Indiana Legal Services (ILS) is a nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal assistance to eligible low-income people throughout the state of Indiana. ILS helps clients who are faced with legal problems that harm their ability to have such basics as food, shelter, income, medical care or personal safety. Most of the cases ILS handles are cases such as family law where there is domestic violence, housing, consumer law, access to health care, and access to government benefits. ILS does not handle any criminal matters.
Over half a million people in Indiana live below the poverty level. There are several agencies and programs around the state that try to meet the legal needs of the poor. ILS is the largest of these agencies in Indiana. ILS recognizes and supports other agencies around the state that provide legal assistance to the poor, such as legal aid societies and pro bono programs. We also partner with organizations outside of Indiana, such as the Mid-America Pension Rights Project. Even with all of these agencies working hard, it is difficult to meet the legal needs of the poor in Indiana.
ILS was established in 1966, and today we serve clients in every county in Indiana. (To see which of our offices serves the various counties, click here.) We have 51 attorneys and numerous other staff members working in offices around the state. ILS has several specialized projects to address the needs of particular client communities, including the Senior Law Project, the Homeless Legal Project, the Immigrants and Language Rights Center, the Consumer Law Center, and the Housing Law Center. ILS is governed by a Board of Directors which includes private attorneys throughout the state of Indiana and low-income people who are eligible for services at ILS.
ILS receives funds from many different sources, including funding from Congress through the Legal Services Corporation, funding through United Way agencies and other agencies around the state. ILS also accepts private donations.
In 2004, ILS served over 11,000 low income people. Some of these cases were full representation cases, where an ILS attorney represented the client in a court or agency action. Some of these cases involved giving a client advice about his or her legal rights and what action the client could take.
ILS Mission Statement: "To use our resources to provide poor people with a wide variety of aggressive, quality legal services which will effectively help them to gain equal access to the courts; empower them to control their lives; and impact on the major causes and effects of poverty."
ILS Diversity and Inclusion Mission Statement: "To ensure that ILS policies and practices respect, value, appreciate and leverage the unique and varied attributes of ILS's clients, board, staff and stakeholders."
Indiana Justice Center (IJC), was established in 1999 to develop a state justice community in Indiana. In a state justice community, institutions and individuals involved in the judicial system and client community work together to ensure that all low-income people have access to justice.
Goals of the IJC include: sponsoring the Indiana Access to Justice Conference; developing ways in which the courts, legal services providers, client advocates and others can work together to ensure access to justice; coordinating training for attorneys, advocates, and the client community; developing community legal education materials; developing this web site; and coordinating work with the 14 Judicial Districts and the legal services providers.