Resources re: Guardianship in South Carolina

I was reminded earlier today that many people don’t know where to turn for resources about guardianship in South Carolina. Cue Frequently Asked Questions in Probate Court.

In September 2013, the South Carolina Supreme Court posted three Frequently Asked Questions to the Self-Help Resources page on its website, http://www.sccourts.org/selfHelp/index.cfm:

(1)    Alternatives to Guardianship – http://www.sccourts.org/selfHelp/FAQsAlternativesToGuardianshipSC.pdf

(2)    From a Potential Caregiver or Potential Guardian – http://www.sccourts.org/selfHelp/FAQsFromACaregiver.pdf

(3)    From a Ward – http://www.sccourts.org/selfHelp/FAQsFromAWard.pdf

(4)    NOTE: There are also videos about both Guardianship and Conservatorship in South Carolina. While they  were produced a few years back, the law is still good.

These should be helpful. Additionally, a few other relevant links are listed below:

~rfw

New Resource for SC Seniors and Caregivers

The South Carolina Bar Public Services Division and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging recently collaborated together with members of the South Carolina Bar Elder Law Committee to update the SOUTH CAROLINA SENIOR CITIZENS’ HANDBOOK: A Guide to Laws and Programs Affecting Senior Citizens. This project was funded by a grant from the Administration on Aging.

Senior Handbook Cover

This is a FREE resource and is now available online at http://www.scbar.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=QL4xW3AqA8Q%3d&tabid=204.

The print versions should start arriving in local South Carolina libraries soon.

This is a great resource for SC Seniors and/or their caregivers; it covers topics related to:

And an entire portion is devoted to a Community Resource Directory.

Even if you’re not yet a Senior or caregiver, you may want to look into some of these sections. The information is really helpful and easily accessible. Plus, it’s never too early to start planning.

~RFW

April 23rd – That’s the BIG day for Feb 2010 SC Bar Examinees!

ALTERNATE TITLE: Why I no longer receive Martha Stewart Living.

This Friday, April 23rd, is a BIG day for February 2010 SC Bar Examinees. That’s THE day they learn if they passed the bar exam.

According to the SC Courts website:

The results of the February 2010 Bar Examination will be posted on this page at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 23, 2010. Additionally, a letter notifying each bar applicant of the results will be mailed on Friday, April 23, 2010. Telephonic requests for information about these results will not be accepted until 9:00 a.m. on Monday, April 26, 2010.

For any of us, this is a HUGE day to remember.

And for those of you who are curious:

Why I no longer receive Martha Stewart Living.

I took the July 1999 SC Bar Exam. The exam lasted 3 days and entailed 2 days of state-specific-topic-sensitive essays and 1 day of multiple choice questions for the multi-state exam. It was a grueling time and I have finally overcome the tic when I speak or think of it.

(Seriously though, sleep is the best study aid! It allows you to concentrate and breathe – at the same time.)

At any rate, I began my job – not yet an attorney, but no longer a student. I always corrected people when they noted that I was an attorney - “not yet, I haven’t received the bar results.” Then August passed.  September passed uneventfully. Then came October. The beginning of the month wasn’t so bad.

(Historically South Carolina announces its July Bar results at the end of October and the February results near the end of April.)

By mid-October though, the nightmares began. Fleeting thoughts of job searches would pop into my head, seemingly out of nowhere. And by the last week of October, law students began calling one another, sending emails and commiserating. Rumors abounded. Then someone at the court said results would be announced at the end of the week. Thursday it was hard to concentrate. I told my senior attorney that the results would be forthcoming on Friday. She was glad I told her.

Friday was almost untenable. At 4:00 p.m. on Friday, I walked into my office, closed the door, wiped the sweat from my brow and picked up the phone. I pulled up the call-in number and tried to dial. I exhaled and hands-shaking, I dialed the number. There was a familiar sound on the line – what WAS that sound? Why wasn’t it ringing? Oh yes, that’s the busy signal. Phew! At least I was able to dial. I tried again. No luck. Now I was shaking. I went back into my senior attorney’s office – “May I take off for the rest of the afternoon?” She was kind and smiled “yes, of course.” So, at 4:10 p.m. I slunk out of the office, trying not to meet anyone’s gaze. I drove home and picked up the phone to dial the number. I dialed and received a recording indicating that the information had been mailed and that I should receive the information the following day.

I don’t remember the rest of the evening. But early the next morning, 6:00 a.m.-ish, I awoke with a lump in my throat. I padded out of bed and upstairs to stare at papers on my home desk. My husband awoke a little later and offered to make coffee and breakfast. What? Oh yeah, please, that would be very nice.

Neither helped a nervous stomach. My husband, who had survived this process several years earlier, took pity on me and offered to take me out until the mail came. “No thanks.”

He started puttering in the garage. That way he’d be close to the mailbox. I had asked him to get the mail – just in case.

Everytime I heard a car or truck move past our home, I fluttered over to the window and peered out.

Then, around 10:00 a.m., my husband informed me that he had to pick up a part for his car, but he’d be right back. “After all” he said “mail usually arrives around 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. It’s still early.”

I wasn’t convinced, but knew he had common sense at the moment. I acquiesced.

I tried to match his cheerful wave as I watched his car drive away, so with a toothy-grimace, I waved him on.

Toothy-grimace re-enactment

Exactly 22 seconds later, I heard a familiar engine. OH NO, it CAN’T be. It simply can’t be! Yup, the mail-truck. Sure, there wasn’t any sleet, rain or snow – but why couldn’t he be on time? Why early? Today of all days!

And I peered outside from the safety of my upstairs office. Mind you, I had left my glasses at my desk, so I had to squint. Squint I did! And then I saw him put a large manila-type package into the box. I burst into tears!

[NOTE: When you pass the SC Bar exam, typically you receive a regular envelope with a congratulatory letter. When you do NOT pass the SC Bar exam, typically you receive a manila envelope with an application enclosed.]

Back to the tears. I was inconsolable. My thoughts crowded:

  • Oh no, I’m going to have to look for a job!
  • How am I going to face my classmates.
  • Everyone will think I’m stupid.
  • OH NO! I studied for that exam like I’ve never studied before. If I can’t pass this one, what makes me think I can pass another?
  • THREE YEARS. Three years of my life. WASTED!

I could go on, but you get the picture.

I sat on the top stair. Nose running. Eyes flowing. Face buried in my hand. Sobbing. Gulping. Sobbing. My whole body convulsing.

I didn’t even hear my husband come in.

I didn’t hear him say “I’ll go pick up the mail.”

I didn’t hear him say “YOU’VE PASSED! YOU’VE PASSED! YOU’VE PASSED! – It’s a SMALL WHITE ENVELOPE! YOU’VE PASSED!”

He brought the letter to me. I pulled my head up. I tried to read the letters on the page, but they were all blurry. Why can’t I read? Oh yea, you have to stop crying. I did. Finally. My husband watched expectantly.

I felt jubilation. I passed.

Wait, what was that manila-envelope thing I’d seen the mailman deposit into our box? OH, Martha Stewart Living magazine with a paper cover. Sorry Martha, but I never renewed.

- RFW

SC Bar Foundation Gala Invitation from Shannon Scruggs

Dear Bar Leader:

Please join us for a great evening of fellowship and entertainment at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 11, 2010 when our Bar Foundation hosts its 4th Annual Gala. The event will be located at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

The event will be a great opportunity to celebrate and to learn more about the SC Bar‘s charitable arm.  Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal will introduce the South Carolina Bar’s Nifty Fifty – the class of 1959. The South Carolina Bar will honor the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year and the SC Access to Justice Commission will present the Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Lawyer of the Year Award. Other special invitees include the Supreme Court of South Carolina and the SC Court of Appeals.

Individual tickets are $75 each and include an open bar, dancing and a seated dinner (it isn’t your typical rubber chicken, either!). There also will be a silent auction with sports memorabilia (Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Derek Jeter, Mickey Mantle, USC’s John Roche), spa certificates, music/film/TV mementos, beach stays, hotel weekends and more!

Gala 2010 is being held to help the Foundation in its efforts as the only statewide entity that funds the advancement of justice by improving access, education and accountability.

Please make plans to attend. For additional information you may RSVP via (803) 765-0517 or foundation@scbar.org.

Shannon Willis Scruggs, Executive Director

SC Bar Foundation

To view the invitation in pdf:   SCBarGalaInvite_2010

Chief Justice Toal Presents . . .

Recently Chief Justice Toal of the Supreme Court of South Carolina delivered two important speeches; one to the SC Bar at their annual convention at Kiawah, and one to the SC House Ways and Means.

The takeaway? The financial crisis is taking its toll on the efficiency of the courts. While this may seem like a “duh” moment to many and a “d’oh” moment to others, the repercussions to access to justice could be devastating.

Let’s support our courts and keep access to our courts.

-RFW

The Wise Owl says . . .

The 2009 SC Bar Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year award nominations are OPEN!

You may remember that just last year we wanted someone to be FAMOUS. And then, Philip A. Middleton was awarded 2008 PRO BONO VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR!

Click here for the application.

Please note that the nominations must be postmarked by FEBRUARY 5, 2010.

You may nominate an individual or organization.

And be sure to include details about the criteria:

(a) Demonstrated dedication to the development and delivery of legal services to the poor through a pro bono or other volunteer program.
(b) Contributed significant work toward developing innovative approaches to delivery of volunteer legal services.
(c) Participated in an activity that resulted in satisfying previously unmet legal needs or in extending services to underserved segments of the population.
(d) Successfully litigated pro bono cases that favorably affected the provision of other services to the poor.
(e) Successfully achieved legislation that contributed substantially to the delivery of legal services to the poor.

The award will be announced in mid-February and presented at the SC Bar Foundation Gala on Thursday, March 11, 2010.

Stay tuned!

-RFW

SC ATJ attends the SC Clerk of Court Conference 10.1.09

Last Thursday I had the privilege of speaking at the South Carolina Clerk of Court Conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Aiken, SC. My presentation was an update of access to justice.

The presentation was met with enthusiasm and discussion continued even past the presentation. Luckily, at the last minute, I was able to incorporate a little of the updated report from LSCDOCUMENTING THE JUSTICE GAP IN AMERICA.

Here’s the presentation:

Clerks fall conf 10.1.09

And here are some of the photos:

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Thanks to Katie Staden from the SC Bar who accompanied me and took some of the photos when I was speaking!

-RFW

Attorneys + Depression= Deadly Mix

October 4-10, 2009:  Mental Illness Awareness Week

Right now I’m wearing two hats – that of  Attorney and Mental Health America of South Carolina Board Member. And it’s for my love for both that I bring this topic to the forefront. As I received the e-newsletter from MHA SC announcing Mental Illness Awareness Week, I was reminded of information I’d heard a few years back when I attended a Lawyers Helping Lawyers annual conference in Charleston – Attorneys are diagnosed with clinical depression at 4 times the rate of the general population.

ATTORNEYS ARE DIAGNOSED WITH CLINICAL DEPRESSION AT 4 TIMES THE RATE OF THE GENERAL POPULATION.

Whoa!

And, the Lawyers Helping Lawyers conference also quoted statistics about attorneys and addiction. Again, the profession tends toward higher rates of alcohol and substance abuse than most.

My goal today is to let attorneys who are feeling depressed know that You Are Not Alone. And there is hope.

You can get a free anonymous online screening from MHA SC. And if you want to talk with someone, contact Lawyers Helping Lawyers (LHL) at 1-(866) 545-9590 or contact an LHL committee member directly. This is a confidential program.

Don’t wait to get help. It may save your practice. It can save your life.

-RFW

PS – A really great video on suicide and its impact is available online at http://www.someoneyouknowsc.org/.

PAI: A Great Way to Keep the Lights On

PAI – Private Attorney Involvement

If you are unfamiliar with PAI aka Private Attorney Involvement, a program that incorporates private attorneys into the legal services system of representation on a local basis, then please keep reading.

The following announcement appeared earlier today in the SC Bar’s E-Blast:

Attorneys needed for paid cases
South Carolina Legal Services is required by federal funding to hire private attorneys to take on cases. The rate is $65 per hour. Most of the cases are physical cruelty, divorce and bankruptcy. This is a great opportunity for young attorneys from Richland, Lexington, Sumter, Lee and Kershaw counties to get experience. Contact Brett L. Lamb at (803) 744-4167 or brettlamb@sclegal.org for more information.

This is a wonderful opportunity for new attorneys to gain experience and pay the bills.  If you are a young attorney striking out on your own, or a more experienced attorney looking for an opportunity to slow down your practice while remaining involved, please consider PAI. AND it has the added benefit of assisting people who otherwise would not be able to hire legal representation.

Thanks SC Bar for bringing this important program to light!

-RFW

Listening Matters

This has been an interesting day.

This morning I attended a part of the SC Judicial Conference. The SC Access to Justice Commission’s website was featured along with some special projects with divisions of the SC Courts, especially two projects for Self-Represented Litigants.

Afterward I returned to the office to begin other work, especially that involving increasing pro bono service by the private bar. And if you’re not familiar with Rule 608 which some private bar members attribute as the primary barrier to increased pro bono service in South Carolina, click here.

At any rate, I entered a discussion of pro bono. In the midst of an enthusiastic discussion, one of the three participants advocated a position.  Immediately I (re)entered the discussion and proceeded to reject this concept. At the end of my pontification, I sat back in my chair, feeling satisfied that my response had enlightened both participants. Instead, the person who had originally advocated the position, re-stated the position. I turned to both participants and said “oh, you said [legal term].” Both nodded in agreement. At that, I apologized and agreed with the original position.

Please note:

  • Listening is courteous.

  • Listening is efficient.

  • Listening Matters.

-RFW