Bar association to offer free legal advice on holiday


Jackson County residents who can’t afford a lawyer can have some of their legal questions answered free-of-charge Monday.

The Indiana State Bar Association will once again sponsor Talk to a Lawyer Today, a legal assistance program for the underserved.

Established in 2002, the pro bono program is held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and gives attorneys statewide a chance to offer free legal consultations to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it, according to a news release from the association.

One Seymour attorney, Mark Risser, will offer his legal services to District I residents.

Risser said he will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at his office at 1411 Corporate Way in Seymour. He will be available either by walk-in or through an appointment.

There are also five other walk-in locations outside of Jackson County:

  • Legal Aid District 11 Office, 1531 13th St., Suite G330, Columbus, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Bartholomew County Public Library, 536 Fifth St., Columbus, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Jennings County Public Library, 2375 State Road 3, North Vernon, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Brown County Public Library, 205 Locust Lane, Nashville, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Decatur County United Fund, 108 S. Broadway St., Greensburg, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

District 1 includes Jackson, Bartholomew, Brown, Decatur, Jennings, Johnson, Rush and Shelby counties.

The program is expected to have more than 200 attorneys to provide 10- to 15-minute consultations to answer questions and offer legal information on subjects ranging from landlords and tenants, child support, protective orders and insurance.

Any documents that pertain to those subject matters are encouraged to be brought.

In addition to the site location, one Scott County attorney will once again open his doors to serve any residents in the surrounding area, including Jackson County.

Joseph Payne, who has practiced law since 1982, suggests making an appointment with him to receive a 30-minute time slot.

His wife and office manager, Karen Payne, said attorneys are encouraged when they take the oath to practice law to provide a certain amount of pro bono work to the public.

“Mr. Payne has always spent his entire day on MLK Day doing free legal work,” she said of the past 15 years.

Joseph Payne’s office, located in Austin, will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Monday with a break from noon to 1 p.m. for lunch.

Karen Payne said all questions are welcome to receive a “legal checkup.” She gave an example that if one has an automobile insurance policy but doesn’t understand the terms, one can ask what would happen if a car accident occurred.

Last year, the office had a full day with about 15 people who received service.

The office also takes walk-ins, which will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition to the locations, a local telephone hotline for District I residents will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday by calling 877-378-0358.

Spanish-speaking callers can call 800-266-2581 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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For free legal advice on Monday, District I residents, which includes Jackson County, can call from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 877-378-0358. Spanish-speaking callers can dial 800-266-2581 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For information online, visit

The state hotline for both English and Spanish-speaking callers will be available at 1-800-266-2581 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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To set up an appointment with attorney Joseph Payne in Scott County, call 812-794-4100. His office is located at 377 W. Main St. in Austin.

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To make an appointment with Mark Risser, call 812-522-0628.


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