AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Winter 2013

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Spotlight u Adams Goes 'Above and Beyond' the Call Statehouse to advocate for the education rights of limited-English proficient (LEP) and undocumented students. Angela Adams Lewis & Kappes Indianapolis, IN by Christie Popp A ll attorneys are encouraged to advocate for vulnerable client populations, but some of us go above and beyond that call. Angela Adams, a partner with the Indianapolis law firm of Lewis & Kappes, is one of those people. Angela has been with Lewis & Kappes her entire legal career, having started as a paralegal with the firm while she was still in law school. Although the focus of her practice is immigration law, her passion is the intersection of immigration and education law, and it is this passion that has taken her into the Indiana Before attending law school, Angela worked for Indiana's Department of Education, where she worked on issues related to migrant and LEP education. She saw how immigrant students often experience high dropout rates and barriers to attending college. Angela researched and wrote about higher education for undocumented students in a law school class. Later, with the help of her boss Tom Ruge, Angela turned the paper into a law review article. The work on this article spurred Angela to begin advocating for change statewide. With the blessing of Lewis & Kappes, Angela helped establish a working group for concerned citizens to advocate for in-state tuition for undocumented students. She learned from the Commission for Higher Education that state law let the universities determine who was a resident for in-state tuition, so she turned her advocacy to the universities themselves. Her advocacy with the presidents and boards of trustees resulted in great success. Eventually "Her advocacy with the presidents and boards of trustees resulted in great success. Eventually six out of seven state colleges and universities gave in-state tuition to undocumented students. ..." six out of seven state colleges and universities gave in-state tuition to undocumented students, and one school, Ivy Tech Community College, made a formal policy change to specifically permit undocumented students to pay in-state tuition if they otherwise satisfied the residency requirements. All of this changed, however, with the passage of SB590, Indiana's "copycat" to Arizona's immigration law. SB590 and another bill passed at the same time seem to prohibit undocumented students from getting in-state tuition rates. Indiana first tried to pass a strict anti-immigration law in 2008, and since that time Angela has spent hundreds of pro bono hours advocating at the statehouse, including testifying in hearings and working with professional lobbyists. She also helped form the Indiana Compact, which is a coalition supporting a rational debate on immigration. Once SB590 passed, Angela helped bring a lawsuit to challenge two parts of the law. The judge granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction and after the Supreme Court ruled on Arizona's law last year, Indiana's attorney general took a step back in defending Indiana's law. Angela is now fighting for legislation that will grandfather in students who were already receiving in-state tuition when Indiana's law passed in 2011. In 2012, Angela spent 150-200 pro bono hours on the in-state tuition bill. She also spent hundreds more hours in earlier years advocating for undocumented students' rights to instate tuition and against SB590 and its predecessors. Importantly, Angela's pro bono work is not limited to advocating and testifying at the statehouse. She also frequently gives presentations to community groups, and she handles pro bono cases for indigent and vulnerable clients. Angela is truly a person who exemplifies the ethos of giving back through her profession. CHEERS! AILA congratulates past president and pro bono aficionado extraordinaire, Bob Juceam, who was recently presented with the Chesterfield Smith Award from the Pro Bono Institute! www.aila.org 2

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