Meet Volunteer Attorney Phil Zimmerly

Waiting with the others in court that morning, Phil was fascinated by the eclectic mix of people and their reasons for being there. Everyone had a story. There were those who were divorced, wanting to rid themselves of the name they had taken on as a newlywed. There were children who were being adopted, now bestowed with new names to match their new family. Phil marveled at the ceremony and power as the judge declared for each person, “You will forever be known as—” before christening them anew. “It felt like a religious moment,” Phil says to me now.

Read more

Weekly News & Updates: 9/30/2014

"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:

A Message from Volunteer Attorney Stephanie Pickens: Use Your Gifts

"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!

Weekly News & Updates: 5/20/2014

 We have so many fun things planned for the summer! Not only do we plan to fill up our offices again with 20 Summer Interns, we plan to celebrate our 20th Anniversary by doing some pretty awesome stuff.  To start things off we will be having a Tastings & Trivia night, Monday June 9th from 7pm to 9pm. Before that, go to one of the three great restaurants we have picked out in Fountain Square and have 20% of what you purchase donated to the Clinic. To get more details and to sign up GO HERE . And then come and join us Friday June 13th for a good old fashion night of fun at an Indianapolis Indians Baseball game. Last year we had a blast with those who could attend. Be sure to sign up again and don't miss out on the fireworks! To get your reduced-price tickets GO HERE.

Bring your friends and family to these events, the more the merrier. We love serving, doing justice and celebrating our mission and vision with you.

As always, please see our current needs below. We especially need help in the areas of Family Law and Bankruptcy Case Referrals, Interpreters and Attorneys at Intakes. Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for your continued time and support.

Sincerely, Erin Hougland Volunteer Coordinator

Attorneys:5 Bankruptcy Cases need volunteer attorney support. 8 Family Law Cases, 4 Divorce, 1 Protective Order, 2 Custody and 1 Paternity case- all  family law case referrals are from our partnering service agencies.

Please consider taking a case referral in one of these areas, Bankruptcy and Family Law.


St. Vincent – 2nd Monday

Noblesville – 4th and 5th Thursday

Madison – 3rd Thursday

Vida Nueva – 1st Tuesday

*All Intake locations and times can be found here:

Interpreters: We are also looking for Spanish speaking volunteers who can assist as interpreters for volunteer attorney case referrals. This work can be done online or over the phone and is flexible enough for people who have busy schedules. Please consider helping out with your language skills. For more information contact Erin.

We are in need of Spanish language interpreter support at our intake locations. 2 hours a month, on a regular basis:

St. Vincent –All Mondays

La Plaza – 1st and 3rd Friday

Madison – All Thursdays

Noblesville – All Thursdays

Southeastern – 1st and 3rd Thursdays

Nehemiah - All Tuesdays

*All Intake locations and times can be found here:

PrayerPartners: Interested in joining us in prayer for our clients and partnering agencies? Email:

Meet Legal Intern & Volunteer Attorney William Fife

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.