The word exemplary comes to mind when talking about Valparaiso-based attorney Ivan Bodensteiner. A long-time, well-respected attorney, teacher, and civil rights activist, Bodensteiner is still devoted to practicing law to this day. Graduating from the University of Norte Dame Law School in 1968, Bodensteiner has operated in a variety of places including Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and even Hawaii.
“Law affects the people’s lives in so many ways, including living conditions and medical issues,” Bodensteiner said. “In my work, I get to help people, especially those living in poverty, and give them the opportunity to move forward.”
Bodensteiner stated that he has been well-acquainted with legal representation in both poverty law and civil rights law for a very long time, and he is motivated every day to make sure people in low-income areas are getting the help they need.
“There are so many people in our country who do not have access to legal representation,” Bodensteiner said. “You don’t have to be living in poverty to experience civil rights problems. Even before I began my work in the 1960s, there were always problems, so I’m incredibly motivated to help those in need.”
Bodensteiner has taught classes both full-time and as an adjunct at Valparaiso University Law School for several years throughout this career.
Bodensteiner was also instrumental in establishing a human relations advisory commission within the City of Valparaiso that provides a voice on community matters related to civil rights. He also currently serves as the Vice President of the Valparaiso-based non-profit organization Project Neighbors, which is involved in providing housing for low-income individuals in the area. The organization is responsible for initiating other important establishments like Hilltop Neighborhood House and HealthLinc Community Health Center.
“It is important to serve those who aren’t fully served by the existing institutions,” Bodensteiner said. “Bettering their healthcare, childcare, housing, and education are vital for improving the overall quality of life for the community.”
Bodensteiner’s passion is unmatched, and it is clear that his desire to fill the needs of the community members around him is a true mission that he works towards every day.
“While my work gets difficult at times and the injustices of our society are still very much alive, I will never give up on serving those who are unrepresented in our community,” Bodensteiner said. “You need to have the feeling and resolve to never give up on these goals and keep pushing to make progress.”