This rule concerns the provision of pro bono service to individuals of limited means or public service/charitable organizations. The proposed changes include the creation of a reporting mechanism for pro bono hours and a requirement that those hours be reported to the Bar.
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?
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.
With 1 week, I receive a response from Ms. Rose Dean with a South Carolina Bar Program Closure Form.
If I do NOT receive a response from Ms. Dean within one week, I resend the information.
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]
With recent changes to Rule 608, the SC Access to Justice Commission and the SC Bar Convention staff met and decided to add a session reviewing the changes.
If you are already attending the SC Bar Convention, please consider adding this to your list of MUST ATTEND sessions. If you are not already planning to attend, you may wish to reconsider!
There is an excellent panel that will present on the history of Rule 608, the recent changes, the effect of these changes on the SC Commission on Indigent Defense, and perspectives from the SC Legislature. The session will be moderated by Richard Willis of Bowman and Brooke LLP.
Pre-registration is requested.
Bowman and Brooke LLP is sponsoring a box lunch for attendees.
In addition, the task force will hold two public hearings to receive in-person comments on the draft recommendations. The public hearings will be held on Thursday, October 22 in San Francisco, and on Tuesday, October 27 in Los Angeles. For information and to sign up to participate in the public hearings, go to www.courtinfo.ca.gov/jc/tflists/elkins.htm.
To learn more about the Task Force, view the FACT SHEET.
It’s evident from the List of Topics (below) that the Task Force worked hard to review the entire system:
1. Right to Present Live Testimony at Hearings
2. Expanding Legal Representation and Providing a Continuum of Legal Services
3. Caseflow Management
4. Providing Clear Guidance Through Rules of Court
5. Children’s Voices
6. Domestic Violence
7. Enhancing Safety
8. Contested Child Custody
9. Minor’s Counsel
10. Scheduling of Trials and Long-Cause Hearings
11. Litigant Education
12. Expanding Services to Assist Litigants in Resolving Their Cases
13. Streamlining Family Law Forms and Procedures
14. Enhancing Mechanisms to Handle Perjury
15. Standardize Default and Uncontested Process Statewide
17. Public Information and Outreach
18. Judicial Branch Education
19. Family Law Research Agenda
20. Court Facilities
21. Leadership, Accountability, and Resources
The SC Access to Justice Commission will continue to follow the project and update you as it develops.
WANTED: Executive Director for the MAINE Indigent Legal Services Commission
Recently Maine established the Maine Commission on Indigent Legal Services.
This independent commission was created for the purpose of providing efficient, high-quality, constitutionally and legally required representation to indigent criminal defendants, juvenile defendants, individuals facing involuntary commitment and children and parents in child protective cases. The Commission seeks its first Executive Director, who will work with the Commission to establish, oversee and administer an indigent legal services delivery system, which is at the present time administered by Maine’s Judicial Branch. As of July 1, 2010, the Commission will assume responsibility for an approximately $11,000,000 budget appropriated for the delivery of constitutionally-required indigent legal services.
The gist: Barriers exist in the civil legal setting, largely for people who are low-income or of modest means. This issue has not yet risen to the national level of concern such that it will even be a part of the questioning for the proposed U.S. Supreme Court justice. Isn’t it time to add that question to the consciousness of those in the running for the highest Court in the U.S.? After all, the building itself contains the phrase “Equal Justice Under the Law.”