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:
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.
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?
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!
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.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
||s/Jean Hoefer Toal
Jean Hoefer Toal, Chief Justice
Columbia, South Carolina
December 17, 2013
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.
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.
Are YOU a Homeowner who is Facing Foreclosure Due to:
Reduction in Self-Employment Income,
Death of Spouse,
Catastrophic Medical Expenses, or
If so, there may be help for you via SC HELP, see SC HELP Flyer.
Monthly Payment Assistance:
- makes monthly payments while you are seeking employment and a return to self-sustainability
Direct Loan Assistance:
- pays up to $20,000 on past due mortgage to bring it current
Property disposition assistance:
- provides $5,000 to help transition families from homeownership to rental housing if:
1. Application with SC HELP completed FIRST
2. Permission for short-sale or deed-in-lieu of foreclosure granted
3. Money distributed AFTER execution of deeds completed
South Carolina has been awarded, $295,431,000 in funding from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Funds to prevent mortgage foreclosure.
SC Housing Corp., a non-profit Division of the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority is administering the Program, known in SC as the South Carolina Homeownership and Employment Lending Program or SC HELP.
South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) is one of the housing processing agencies for SC HELP. SCLS assists homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure gather and submit the required documents to be approved for mortgage assistance through SC HELP.
The list of documents can be found here – SC HELP Required Documents List
There are no income requirements for SC HELP and all services are free to the homeowner.
SC HELP will not pay any more than $20,000 on the arrearages.
SC HELP may approve payment of the $20,000 but the actual payment will not be made until SC HELP has verification that the homeowner can pay the balance of the arrearages or that it has been forgiven by the lender or it has been placed at the end of the mortgage.
The requirements for the property disposition assistance program should be carefully reviewed.
NOTE: A homeowner is not eligible for this program if the property has already been sold at foreclosure.
Homeowners may call South Carolina Legal Services toll-free at 1-888-257-1988 Or 1-855-HELP-4 SC
Homeowners may also submit an application at www.SCMORTGAGEHELP.com
For more detailed information about SC HELP, please see Information Flyer
For more information about SC Legal Services, please see SCLS General Brochure