Barnes & Thornburg’s Jeff Papa Receives 2018 Indiana State Bar Association Community Service Award


INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) has presented Barnes & Thornburg immigration attorney Jeff Papa, Ph.D., with its 2018 Community Service Award for his “exceptional non-legal service work” in central Indiana and internationally.

A Zionsville resident and partner in the firm’s Indianapolis office, Papa received the award at the Aug. 30 ISBA Awards Luncheon. The Community Service Award honors an attorney’s community involvement and his or her help in underserved areas. The award winner, selected by the ISBA Service Committee, also embodies the core values of the legal profession.

“I’m truly honored to receive the Community Service Award from my peers at the State Bar Association,” Papa said. “There are many great people in the bar association working tirelessly to provide services to people in need.”

Papa is deeply involved in the community. He currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Task Force on Public Defense, a statewide task force organized by the Indiana Public Defender Commission to address the current state of, and recommend improvements to, the provision of public defenders in Indiana, including adult felony and misdemeanor as well as appellate and child issues. He is also a member of the task force’s committee on structural issues, chairperson of its committee on children/CHINS/TPR issues, and a panelist for the task force’s statewide local public input forums.

Papa also is president of the Youth Enhancement and Training Initiative, Inc. (YETI), which built and operates an orphanage in Nepal and helps underprivileged children in Indiana. He annually visits the children in the orphanage in Nepal, and separately visits El Salvador each December to assist with the charitable efforts of People Helping People and The Fuller Center for Housing.

He also has had a significant life in public service. He was Zionsville’s first mayor, where he led or contributed to many innovative community improvements, including collaboration with the local Zionsville Community Schools system.

Preceding his mayoral service, Papa was Zionsville Town Council president. During his time in leadership, he wrote and promoted the reorganization of Zionsville government, which created further unique innovation in citizen-created local government. He has also served as a member and president of the Zionsville Board of Police Commissioners, the Zionsville Safety Board, and he wrote the Zionsville Human Rights Ordinance (and served as a member of the resulting non-discriminatory practices committee). He also is a co-founder and strategic adviser to zWorks, Zionsville’s innovative co-working and business incubator.

Internationally, he served as a non-governmental organization observer at both Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Fort Meade, covering war crimes trials on behalf of the Program on International Human Rights Law.

Other past community involvement includes service as a board member or officer of: Rose-Hulman Alumni Board (president); Rose-Hulman Economics Department Advisory Board; Ball State Economics Department Advisory Board; Eagle Township Board (publicly elected); Indiana Leadership Forum (president); Greater Works Academy, American Immigration Lawyers Association (Indiana chapter president; National AILA board member), Boone County Youth as Resources; Boone County United Way; Boone County Leadership; Ballet Internationale Associate Board (treasurer); U.S. Global Leadership Coalition-Indiana Advisory Board; and Indiana-India Business Council Advisory Committee. In 2016, Papa was a Pacesetter for raising funds to combat breast cancer during the Real Men Wear Pink campaign. He earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership, and currently teaches Legislation and Public Policy at IU-Bloomington.

Founded in 1896, the ISBA is the largest professional organization serving the Indiana legal community.

With more than 600 attorneys and other legal professionals, Barnes & Thornburg is one of the largest law firms in the country. The firm serves clients worldwide from 14 offices in Atlanta, California, Chicago, Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, Minneapolis, Ohio, Texas and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit us online at or on Twitter @BTLawNews.