Not every lawyer takes pro bono work seriously. Why should they give their time so freely only to receive little name recognition? But not everyone became a lawyer for fame or fortune. Esteemed attorney Joseph Bauer is one such man. After retiring, Bauer chose to pay a hefty fee in order to procure a foreign attorney license to be inducted into the Indiana Bar. That was before a rule change that rescinded the fee. Now he doesn’t have to dip into his savings.
The Supreme Court admitted Bauer to the Indiana Bar because he “intended to provide legal services free of charge to persons of limited means through a pro bono or other legal service organization eligible for fee waiver.”
And that’s all one needs to practice law under the Indiana Bar.
That doesn’t mean everyone is lining up at once. Only eight applications have been processed since the program’s implementation. The program allows any attorney to apply if they are in good standing and uphold a fine moral character while practicing the law.
Attorney Asher-Waite Jones said, “I think it’s a fantastic program. There’s almost nothing you can’t do as a pro bono attorney. I think, for me, I went to law school knowing I wanted to be a public interest attorney. I knew that I only wanted to represent clients living in poverty. If someone is already a pro bono attorney, and you want to work with low-income clients, it’s a fantastic way to waive the bar requirement and waive into Indiana on a shorter timeline basis.”
Bauer is just happy to help out the community.
Attorney Gina Frey put her legal career on hold after becoming pregnant. After moving to Indiana, she decided to use the program to jump back into law. She said, “I didn’t think I could get any legal work, as I had been out of the ‘game,’ so to speak, for a number of years…I sent my resume to their office manager and their general counsel reached out to me and told me about (pro bono publico).”