FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 28, 2020
Beth White, GIPC Executive Director
(317) 327-3820 |firstname.lastname@example.org
Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee Launches
Racial Equity Pro Bono Legal Surge Team during National Pro Bono Week and
Seeks Volunteer Lawyers
INDIANAPOLIS – The Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC) has launched a new pro bono initiative through its Race and the Legal Process Working Group to address a pressing need within the Indianapolis community. The COVID-19 pandemic and other pervasive barriers to economic opportunity have had a devastating impact on members of the Black and Brown communities in Indianapolis, as well as on other marginalized people. Looming evictions, unemployment, and economic and family stress are new and emergent threats to an already at-risk population.
The initiative coincides with National Pro Bono Week, which highlights the indelible difference that pro bono lawyers make to our communities and to the clients they serve. As economic conditions worsen, the need for pro bono services is increasing as more people struggle to afford access to an attorney.
GIPC is composed of community leaders and has engaged for over 55 years to improve Indianapolis. In June 2020, GIPC formed the Race and the Legal Process Working Group, led by Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Dean Karen Bravo to address racial justice and equity issues. A key focus of the Working Group is to provide a surge of attorneys to devote time and expertise to serving members of the Indianapolis community during this critical time.
“The need in our community, especially Black, Latinx and other vulnerable groups affected by COVID-related hardship, is great during this time. We are lucky to have excellent legal aid organizations in Indianapolis, as well as attorneys to help meet the growing demand for legal services,” said Dean Bravo.
GIPC initiated the Pro Bono Legal Services Surge Team to provide immediate, short-term legal assistance to the most vulnerable members of the Indianapolis community. Hon. Myra Selby, former justice of the Indiana Supreme Court and partner at Ice Miller, chairs the Team, which is collaborating with three local legal aid organizations: Indianapolis Legal Aid Society, Indiana Legal Services, and Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. These organizations have asked for legal services assistance for clients in the areas of eviction, unemployment insurance (administrative law), family law, and tax law.
“I encourage interested lawyers to join our effort,” said Selby. “We’ve been heartened by the Indianapolis community commitment to the principles of racial equity this year. This effort of the legal community stepping up to do their part is one of many examples,” said Mary Chandler, GIPC Chair.
Interested attorneys can take three action steps: (i) complete a Volunteer Lawyer Information Form, available here: <ahref=”http://bit.ly/gipcprobono”>bit.ly/gipcprobono; (ii) personally commit to accepting at least one pro bono matter, if offered, in 2020-2021; and (iii) share the opportunity with attorney colleagues and friends and ask them to make the same commitment. Volunteer attorneys will be matched with one of the three legal aid organizations and will be provided training and support.
About the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee
Founded in 1965, the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee (GIPC) is a private, non-profit, and non-partisan organization that provides a forum in which leaders of the public and private sectors of Indianapolis can work as partners to study, discuss, and address issues of concern and areas of opportunity which affect the progress of the city. Driven by business and civic leaders, GIPC represents the bipartisan alliance that is a continuing example of public-private partnership in Indianapolis.