Law School for Interpreters: A Success!

Bright and early Saturday morning, 77 people were driving into downtown Columbia to attend the SC Access to Justice Commission’s LEP Work Group “Law School for Interpreters.”

Meanwhile, the sponsors were all busy opening the facility and readying the room and registration tables for each of these interpreters.

At 8:45 a.m., seats filled and the LEP Work Group provided an overview of the day and the program began.

The Agenda:

  • Registration and Breakfast 8:00 a.m.
  • Welcome & Overview 8:45 a.m.
  • Pretest 9:00 a.m.
  • “Oh the Places You Can Go and the People You Can Meet” (Overview of the SC Judicial System) 9:15 a.m.
  • South Carolina State Court Interpreter Certification Program 9:45 a.m.
  • Circuit Court 10:30 a.m.
  • Family Court 11:15 a.m.
  • Magistrates Court 12:00 noon
  • Catered Lunch
  • Court Process 1:45 p.m.
  • Panel Discussion & Q&A: Reality Check 3:15 p.m.
  • Post-test, Wrap-Up, & Evaluation 4:45 p.m.

The excitement in the room was palpable. Interpreters greeted one another with hugs, and sometimes questions of “which language do you speak?” And the excitement was not limited to interpreters and translators. Many of the event sponsors were thrilled with the turn-out, especially on a Saturday. Languages represented included Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, French, and Urdu as well as a few others.

And we’re all excited about the prospect of an additional pool of qualified and certified interpreters and translators in the South Carolina Court System.

Thanks again to our sponsors, speakers, and participants!


¿Por qué hago pro bono?

It dawned on me that I have a lot of information available on this site in English. However, there is a push (most recently from DOJ) to have information (legal information) available in multiple languages. Here’s my dilemma – I speak and write English. Sure my undergraduate degree is in French. And when I’m surrounded by native French speakers, I tend to hold my own, BUT I’m not sure I’m still qualified to speak French fluently – any longer.

And, my understanding is that the primary LEP language is Spanish. And I do not speak Spanish. Nor do I write it. So, I thought I’d try GOOGLE TRANSLATE. And I thought I’d try it on my last post. So, for those of you who are native OR fluent Spanish speakers, would you take a look at the following post and see if it makes sense?

Thanks! Or should I say ¿Gracias? Obrigado? Danke? Merci? спасибо? Grazie?

¿Por qué hago pro bono? Esta es una pregunta que estoy más frecuentes.

Éstos son algunos de mis respuestas:

1. Me gusta hacerlo. Me hace sentir bien. Cuando puedo ayudar a alguien con un problema legal o problema, me siento muy bien!

2. A menudo, me expone a nuevas personas. Si hay un proyecto pro bono, es probable que voy a cumplir al menos una persona nueva.

3. Es parte de mi responsabilidad como abogado. Véase la regla 6.1.

4. Aprendo algo nuevo TIEMPO CADA! Si me entero de una nueva área de la ley, un chisme sobre una parte particular del estado, una nueva tecnología, una nueva organización que está ayudando a la gente, etc

5. A menudo, tengo que enseñar algo a alguien. Sí, es cierto. Puedo llegar a ser maestra. Y, eso es muy bueno. Siempre me gustó jugar a la escuela cuando era niño – especialmente cuando llegué a jugar el profesor. Así que aquí está mi oportunidad de recrear uno de mis pasatiempos favoritos de la infancia.

6. Puedo afinar en mi “abogacía” habilidades. Así es, se llama una práctica “ley” por una razón, ¿verdad? Y necesito la práctica, ¿verdad?

¿Por qué haces pro bono?


U.S. Department of Justice Overhauls its Site

Have you heard?

Listen Up

The U.S. Department of Justice overhauled its website and has added a blog. They’re also online on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. en español

The site is clean and easy to navigate. If you have a moment, take a look!


HUD Provides Guidance re: Reporting by Victim Service Providers

An E-Alert via NLADA led me to the HUD’s online Guidance on HPRP Subgrantee Data Collection and Reporting for Victim Service Providers. This is important so as to preserve the integrity of the safety for victims of domestic violence.

 The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) states that grantees receiving Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re‐Housing Program1 (HPRP) grants “shall collect data on the use of funds awarded and persons served with this assistance in HUD’s Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) or other comparable database.” (ARRA, p. 107) HPRP subgrantees (including organizations providing HPRP assistance under contract with a subgrantee) must also meet this requirement.

HUD has determined that HPRP subgrantees that are victim service providers as defined by the Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Pub. L. 109‐162) (VAWA) should NOT enter data directly in HMIS and must use a “comparable database.” VAWA defines a victim service provider as a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization including rape crisis centers, battered women’s shelters, domestic violence transitional housing programs, and other programs whose primary mission is to provide services to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.


Just Say No to Notario Fraud


Notario Fraud – It’s Real and it’s a Problem


In Mexico, a “notario publico” is a legal professional, generally an attorney. 

In the U.S., a notary public is not an attorney, instead a notary public is someone appointed by the state government to witness a person’s signature and in some cases, to administer oaths.

And when unscrupulous individuals “set up shop” as notarios and mislead unsuspecting immigrants to think that they are authorized to provide legal services, it causes many problems.

The ABA Commission on Immigration has created a website,, to assist with the problem. And they have developed a factsheet to assist with identification of the issues and resources to contact.

For more info: (Source



Now for the NEWS

Earlier I listed some of the recent blog posts I enjoyed. Below are some recent newsworthy items from around the state, nation and world:

  1. Out of Knoxville TN: Public meeting to discuss increasing need of legal help for poor
  2. Out of Texas: Opinion Piece –  New OAG Service Helps Parents Address Visitation Concerns.
  3. Out of Vancouver, Canada: High fees that block access to the courts block access to justice.
  4. Out of Colorado: Justice for all – Salt Lake City attorney serves the homeless.
  5. Out of Oregon: Hard Times for Access to Justice – Economic Downturn is Beginning to Take its Toll in Oregon.
  6. Out of the UK: Judge rules CPS wrong to deny victim with mental illness right to fight for justice.
  7. Out of Minneapolis/St. Paul: Court of Appeals testing new mediation process.
  8. From NPR: Immigration Crackdown Overwhelms Judges.
  9. Out of Washington: AGs push for mortgage modifications.
  10. Out of West Virginia – State must submit plan to prevent juvenile racial injustice.
  11. Out of Tulsa, OK: A lawful dosage. A medical-legal partnership fills in some gaps in child health-care issues.
  12. Out of North Carolina: Legal Aid in demand and in a bind.
  13. Out of New Jersey: Agency that gives legal help to poor is in financial crisis.
  14. Out of Florida: Judge John Blue Receives 2009 Chief Justice’s Distinguished Judicial Service Award.
  15. Out of Massachusetts: President of One Laptop Per Child to speak Feb. 10.  (yes this is past, but it’s still worth reading)
  16. From Berkeley: Bringing it all back home – In her new job, Wilda White pursues a lifelong passion for social justice.
  17. Out of Massachussets: Legal services needed for immigrants in Milford.
  18. Also from Massachussetts: Letter From The President Of The Boston Bar Association.
  19. Out of Mississippi: Miss. legal aid grows scarce as economy gets worse – Unlike in the criminal justice system, indigent in civil cases aren’t guaranteed an attorney.
  20. Out of England: Let’s not be too misty eyed about legal aid, but it is at a crossroads.
  21. From Chattanooga: 6 Chattanooga Law Firms Commit To Greater Legal Service For The Poor.
  22. Out of Florida: Judge calls on Lawyers – Supreme Court judge would like to see equal justice.

Oh, there’s more, but I have to stop somewhere.

Besides, this list is just in case you have a few moments . . .


Language Agreement increases Access to Justice in Maine

Individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) have reduced the language barrier in Maine. Today the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced an agreement with the Maine judiciary to ensure that LEP individuals seeking services throughout the State’s court system will have access to timely and competent language assistance.

The Maine judicial branch receives federal funding which requires compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the nondiscrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. These two acts together prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or religion by recipients of federal assistance.

For more information visit