Frequently asked questions about probono legal assistance in Indiana

FAQ - General Questions About Pro Bono Services (click on question to reveal answer)

At Southern Indiana Pro Bono Referrals we must first determine if you are eligible for our services before we can refer you to a volunteer attorney. Applicants must be a resident of Indiana and meet financial and other case specific qualifications set by our board. Financial eligibility alone does not guarantee a referral. Our board reserves the right to review factors on a case-by-case basis as needed to fulfill our mission of serving low-income individuals.

It generally takes about 2 weeks to process applications. If you qualify for services, the referral process could take 2-3 months. If you have an emergency, a court hearing, or a deadline, you should make every attempt to obtain private counsel of your own choosing. Advise us of any urgency in your case so that we may attempt to assist but understand that we may not be able to find a volunteer in time for your deadline.

No. Our staff cannot answer legal questions. Our staff makes eligibility determinations and attempts to make referrals with local volunteer attorneys.

  • Civil matters only. (If you have been charged with a crime - felony or misdemeanor - you may be appointed a public defender by the court.)
  • Some of the cases place include family law, guardianship, small estates, and mortgage foreclosure.
  • We are not responsible for referring cases requiring immediate assistance. Typically the referral process could take 2-3 months.
  • We will not refer a case if legal assistance is available from other sources.
  • We seldom place cases involving bankruptcy, employment, discrimination, immigration, worker's compensation, disability, Children in Need of Services (CHINS), license reinstatement, negligence, personal injury or fee generating cases.

Applicants whose household income is below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines will qualify financially. Consideration is given to applicants whose household income is between 150% and 200% depending on the type of case. (Federal Poverty Guidelines are determined by the Dept. of Health and Human Resources)

  • To request services, you must complete and submit an application. You may complete your application on-line, or ask us to mail you an application. Carefully read the application. Complete, sign, and date the application.
  • If you have documents, including court documents, that are relevant to your legal matter, our office will need copies before your case can be referred. (Do not send originals. Paperwork will not be returned.)
  • Applications which are incomplete or lacking relevant court documents will not be referred to volunteer attorneys. (However, this does not refer to sections of the application which do not apply to your situation. For example, if no case has been filed yet, you will not have a case number.)
  • Submit the application to our office on-line or by mail or fax. Should your information change, especially contact information, it is your duty to contact us with updates or your file will be closed.

  • If a volunteer attorney agrees to meet with you for an initial interview, you will receive a letter from our office. You must contact the volunteer attorney within 10 days of receiving the letter and identify yourself as a Southern Indiana Pro Bono Referral. Failure to do so will result in removal from the program.
  • Referral to a volunteer attorney for an initial interview does not mean that you have been accepted as a client. The attorney will counsel you briefly and determine their ability to represent you further. Any legal services provided to you will be determined by the volunteer attorney on an ongoing basis. The volunteer attorney has a right to withdraw representation if they feel you have misrepresented or failed to disclose material facts, or if you fail to follow their advice, or the relationship between the two of you fails for any reason.

We are primarily funded through the Interest On Lawyer Trust Account (IOLTA) program. In 1997, the Indiana Supreme Court formally approved court rules that allow interest on lawyer trust accounts to be collected by the Indiana Bar Foundation and used to fund programs that encourage pro bono work by Indiana lawyers.

Applicants who meet the following criteria will be considered for pro bono referral through SI-PBR:

  • The applicant must be the homeowner and the borrower.
  • The homeowner's household income does not exceed 250% of federal poverty level or the homeowner demonstrates a lack of resources for representation by an attorney in a workout.
  • The home must be the primary residence of the homeowner and be owner-occupied.
  • The homeowner must not have refinanced either to purchase additional property or to secure cash for non-essential living expenses.
  • Additional items needed to be filed with your application:
    • 30 days pay stubs.
    • 2 months bank statements.
    • Hardship letter (what happened).
    • Latest Mortgage statement.
    • Prior years tax form and W2's.
    • Original loan documents.
    • Copy of budget.
    • Proof of any other documented income (child support, disability, social security, etc.)

Helpful Organizations and Resources

Below is a listing of available resources and contact information. Click on the organization name for a link to their website.

All Region 14 Counties

Scott County

Orange County

Crawford County

Washington County

Clark County

Floyd County

Harrison County