Welcome to the Indiana University Maurer School of Law Access to Justice Program. AJP encourages law students and recent graduates to provide legal assistance to low-income individuals, both while in law school and after graduation.
The Maurer School of Law has adopted an aspirational goal for students of 60 hours of pro bono work during their three years of law school (20 hours per year). The school has adopted the ABA definition of pro bono, which includes law-related services without compensation of either income or academic credit. Since May 2014, our students have logged over 16,500 pro bono hours.
Students participate in pro bono services because it is rewarding and it provides practical skills. "Pro bono work is an opportunity for me to apply what I'm learning in a meaningful and interesting way," said Margot Newman, JD'15, who assists indigent criminal defendants and inmates. "I am able to provide legal assistance to persons who have very little or no access to otherwise to legal resources."
AJP organizes a full schedule of events to make achieving the aspirational goal for pro bono service feasible. Starting in the fall, AJP holds a Pro Bono Fair, at which community organizations come to the law school to educate students about and recruit students for volunteer positions. AJP also conducts ethics training for students beginning their pro bono service.
Throughout the school year, AJP also organizes events and brings in speakers. The goal of AJP is to raise awareness of public interest opportunities and provide students with information regarding careers in the public interest sector. In March 2015, AJP invited UC Hastings Professor Ascanio Piomelli to discuss how attorneys and other activists can work to create progressive social change. Professor Piomelli's approach, called "democratic lawyering,"" explores the impact of race, class, and gender on the effort to create such change.
Every year, AJP holds the annual Pro Bono Awards ceremony to recognize one outstanding student volunteer from each class and the graduating student who reported the most pro bono hours from his or her time at the law school; AJP additionally recognizes a member of the local community who demonstrates an outstanding commitment to pro bono. In 2014, the recipient of the community attorney award was the Protective Order Project (POP), one of Indiana Law's student-run pro bono groups that just celebrated its 25th year of service. POP helps victims of domestic violence, abuse, and stalking obtain civil protective orders. This year's student honorees were Jessica Jackson-McLain, JD'14, Jackson Beach, JD'15, Will John, JD'16, and Steven Corfman, JD'16. The Pro Bono Awards ceremony speaker was Judge Viola Taliaferro, who is well known for her dedication to protecting Monroe County's youth during her time on the Monroe Circuit Court. The law school's Family and Children Mediation Clinic is also named in her honor.
AJP encourages students to report their pro bono hours during the school year, as these numbers determine award winners. For more information on reporting your pro bono hours, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each year, two pro bono fellows, sponsored by Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, coordinate AJP's activities. The 2015-2016 fellows are Katie Thrapp, JD'16, and Francesca Hoffmann, JD'17.
You may contact AJP at email@example.com. Please do not send us any confidential or personal information. AJP is not your lawyer, AJP does not represent anyone, and AJP cannot give you legal advice. If you are looking for free or low-cost legal representation, please visit Find a Legal Aid Provider.
Projects are another way for Indiana Law students to gain valuable practice experience with less of a time commitment than clinics, externships, and practicums. Projects are especially good opportunities for 1Ls because of their more limited scope and time commitment. Academic credit is not granted for participation in a project.