In the early 1920s, legal aid to low income persons first began to be offered on an organized basis in Indianapolis by the Family Welfare Society through its Legal Aid Bureau. The Indianapolis Bar Association later began to offer additional association through its Legal Aid Committee.
In 1936, and again in 1937, the Indianapolis Council of Social Agencies proposed to create a separate Legal Aid Society. Those proposals finally came to fruition in 1941, when through the combined efforts of the Indianapolis Bar Association, the Indianapolis Foundation, the Indianapolis Lawyer’s Association, and the Indiana Law School, the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society was established.
“Equal justice under the law is not just a caption on the facade of the Supreme Court Building. It is perhaps the most inspiring ideal of our society… it is fundamental that justice should be the same, in substance and availability, without regard to economic status.”-Lewis Franklin Powell, Jr. U.S. Supreme Court
The Indianapolis Legal Aid Society was the first organization of its kind in the state of Indiana, and it has operated continuously since its incorporation, compiling a record of continued growth and provision of quality civil legal assistance to poor persons in Central Indiana. Wise stewardship for over seventy years by the Society’s board of directors, its officers and managing counsel; and dedicated and caring service by its support staff and attorneys have continued the growth of this valuable community asset for the benefit of children, families, and the elderly of Central Indiana.
ILAS is today, by far, the largest organization in Indiana devoted solely to the non-ideological, non-sectarian, non-governmental provision of civil legal assistance to persons of limited means. For the volume and diversity of the legal matters handled, it is also, without doubt, the most efficient law firm in Central Indiana.