundation sent you a letter this month with how much you donated last calendar year to help you report your contributions to an organization assisting with legal aid for indigent Hoosiers. You may use that to report your pro bono donations on your attorney registration this year .
General Assembly Funds We the People Program
The 2017-2018 budget was again approved with $300,000 allocated annually for Indiana's We the People program. While it costs far more than that to implement the program, the board of directors and staff are grateful the state legislature sees value in teaching constitutional history and principles to elementary, middle, and high school students.
Pro Bono Reporting FAQ Available Online
The Coalition for Court Access (CCA) has developed guidance for attorneys on how to report pro bono hours to the Indiana Supreme Court. Annual attorney registration began July 25th through the Indiana Courts Portal and includes a requirement to report pro bono hours and financial contributions for calendar year 2016.

The CCA also developed a Frequently Asked Questions guide to provide further explanation of Professional Conduct Rule 6.7 on reporting pro bono hours and donations.

Lawyers are encouraged (but not required) to volunteer their services to those in need. In 2016, lawyers were required to state whether they provided any pro bono services during annual attorney registration. It was the first time for the information to be collected. Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush explained, "Capturing this baseline information will allow us to put together a roadmap for areas of service that need improvement. It's encouraging to confirm there are thousands of lawyers helping those in need every year."

An infographic  details self-reported pro bono contributions for calendar year 2015. More than 7,000 attorneys contributed time or money to those in need and donated nearly one million dollars to legal service groups.
97% of Questions Answered on New Online Tool
Indiana's Free Legal Answers website re-launched in May 2017 at https://in.freelegalanswers.org. On the website, Indiana attorneys can volunteer to provide brief advice to low-income Hoosiers. This pro bono opportunity is:
  • short-term
  • flexible to your schedule
  • reportable on your attorney registration
  • covered by malpractice insurance for advice provided through the website
The website currently  has 210 volunteer attorneys registered, and 101 pro bono questions were answered in May. Keep up the good work!
68 Teachers at We the People Summer Institute

From July 9-13, the Foundation conducted its annual We the People Summer Institute on Indiana University's campus in Bloomington. The Summer Institute provides free  professional development for elementary, middle, and high school teachers who are interested in teaching the We the People program.  In total, 68  teachers from Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio attended, with 48 of those coming from the Hoosier state.  

At the conclusion of the Institute, teachers participated in simulated congressional hearings, similar to the format of We the People competitions.  Special thanks to the volunteers who gave their time to judge the teachers' hearings.
High School Mock Trial: Invaluable Experience
"My experience with Mock Trial was absolutely invaluable. It developed my oral argument, critical thinking, logical reasoning, and countless other skills. I also quickly learned I had an advantage in my evidence class in law school.
 
With that said, while I did enter the legal profession, I fully appreciate that many Mock Trial competitors do not. But, I can firmly state that whatever careers these gifted students choose,  they will have valuable transferable skills that they learned and developed while participating in this exceptional academic competition."

Brandon Elward participated in Mock Trial for Hamilton Southeastern High School in the early 2000's at the county, state, and national level. He then went on to attend Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Currently, he is Legal Counsel at Rolls-Royce North America and a volunteer judge for the Indiana High School Mock Trial Competition. If you would like to help in February and March 2018, contact Collin Gruver at cgruver@inbf.org.