Ellen Hines Smith Award Nomination Opens

I am pleased to announce that the 2015 Ellen Hines Smith Award Nominations are now open. The form is found at Ellen Hines Smith Nomination 2015. Nominations are open until February 17, 2016.

Please note that previous award recipients are not eligible.

Previous Award Recipients

1989 – Martha B. Dicus

1990 – Thomas L. Bruce

1991 – Johnny Simpson

1992 – Harold F. Daniels

1993 – Andrea E. Loney

1994 – Mozella Nicholson

1995 – Thomas A. Trent

1996 – Susan A. Cross

1997 – Angela M. Myers

1998 – Ethel E. Weinberg

1999 – Nancy M. Butler

2000 – Byron A. Reid

2001 – Lynn P. Wagner

2002 – Eddie McDonnell

2003 – Frank Cannon

2004 – Willie B. Heyward

2005 – Lynn Snowber-Marini

2007 – Marcia Powell-Shew

2009 – Maureen White

2010 – Susan J. Firimonte

2011 – Jack E. Cohoon

2012 – Kirby Mitchell

2013 – Kimberly Shelton

2014 – Kimaka Nichols-Graham

The award will be presented at the South Carolina Bar House of Delegates’ May meeting. The award recipient will be selected by a joint committee of the South Carolina Bar Foundation and the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission.

I look forward to receiving nominations!



New look at South Carolina Legal Services website – www.sclegal.org

If you haven’t taken a look at websites lately, it may be useful to note that www.sclegal.org has a slightly new look. It’s not enough to scare anyone off, or to refresh to make sure you’re on the right page, but there are some updates to make it more user-friendly. such as:

  • a band that lets you know what’s new at SC Legal Services;
What’s New At SCLS
Radio Interview on Foreclosures

Our attorney Lindsey Jacobs stopped by U Need 2 Know to discuss foreclosures in South Carolina. More..

Outstanding Public Service

Attorney Susan Ingles was honored with the William E. S. Robinson Public Service Award. More..

Got Student Loans?

We are teaming up with SALT Money to bring you free student loan advice. More..

  • a DONATE button in case you’re in a generous spirit or are feeling ready to make a gift in honor or in memory of someone; and

  • some easy links to resources – clinic calendar, self-represented litigant resources, etc.
  • Self-Help Court-Approved Forms

    Court forms developed to provide better access to South Carolina courts without the assistance of an attorney for self-represented litigants.

    Apply for Homeowner Assistance

    Avoid Foreclosure! South Carolina Legal Services may be able to help homeowners facing foreclosure.

    Free Clinics

    South Carolina Legal Services offers various clinics for low income South Carolinians. Sign up for one today!

    Public Legal Resources

    South Carolina Legal Services provides self-help and legal resources for the general public.

    Happy surfing!

Twitter and A2J: A Surprisingly Happy Partnership

Just happened to get on Twitter this a.m. for an early morning review of happenings in the Access to Justice (A2J) world, when I noticed a tweet from my colleague in Georgia, Mike Monahan, whose Twitter handle is @ProBono_GA. He retweeted a fellow named Damon Elmore (@bikeGAcounties) who is cycling every county in Georgia to raise money for Georgia Legal Services.

** Fun Fact: There are 159 counties in Georgia. For a full listing, visit http://georgia.gov/municipality-list **

I was blown away by this clever idea. Not only is it a great way to stay in shape with fun exercise, it is a great way to highlight the need for legal services throughout the state.

So, what did I do next? I tweeted, of course:

Just saw is biking every county in Georgia to raise money for – Great idea! Check it out and support him

And, after? I donated to the cause. As of this morning, he has raised $3140. His goal is to raise $15900 or $100 per county with all donations going directly to Georgia Legal Services.

~ rfw

P.S. – As a bonus, he did mention he was born in Beaufort, South Carolina. Maybe when he’s completed his goal in Georgia, we could convince him to visit our 46 counties.

Resource Wednesday: Expungement in South Carolina

Every now and again, I need a reminder to share information.

Earlier today, I received a request from someone desperately trying to find out where to find help for an expungement. And, the resource is below:

  • Your Guide to Expungement in South Carolina (updated in November 2013). This fabulous, free resource was pulled together by the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families. It can be found online at http://www.scfathersandfamilies.com/public/files/docs/Nov2013UpdatedGuide.pdf. It basically walks folks through expungement (Step 4) while letting them know whether expungement is a possibility (Step 3) and, if so, which one to go for.

If you want additional information on expungement and pardons, below are also some helpful links:

To find legal help or a lawyer:


To find more information on the legal system in South Carolina

To get a copy of your criminal record

  • South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Records Department, Post Office Box 21398, Columbia, SC 29221, 803-896-1443, www.sled.sc.gov

To find more information on expungement, pardons, or other issues relating to fatherhood

  • The South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, 2711 Middleburg Drive, Suite 111, Columbia, SC 29204, 803-227-8800, www.scfathersandfamilies.com

Sometimes all it takes is a little knowledge. Hope this helps.


Let’s talk about Pro Bono

I have written about Pro Bono legal representation on different occasions, especially during or near the ABA’s National Celebrate Pro Bono Week. Here in South Carolina, I’ve seen more discussion about it, and even a little more participation.

But, I still don’t see as much participation as I would expect. So I have a question for attorneys, paralegals, and law students:

If you are not regularly engaged in pro bono representation, why not?

Please add your comments below. No expletives please. And, I’d like your honest answers.

  • Have you been asked?
  • Do you know where to find opportunities?
  • Are you nervous to do so on your own?
  • Do you think you don’t have enough time to add another case?



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:


Happy New Year! Welcome 2014

It’s been a really good year for South Carolina Access to Justice! Below is our newsletter that highlights a few items we’ve been working on.

SCATJ Newsletter End of Year 2013

Happy New Year Everyone!


NEW Form for Fee Waiver for Pro Bono or Legal Services’ Clients

Please see the Order below noting that Court Form SCCA 236, available in Word and pdf. It is also available online at the court’s website at http://www.sccourts.org/forms/pdf/SCCA%20236.pdf. It allows the filing fee to be waived when filed in all civil actions by an attorney providing legal services to indigent persons via an approved legal service entity or the SC Pro Bono program. Please share.




The Supreme Court of South Carolina

Re: Certification of Indigent Representation, Pursuant to
Rule 3(b)(2), SCRCP Form (SCCA 236)


Pursuant to the provisions of S. C. CONST. Art. V, § 4,

IT IS ORDERED that SCCA Form 236, Certification of Indigent Representation Pursuant to Rule 3(b)(2), SCRCP, is approved for use in the Circuit Courts and Family Courts of this State.

Pursuant to Rule 3(b)(2), SCRCP, a party represented in a civil action by an attorney working on behalf of or under the auspices of a legal aid society or legal services or other nonprofit organization funded in whole or substantial part by funds appropriated by the United States Government or the South Carolina General Assembly, which has as its primary purpose the furnishing of legal services to indigent persons, or the SC Pro Bono program, shall have fees related to the filing of the action waived without necessity of a motion and court approval.

This form shall be completed by attorneys in civil actions as described above to certify that he or she represents an indigent person and that he or she is providing such representation on behalf of a legal aid society, legal services or other nonprofit organization

This form shall be available on the South Carolina Judicial Department website at www.sccourts.org under the ‘Forms’ link.


s/Jean Hoefer Toal
Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice

Columbia, South Carolina
December 17, 2013

Ellen Hines Smith Award 2013 Nominations Open

Very proud to announce that nominations are now open for the Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year.


  • 1989 – Martha B. Dicus
  • 1990 – Thomas L. Bruce
  • 1991 – Johnny Simpson
  • 1992 – Harold F. Daniels
  • 1993 – Andrea E. Loney
  • 1994 – Mozella Nicholson
  • 1995 – Thomas A. Trent
  • 1996 – Susan A. Cross
  • 1997 – Angela M. Myers
  • 1998 – Ethel E. Weinberg
  • 1999 – Nancy M. Butler
  • 2000 – Byron A. Reid
  • 2001 – Lynn P. Wagner
  • 2002 – Eddie McConnell
  • 2003 – Frank Cannon
  • 2004 – Willie B. Heyward
  • 2005 – Lynn Snowber-Marini
  • 2006 – Eddie McConnell
  • 2007 – Marcia Powell-Shew
  • 2009 – Maureen White
  • 2010 – Susan J. Firimonte
  • 2011 – Jack E. Cohoon
  • 2012 – Kirby Mitchell

We’re looking forward to seeing the good works that South Carolina Legal Services is doing.

Please complete the following form, Ellen Hines Smith Nomination Form 2013, and return it to rwheeler@scbar.org.