Carol Hartman first learned about the Clinic after a fortuitous Internet search. “I was looking for a way to do some volunteer work that was faith-based,” she says. “I went on your website and clicked on a link to volunteer.” For years, she sought opportunities that would utilize her unique set of skills. “I’ve worked in the tax world since the beginning of my career both as a CPA and as a lawyer. And I was wondering how I could best use those experiences to advance the Kingdom.”Read more
While Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic’s main office is located in Indianapolis, there is also a satellite office in Ft. Wayne. Desiree Koger-Gustafson serves as its Director and part-time attorney, while Cathy Warney serves as the only full-time employee. In addition to her paralegal duties, she also handles reception and coordinates volunteers. “My days are pretty crazy,” says Cathy. “I wear lots of hats.”Read more
This final month of spring, we considered our role in the community and the role of community in our lives. We learned about various problems such as vacant housing and veteran homelessness that are affecting Indianapolis, as well as the programs and organizations that are trying to combat such issues. To introduce the Legal Clinic more fully to the city, we hosted our first monthly community prayer meeting and the second annual Jazz for Justice event.Read more
We can all be Connectors by translating who and what we know to assist our communities. At the Legal Clinic, that might mean helping clients collect their documents, bridging the gap between the pro bono housing counselor and the client who is facing foreclosure. Or it might mean helping someone who was recently laid off apply for food stamps. As a Connector, you can ensure that those in our community are able to find and utilize the many resources that may be available, but impossible for them to reach without your helping hand.Read more
This rainy month of April we spent time ruminating on how our faith compels us to acts of compassion. In lock-step with this theme, the Clinic's semiannual Refugee Adjustment Day* took place on April 25th. On that day, 24 volunteers from College Park Church (as part of their annual SERVE day), plus 9 additional volunteer attorneys, worked with our staff to help 62 immigrants apply for Legal Permanent Residence. All in one day!Read more
It is easy to understand how and why other people hurt—at least when they’re in your office, crumpled tissues in hand, the empathy flows. But sympathy and empathy alone can leave you in the realm of pitying people. And we have not been called to pity people. Our call is to "(a)dminister true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another” (Zechariah 7:9).Read more
Have you been trying to decide how to get more involved with your community, but don’t know where to start? Want a fun night out with a humanitarian twist? Join us for our 2nd annual Jazz for Justice event, a night full of jazzy tunes and scrumptious food (we’re talking Cajun BBQ meatballs, roasted veggie platter, spinach-artichoke dip, and chocolate-covered strawberries!).Read more
The Civil Legal Advice Line is beautiful in its simplicity: For those who live outside of the counties the Clinic serves with on-site intakes, clients can now call 1-877-230-7521 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. During this call, they can speak with an attorney and receive free legal information and advice.Read more
Thank you for supporting #TeamJustice and helping low-income families receive free legal services by making a donation to Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. We may be out now, but during our tourney run this year, the Legal Clinic made $18,656! We couldn't have done it without your help!
Round 2 of Brackets-for-Good ends tonight, March 13 at 7:59:59 PM and we need your help to make it to Round 3! Please support #TeamJustice during #BFG15 by clicking the following link, selecting “Christian Legal” on the top line, and scrolling down: https://indianapolis.bracketsforgood.org/?somerset-division
Every dollar counts!
I am pleased to introduce to you, Megan Lewis, outstanding volunteer at the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. Megan has a long history with the Clinic starting out as a VISTA Summer Intern in 2010 working in Consumer Justice and Housing. In the fall of 2010 Megan continued in her volunteerism as a law student conducting intakes at the Blue Triangle, a local veteran domiciliary which provides housing for homeless veterans. Once licensed to practice law Megan, began taking pro bono case referrals from the Clinic. She currently serves as a program volunteer attorney with the Clinic’s partnership with the Hoosier Veteran Assistance Foundation (HVAF) of Indiana which seeks to meet the civil legal needs of homeless veterans.
Megan is from Yorktown Indiana and she joined the Indiana Army National Guard a few weeks before she graduated from high school. Over the next few years Megan attended college at Indiana University in Bloomington and had various commitments to the Guard while in school. In 2005 Megan’s unit deployed to Iraq where she served for twelve months. When Megan returned in 2006, she completed her undergraduate degree and in 2009 she attended law school at Indiana University School of Law.
When asked what motivates her to volunteer at the Clinic she responded, “I have a passion for pro bono work and for supporting organizations that provide legal services to those who cannot afford it. My primary goal is to serve veterans. When I returned from Iraq, I had a very hard time reintegrating into civilian life and college…. The Clinic allows me to use the skills I developed as an attorney to help other veterans and those in the Indianapolis area that need assistance. My hope is that those I assist will use their talents to help others as well.”
Megan met her husband Evan in her Guard unit and they currently live in Fishers with their three cats, Bob, Mo and Sonny (see hilarious picture). The two just recently celebrated their tenth anniversary. Way to go you two!
Megan has been a major asset to the Clinic as a law student and as a family law attorney assisting homeless veterans. Having felt the direct effects of war as a soldier, Megan knows too well the suffering of those who have fought for our country and have returned changed, wounded, scarred. It is her goal in working as a volunteer for the Clinic to help alleviate the legal struggles veterans face upon returning.
Megan states, “It’s an unfortunate fact that some may never have the financial resources to obtain help for their legal issues. The Clinic helps those people.” This is why Megan continues to volunteer and give of her time to the Clinic and its mission. When asked what Social Justice means to her she states, “Access to free justice.”
Megan, thank you for your heart of courage, service and compassion. This community needs more people who share your passion for those in need and we thank you for sharing your gifts with the Clinic.
"As we express our gratitude. we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." -John F. Kennedy
Greetings Volunteers & Partners!
Maybe you've heard about our awesome upcoming Justice For All Event, Celebrating 20 Years of Service to the Community. Well, if you haven't please check out the event page HERE and get your ticket today. We are hoping to see more of our volunteers at this year's event, so please take note of both the discounted volunteer pricing as well as the discounted student tickets for past and present interns and student volunteers. JFA 2014 will be an excellent event and fun opportunity to support the Clinic and meet others in the community who support the Clinic's mission.
Now to the main purpose of this post: We need your help! Can you take cases? Want to help out with a phone-a-thon survey day? Can you assist at our Project GRACE Help Desk? We need all the help we can get, so take a look at your schedules and consider volunteering this fall for some of these great opportunities to help the community.
As always, thank you again for your time and support!
Sincerely, Erin Hougland Volunteer Coordinator
CASES- Please consider helping
6 Bankruptcy: We continue to have bankruptcies and need extra support! 1 Guardianship 1 Custody/Visitation 2 Divorce Cases from the Clinic's Victim Justice Project
INTAKES- in order of need. For information on locations please goHERE.
Aletheia Church*formerly Madison Avenue Baptist Church 1st and 3rd Thursday, 12pm-2pm Vida Nueva United Methodist– 1st Tuesday, 4pm-6pm La Plaza – 3rd Friday
CONTINUING LEGAL EDUCATION Please be sure to go to the Upcoming Events page or to the Clinic’s website to learn more about our upcoming CLEs. Here’s a taste of what’s coming soon. Be sure to sign up and reserve your spot! CLEs are free for those who are Program Volunteer Attorneys.
October 24th: Project GRACE CLE Exoffender Reentry 8:30am-4:30pm, Sign Up HERE November 7th: Consumer Justice Tax Law CLE: Offers in Compromise 2pm-4pm @ Ice Miller LLP Sign Up HERE November 14th: Immigration CLE on Asylum 8:30am-4:30pm @ Fagre Baker Daniels Sign Up HERE December 5th: Victim Justice CLE 8:30am-4:30pm, Location Barnes & Thornburg LLP Sign Up HERE
ONE-DAY VOLUNTEER EVENTS FOR ATTORNEYSOctober 11th: DACA Day 9am-4pm @ the Clinic Register HERE
INTAKES La Plaza: 1st and 3rd Fridays
Go Herefor a list of our current fall internships!
Law Students, please also note your help is appreciated at our One-Day Event coming up:October 11th: DACA Day 9am-4pm @ the Clinic Register HERE
-PROJECT GRACE: Help Needed-
Phone Surveys: Project GRACE’s three main focus areas are familial, economic, and employment stability. We are looking for a volunteer to dedicate 2 hours per day over three separate days of your choice. A volunteer will conduct surveys via phone with clients whose case has been resolved.
Help Desk: We need volunteers willing to give 2 hours a week or more to the Pro Se Expungement Help Desk. Want to learn more about this opportunity? Contact Jessica Cooney: firstname.lastname@example.org
Volunteers, Students and Partners:
Join us for a night of celebration, reflection and inspiration as we mark 20 years of service to the community.
The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic cordially invites you to attend our 2014 Justice for All Celebration.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 Cocktail Hour 6:00 - 7:00 pm Dinner and Program 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Explore the grounds of the Indiana Landmarks Centerand join us in the Cook Theater and Grand Hall for a dynamic evening you won't soon forget.
Jeffrey Pankratz, a founding member of the Clinic, and President & CEO ofJustice Ventures International will be providing our Keynote Address.
Plated dinner and open bar. Business Attire.
On-site parking is available. Street parking is also available along Central Avenue.
- Marquee Sponsors -
Barnes & Thornburg, LLP Faegre Baker Daniels Benjamin & Abby Kuzma
- Event Sponsors -
Ice Miller, LLP Signature Home Companions
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards ofGod’s grace in its various forms." 1 Peter 4:10
After moving to Indianapolis in 2011, I found myself staring down the end of ten years of staying at home with my children. My youngest was getting ready for kindergarten and I was getting ready for a mid-life crisis. After staying at home that long, I wasn’t sure that I could function in a work environment. My kids didn’t even believe that I had a college degree, much less a law degree and I had a difficult time believing it myself. To maintain flexibility and determine if I “had it in me” I decided to look around for volunteer opportunities and came across the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic web site.
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure what I could help with. My law license was only valid in Iowa so Erin (awesome volunteer coordinator) and I decided to look at the federal issues where my license would be valid. Tax or Immigration. I hate numbers, but love people so immigration it was. I took a few Dream Act cases (DACA) and then started helping with the immigration intake clinic every Wednesday. Rachel (awesome immigration attorney) was patient in training me and answering all my questions. The front office staff was patient in showing me everything from how to work the copier to the mail stamper. The Clinic helped me get my work groove back. My immigrant clients gave me a new passion.
I recently received a letter from one of my Dream Act clients. She will be heading to college this fall with a scholarship. Is there anything more rewarding than knowing you made a difference in someone’s life? We recently moved back to Iowa and I am hoping to take what I learned at the Clinic meet the needs of the immigrant population in Iowa.
My point is this: If you want to be a part of a community of believers that is more about doing than talking, more about helping than judging, take your gifts and head straight to Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. I am so thankful that I did!
Meet William Fife our 2012 Summer Legal Intern turned volunteer in-house attorney. William was born and raised in Indianapolis and attended IU Bloomington for undergrad where he studied Public Affairs. Upon graduating, William entered the Peace Corps and lived for two years in the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific ( If you're wondering, as I was, where the Kingdom of Tonga is, please check out this Map Kingdom of Tonga ).William lived on an island five miles long by one mile wide with a population of about 1,000 people. Talk about culture shock. While there William worked on small business development and grant writing with different village counterparts. He organized youth groups to do commercial farming on unused land and spent a large amount of time in his final months there doing Tongan to English document translation.
"The experience there really opened my eyes to the day-to-day issues of poverty and social justice." William found himself passionate about helping empower those in need and says, "my entire life since that time has been focused in some way on serving the under-served."
William came to the Clinic as a summer intern in 2012 to work in our Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program where he worked with staff attorney Veronique Beuoy to research, develop legal education and do outreach to different communities who could benefit from the LITC Program. William graduated from Florida Coastal Law School in 2013 and returned to the Clinic to work with staff attorney Rachel Van Tyle in Immigration Law where he currently works closely with refugee clients.
When I asked William what he likes about working with the Clinic he says he strongly identifies with the Clinic's mission and that being a part of an organization who is passionate about serving the under-served has been very powerful for him. "That sense of mission and spirit has been an incredible experience. One of the best, if not the best, work environments I have been in."
William informed us recently that he has accepted a job as a staff attorney at the Micronesian Legal Service Corporation in the Marshall Islands where he will be working primarily in immigration law and land disputes. Since William will literally be on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I asked him what his favorite book, music and hobbies are: The Autobiography of Malcom X, Miles Davis and chess which he says "I am a junkie for chess". Luckily these are all things he should be able to pack in his bags when he heads to the Marshall Islands at the end of May.
William, thanks for all your hard work, passion and dedication. We loved getting to know you over the past couple of years and we are excited about your journey to come. Our prayers travel with you.