Equal Justice Conference 2010

I will be attending the 2010 Equal Justice Conference along with others from South Carolina. While there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the conference due to Arizona’s recent immigration legislation, the conference brings together a lot of impressive minds working toward equal justice for all. I look forward to reporting to you some of the innovations and ideas that come out of the conference.

Stay tuned.

-RFW

PS – You can tune in the Twitter conversation from the conversation by searching #ejcaz.

COMING SOON to a town near you: Celebrate Pro Bono

LOUD & CLEAR: PRO BONO ROCKS
LOUD & CLEAR: PRO BONO ROCKS

At the end of October, across the nation, attorneys will join together to provide Pro Bono services as part of the American Bar Association‘s CELEBRATE PRO BONO WEEK (October 25-31, 2009).

Celebrate Pro Bono 2009 image badge small

Mark your calendars. The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission will be highlighting some of the featured events, programs or pro bono attorneys on the blog.

If  you have a story to share and would like to be a guest blogger, please email me.

-RFW

Resource Friday/Pro Bono: National Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory

Domestic Violence happens.

Resource Friday

Resource Friday

Unfortunately Domestic Violence happens in South Carolina and throughout the nation.

The American Bar Association (ABA) recognized that the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States and recently debuted the NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PRO BONO DIRECTORY.

viernes de recursos

viernes de recursos

Para información en español: https://www.abanet.org/publiced/practical/sp_domviol.html.

Good Job ABA!

-RFW

Must See Video: ABA Addresses Notario Fraud

May was the first time we at SC Access to Justice mentioned NOTARIO FRAUD.

Say No to NOTARIO FRAUD

Say No to NOTARIO FRAUD

And today, we are pleased to offer a follow-up. At the recent American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Conference, a panel spoke about the dangers of notario fraud in the United States and a video of the panel is now available - MUST-SEE!

Audio – Notario Fraud: Immigration Experts Warn about Devastating Results from Unlicensed Notarios Providing Legal Services to Immigrants

To learn more about Notario Fraud, visit www.fightnotariofraud.org.

-RFW

Neither Sleet nor Snow nor Hurricanes nor Tornadoes . . .

Sleet Snow Hurricane Tornado

Sleet Snow Hurricane Tornado

Remember the Post Office slogan starting with “Neither Sleet nor Snow. . .?” Sure, but did you know that  there is a site for National Disaster Legal Aid that will provide legal services to individuals during and after disasters?

The site is a collaboration of the American Bar Association (ABA), the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), and Pro Bono Net.

In case you missed our earlier post, be sure to add this site to your emergency preparation list.

And, keep in mind that nothing works better in a disaster than preparation.

-RFW

Don’t Get Hurled Away by a Hurricane!

Hurricane 09

Hurricane season is here! (June 1-November 30) 

A hurricane can have potentially long lasting and devastating effects if you are caught unprepared.  It is not difficult to take steps before a hurricane hits to protect you and your home, but dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane when you did not prepare can be a long painful process.  Don’t wait until a hurricane is on its way toward your home town; take the time now to secure the safety of you and your family so you are not caught off-guard by a hurricane this season.  In South Carolina, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division is a great place to start to prepare for a disaster.

Steps to take before a hurricane hits (FEMA):

  1. Secure your home with permanent storm shutters or plywood.
  2. Make sure your roof is securely fastened to the frame structure of your home.
  3. Trim trees and shrubs.
  4. Clean out rain gutters and downspouts.
  5. If you have a boat, secure it.
  6. Build or determine which room in your house is the most secure in case of an emergency.
  7. Make copies of your personal records including Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, Passport, etc.  Give the copies to relatives in another state or keep them stored electronically where they can be accessed from anywhere.

How to get help after a hurricane hits (National Disaster Legal Aid):

  1. A list of local organizations that can help can be found at www.lawhelp.org
  2. If you lose your ID, passport, Social Security card, or other important documents you can find out how to replace them at www.uslegalforms.com/life-documents.htm
  3. Sometimes homes are destroyed or inaccessible in the wake of a hurricane and families are not able to return home.  The US Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Public and Indian Housing and FEMA have programs that provide temporary housing.
  4. Families that are displaced due to hurricane might have problems finding employment.  The Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program gives assistance through unemployment benefits.  You cannot be eligible for these benefits if you already receive unemployment.  Visit their website for eligibility requirements.
  5. If you are displaced because of a hurricane then your children will need to find a temporary school to meet their education needs.  www.serve.org/nche/downloads/dis_hb/parents.pdf.
  6. Disaster food stamps assistance is available in the wake of a hurricane.
  7. Legal aid attorneys can help with landlord/tenant issues, contractor disputes, insurance issues and more.
  8. Other websites that can help in disaster preparedness:
    1. www.redcross.org
    2. www.abanet.org/disaster
    3. www.nilc.org/disaster_assistance/index.htm

-Allie

Friday Wrap 5.29.09

All the week’s “atj” newsworthy items wrapped up

Friday Wrap Friday Wrap

Texas – Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation Recognize Major Contributors to Texas Legal Aid

Chicago, Illinois - ABA Invites Obama to it Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C. – 2nd ABA National Conference on Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities (Hurry for the EARLY BIRD special because after June 1st the registration increases)

United States Supreme Court – President Obama nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court (For more news links, click here. For blog coverage, click here.)

Brooklyn, New York - A Call for Pro Bono at Boro Hall

Lexington, Kentucky – Interview with a True Change Agent

Nashville, Tennessee – New Legal Advice Clinic to Help with Debt Issues

Richmond, Virginia - LINC Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

Public Justice Center – Donor Inspires Us with $10,000 Gift 

Ventura County, California – New County Program Helping Low-Income Families Adopt

 Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Practical Paralegalism: Paying it Forward

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Credit Card Reforms Could Help Statements

Fairfield, Connecticut – Hard Times Force People Into Family Court “Solo”

Honolulu, Hawaii – Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher Supports Access to Justice Commission

Australia – Pro Bono Work Good for Law Students

New York, New York – Pro Bono Recruitment Drive

San Diego, California – Law Made Public: Legal Research Class for the Self-Represented Litigant

-RFW

Attorneys + Make-Up = Domestic Violence Crusaders

I’m thrilled to introduce this to you. While touring the exhibitors yesterday at the 2009 Equal Justice Conference, I met Rebecca Henry. It was through her that I learned about the ABA/Avon Domestic Violence Pro Bono Directory Project.

Rebecca Henry

Rebecca Henry

The Project is developing a national, searchable, online directory of pro bono programs providing legal assistance to victims of domestic violence.

The directory will be available this summer on ProBono.Net.

And they need attorneys to complete the survey.

There is NO deadline for completing the survey. So complete it at your convenience.

This is especially important now as many domestic violence shelters and legal assistance projects are losing some of their traditional support – and many domestic violence shelters and support services are predicting a rise in domestic violence in the current economic climate.

Please complete the survey! If you’re at the 2009 EJC, you’ll find it in the Exhibition Hall. If not, click here to access the online survey.

And thanks for your assistance in breaking the cycle of domestic violence. And KUDOS to the ABA, the Avon Foundation and probono.net for developing this project.

-RFW

Happy Birthday Gideon v. Wainwright

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On March 18, 1963 the United States Supreme Court decided Gideon v. Wainwright. This landmark case held that the right of an indigent defendant in a criminal trial to have the assistance of counsel is a fundamental right essential to a fair trial, and petitioner’s trial and conviction without the assistance of counsel violated the Fourteenth Amendment.

From the opinion:

[A]ny person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth. . . . From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.

Although this case relates to the criminal court system, there are efforts for similar protections for individuals in the civil court system. These efforts are often referred to as Civil Gideon.

The American Bar Association adopted a resolution in 2006 for Civil Gideon in instances when “basic human needs are at stake, such as those involving shelter, sustenance, safety, health or child custody, as determined by each jurisdiction.”

Isn’t that a lovely birthday wish?

Happy Birthday Gideon v. Wainwright!

-RFW