The Clark Legal Self Help Center opened in May 2010 when the Chief Justice of Indiana, Randall Shepard, visited the Clark Circuit Court to join Judge
Daniel Moore in the formal dedication. Judge Moore stated "I am honored that the Chief would make this visit to support The Center and the work of
volunteers who work to extend information about the legal system to the poor and disadvantaged."
In his dedication remarks, the Chief Justice spoke of the large number of Indiana citizens who have legal questions but simply don't know where to go to seek answers. The Center operates to provide guidance, information and referrals for people who get "served with papers" and are taken aback, even frightened, about the notion of having to appear in a courtroom. In the
alternative, there are many people who cannot afford regular lawyer fees but wish to file a claim for relief in the courts. The Center provides small claims manuals, as well as a list of area lawyers who have notified the
Center of a willingness to accept referrals. Those lists, and contact
information for the Legal Volunteers group and Indiana Legal Services Inc. are made available at the Center Desk.
Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Melissa May also joined in the dedication program. Judge May is Chair of the Indiana Pro Bono Commission and voiced
her support for this effort because of her view that the need people have
for legal information is continuing and "organizations like this play an important part in meeting such needs." The Board of Planners for the Center
is comprised of volunteer attorneys and Ms. Jill Oca CPA, who serves as
Board Chair. The Board expresses ongoing thanks to the Clark County
Commissioners , who have provided a courthouse location for Center
volunteers to meet with citizens. The Self Help Center has made student volunteer contacts with the University
of Louisville School of Law, Indiana University Southeast and Ivy Tech.
Lawyer volunteers and students are available at the Center on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 1:30 pm until 3:30 pm-or longer if needed. Center volunteers meet with 10-15 contacts each day it is open. Some 20 area
attorneys have generously volunteered to staff the Center desk with a
student . The focus of the work is for people with limited income or means.
The Board of Planners specially thanks Mr. Norman Metzger of Indiana Legal
Services Inc. for providing informational brochures on certain areas of law
that can be given to people who meet with a volunteer at the Center.
Phase 2 of the Self Help operation, opened in the fall 2011,
providing computer support from the Indiana Supreme Court website and other sources which may allow a person to fill out their own court documents for filing. The computer system was purchased and made possible through a generous outpouring of community support and donations for equipment and software to help citizens and to the Indiana Bar Foundation for its support and invormational materila. Judge Moore applauded the Chief Justice and the
entire Supreme Court for making such advanced information available, whether
from its own Court offices or through the Center at the local level via the Curt website. "We are fortunate to have a Supreme Court in Indiana with a
clear vision to the needs of its citizens and how the legal system can try to meet their needs, now and in the the future" he said.