Why I do Pro Bono . . .

Why do I do pro bono? This is a question I’m frequently asked.

Here are some of my responses:

1. I like to do it. It makes me feel good. When I help someone with a legal issue/problem, I feel GREAT!

2. Often, it exposes me to new people. If there’s a pro bono project, chances are I’ll meet at least one new person.

3. It’s part of my responsibility as an attorney. See Rule 6.1.

4. I learn something new EACH TIME! Whether I learn a new area of the law, a tidbit about a particular part of the state, a new technology, a new organization that’s helping people, etc.

5. Often, I get to teach something to someone. Yup, that’s right. I get to be a teacher. And, that’s pretty cool. I always liked playing school as a child – especially when I got to play the teacher. So here’s my opportunity to re-enact one of my favorite childhood pastimes.

6. I can hone up on my “lawyering” skills. That’s right, it’s called a “law practice” for a reason, right? And I need to practice, right?

Why do you do pro bono?


Fall 2010: Law School for Non-Lawyers

Law School for Non-Lawyers

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL time and not just for kids!
You can go back to school too, via the SC Bar’s Law School for Non-Lawyers course.
The program is a 7-week Law School for Non-Lawyers course covering a variety of general legal subjects. The registration fee is $45 which includes course materials.

Covered topics include:

  • Overview of State Courts
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Child Protection Hearings
  • Wills, Estates and Probate Law
  • Health Care and Elder Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Consumer Law and Debt Collection
  • Real Estate and Landlord/Tenant Law
  • Employment Law
  • South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Torts

The following courses are currently scheduled:

Trident Technical College

Offered every Tuesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

September 14, 2010 through October 26, 2010

7000 Rivers Avenue, N. Charleston

Building 910, Room 123

To register, call 843-574-6152 or visit www.tridenttech.edu

HURRY, Registration ends September 7th

Horry/Georgetown Technical College

Every Monday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Beginning September 20, 2010 through November 1, 2010

743 Hemlock Dr., Myrtle Beach

Building 200, Room 136

To register, call 843-477-2020 or 843-349-5363 or visit www.hgtc.edu

HURRY, Registration ends September 14th

For any other questions or concerns you have, please contact Debbie Morris at dmorris@scbar.org or 800-395-3425, ext. 158.

The Law School for Non-Lawyers is made possible through an IOLTA grant from the SC Bar Foundation.

Resources just for YOU!

I am very happy to announce that the South Carolina Courts have listened to YOU!

And, they have added a shortcut for you to the Self Help resource pages at http://www.sccourts.org/selfhelp/.

Now when you’re looking for court approved FORMS, VIDEOS, FREE LEGAL CLINICS, or FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS, you’ll have a quick and easy way to find them.

YOU may want to bookmark this site because we plan to update as resources become available.


South Carolina Attorneys: Do you have malpractice for that 608 appointment?

. . .

Ok, every South Carolina attorney I know is tired of dredging up Rule 608. However, there continues to be a LOT of discussion around Rule 608, including the Attorney Volunteer Guardian ad Litem project.

Last November/December, the Supreme Court of South Carolina made several changes to Rule 608 appointments, some advocated by the SC Bar, some via recommendations submitted by the SC Access to Justice Commission. And just recently we learned that the funds to reimburse attorneys providing legal representation pursuant to a Rule 608 appointment are no longer available.

BUT I do have some news that may be of interest to the average South Carolina attorney!

If you (SC Attorney) follow appropriate protocol[1], you (SC Attorney) are eligible for malpractice coverage for your Rule 608 appointment.

Here’s what I have do:

  1. I receive my Rule 608 appointment, either by U.S. Mail or Fax or email.
  2. That day I complete my Pro Bono Program Direct Intake Form. Please follow the instructions to either fax the form to Attn: Rose Dean, (803) 799-5290 OR mail to Attn: Rose Dean, South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program, P.O. Box 608, Columbia, SC 29202.
  3. With 1 week, I receive a response from Ms. Rose Dean with a South Carolina Bar Program Closure Form.
  4. If I do NOT receive a response from Ms. Dean within one week, I resend the information.

Good luck fellow attorneys!


[1] From the SC Bar’s website – http://www.scbar.org/member_resources/pro_bono_program/

Malpractice insurance
Pro Bono lawyers who take case referrals, serve as LAMP volunteers, participate in Ask-A-Lawyer and lead free legal clinics are automatically covered on every Pro Bono case accepted! Lawyers who do pro bono legal work on their own, or who are appointed pursuant to Rule 608, are also covered by malpractice insurance through the Pro Bono Program. To initiate this coverage, complete the Pro Bono Intake form (see link above) and fax it to Rose Dean at 803-799-5290. You must submit the form to Ms. Dean before commencing work on the client’s case. [emphasis added]


Ok, it’s been a while since I’ve added a RESOURCE FRIDAY post. BUT here’s one I couldn’t resist.

For attorneys and others interested in becoming Guardians ad Litem (GALs) in Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation cases for Vulnerable Adults in South Carolina, there is a resource page just for you – click here.

And, for those of you who aren’t already familiar with lawhelp.org/sc, you may want to check it out! It’s chock full of nifty tips and resources!


2010 Beacon of Justice Award Nominations OPEN!

Do you know a Law Firm that has made significant contributions in IMMIGRATION?

If so, then consider nominating them for the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) 2010 Beacon of Justice Award. The nomination form is available online.

The Beacon of Justice Award honors Law Firms That Have Made a Significant Impact in the Area of Immigration. Eligible firms include those that have provided direct legal representation and or have been engaged in law reform efforts between January 1, 2009 and April 30, 2010.

Hurry! Nominations close August 27, 2010.

Please send the Nomination Form, Narrative, and Additional Material to the attention of  Tiffany Payne Merklinger at t.merklinger@nlada.org or 202-452-0620 X232.

For U.S. Mail:

ATTN: Tiffany Merklinger/BOJ Award

1140 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 900

Washington DC, 20036

Or send Fax (202) 872-1031.

For a list of previous award winners, click here.


Want to go to a truncated law school?

Ok, so I LOVE the word TRUNCATED. Who doesn’t? It frolics on the tongue with its trill and Germanic K sounds.

Back to the law school. Most of us think of law school as loads of expensive, heavy tomes, Socratic method and long nights spent with drool covering our text-books and cheeks as we awaken with lines across our face trying to comprehend case-law written long ago. And debt. Don’t forget law school debt.

But this Law School is much shorter, less stressful and taught 3 hours in the evening (6:00 – 9:00 p.m.) over 7 weeks in your community. This Law School is called “Law School for Non-Lawyers” and is offered by the South Carolina Bar. And it’s a bargain – only $45.

So, if you want to head to law school for 7 weeks, check out the 2 offerings this September in North Charleston (Trident Tech) and Myrtle Beach (Horry-Georgetown Tech). For more info, click here or contact Debbie Morris at dmorris@scbar.org or 803-799-4015, ext. 158.

You can’t beat this experience!


PS – This program is made possible by an IOLTA grant from the South Carolina Bar Foundation!