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Pro Bono Assistance Opportunities & Resources

Pro Bono Program:

Local Rule 87 is the court’s effort, after consultation with a broad range of attorneys who regularly practice in this court, to ensure that the court can recruit counsel in every case in which the law requires it. Local Rule 87 creates a Voluntary Panel that will consist of attorneys who are willing to volunteer to represent indigent litigants in civil cases and an Obligatory Panel from which the court will recruit counsel if no attorney from the Voluntary Panel is available to appear in a given case.

In 2017, 1,480 civil cases were filed by pro se litigants. Counsel was recruited to assist in 70 cases of those cases.  Approximately, 120 attorneys participated.  In response to the Court’s 2018 Pro Bono Survey, attorneys reported spending on average 20 hours on an appointment limited to assisting with settlement and on average 60 hours for an unlimited appointment.  

In order to facilitate pro bono appointments, the court will reimburse certain expenses and will help obtain professional liability insurance coverage if needed.  If desired, pro bono counsel may also enter into fee arrangements with their clients.  Mentors are also available for consultation.

Letter from Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt - Representation of Indigent Litigants

Pro Bono Opportunities and Registration:

Pro Bono Opportunities

On-Line Application

Local Rule and General Orders:

Local Rule 87

General Order Re: Local Rule 87 Threshold Numbers

  General Order Regarding Fee Expenses

Frequently Asked Questions

Resources for Recruited Counsel:

Legal Issues:

  Guide for Attorneys Recruited to Represent Plaintiffs in Section 1983 Cases

  Conditions of Confinement Amicus Brief

  Retaliation Amicus Brief

  Manning vs. United States, 546 F.3d 430 (7th Cir. 2008) (discussing application of the Federal Tort Claims Act's Judgment Bar to Bivens cases).

Eighth Amendment Deliberate Indifference

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Prison Litigation Reform Act Issues

Attorney Support:

  Recruited Counsel's Handbook for Prisoner Litigation 

Document Library hosted by the Indianapolis Bar Association  The document library is populated through submissions from practicing attorneys.  Please consider submitting additional documents if you believe they could assist a future volunteer. 

  Malpractice/Professional Liability Insurance Available if Needed

  Mentors Available for Consultation

Upcoming CLE Programs (There are no CLE programs scheduled at this time.)


  Motion to Appoint Additional Recruited Counsel

   Ex Parte Motion for Reimbursement of Expenses Form

  Form W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification

Sample Engagement Letter Form

   Sample BOP Release of Information Form

   Sample IDOC Release of Information Form

Sample HIPAA Form

  Sample Confidential Settlement Statement (Plaintiff)

  Sample Confidential Settlement Statement (Defendant)

Publications and Testimonials:

Making Litigants' Voices Heard:  Indy Attorney Sniderman takes on Additional Role Helping Recruited Counsel Represent Prisoners (The Indiana Lawyer, March 16, 2022)

Pendleton inmate wins $425K solitary settlement with help from Chicago, pro bono attorneys (The Indiana Lawyer, March 4, 2020)

  Pro Bono Survey Report 2018

Breakfast and bravos for pro bono attorneys (The Indiana Lawyer, January 11, 2019)

  Answering the Call (The Circuit Rider, November 2018)

Pro bono push: State, federal court see upturns in volunteering attorneys (The Indiana Lawyer, April 18, 2018)

Southern District Celebrates Pro Bono Attorneys (The Indiana Lawyer, March 8, 2017)

Attorneys Applauded for Representing Pro Bono Clients in Federal Court (The Indiana Lawyer, February 24, 2016)

Mediation Assistance Program Appoints Counsel to Help Litigants Settle Cases (The Indiana Lawyer, May 6, 2015)

  Southern District Programs for Pro Se Parties  (Hon. Tim A. Baker, Res Gestae, April 2014)


  2019 Attorney Honor Roll

  2018 Attorney Honor Roll 

  2017 Attorney Honor Roll

  2016 Attorney Honor Roll


Southern District of Indiana Pro Bono Coordinator:

Jeremy Votaw
(317) 229-3995