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Two Fort Wayne Attorneys To Be Honored for Dedication to Free Legal Services

October 18 Ceremony to Present Randall T. Shepard Award Announced

INDIANAPOLIS – Two Fort Wayne attorneys will be recognized for relentlessness and tenacity in support of pro bono legal services in Allen and surrounding counties. David Van Gilder, Van Gilder and Trzynka P.C. and Yvette Gaff Kleven, Adelsperger and Kleven LLP will receive the state’s highest honor for excellence in pro bono service, the Randall T. Shepard Award, at an October 18 celebration. The Indiana Pro Bono Commission recognizes attorneys annually for dedication and development of free legal services.

“Through good times and bad, they have been at the helm to assure that the organization’s commitment to justice for low income residents never falters,” said Terry McCaffrey, executive director of Volunteer Lawyer Program of Northeast Indiana (VLP). McCaffrey said that Van Gilder and Kleven  have been a “leadership team” since VLP was formed in 2002.

McCaffrey cited their “relentless pursuit” of fellow attorneys that grew VLP attorney-volunteers from 75 to 200. Initially, VLP received 3,700 inquiries per year for assistance. By 2012 that number grew almost three-fold to 11,000 callers. Kleven and Van Gilder assisted in managing the explosion of service with protocols for service delivery and staffing. Now they have successfully pursued private funding from local attorneys and law firms to help the agency when IOLTA revenues were no longer sufficiently meeting its funding needs. They have secured two- and  three-year financial commitments from local law firms as well as donations from individual attorneys to assist the VLP.

Their individual pro bono efforts apparently did not diminish during this time of administrative aid. Kleven, according to one letter of support, “assists 12-15 bankruptcy clients a year” and organizes bankruptcy clinics for VLP. Van Gilder “typically puts in 75-100 hours of pro bono service annually.”

Sponsored jointly by the Indiana Pro Bono Commission and the Indiana Bar Foundation, the 2013 Randall T. Shepard Award Celebration, where these awards will be presented, will begin at 5:00 p.m. October 18 at the Indiana State Bar Association annual meeting. The celebration will be at the French Lick Springs Resort. The celebration is free but reservations are requested. Respond to Lily Lawson if you would like to attend or call 317-269-2415. For more information about the past honorees and award criteria , go to links provided.

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Terry McCaffrey, VLP,  260-407-0917 

Theresa Browning, Indiana Bar Foundation/Indiana Pro Bono Commission: 317-269-7864

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