LSC President Sandman Discusses Pro Bono

In case you missed it elsewhere, LSC President Sandman discusses pro bono and its importance to legal services programs.

He also discusses the limitations of legal services organizations and the great value of law firm and corporate pro bono participation. Well worth watching!

Tip of the hat to Cheryl Zalenski at the ABA Center for Pro Bono who tweeted this. Thanks for the heads-up.

-RFW

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Thanks President Obama! Now we can have a Happy New Year!

Here’s the official press release:

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

December 29, 2010

Statement by the Press Secretary, 12/29/2010

On Wednesday, December 29, 2010, the President signed into law:

H.R. 6398, which provides for permanent Federal deposit insurance coverage for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, the interest earned on which is used by States to support legal aid for low-income individuals.

Why does this mean?

This amendment will provide Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTAs) with the same temporary, unlimited insurance coverage afforded to noninterest-bearing transaction accounts under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – H.R. 6398 extends unlimited FDIC insurance to IOLTA accounts through December 31, 2012.

For more details, http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/changes2.html.

Happy New Year!

-RFW


Opt Out – What do you think?

There’s an article in the Free Times that features Commissioner Sue Berkowitz. It focuses on the Opt Out idea that is currently circulating in D.C. regarding the Health Care Reform Package.

Some statistics from the article:

Currently, South Carolina ranks 48th in the country in overall health, according to data from the United Health Foundation. The state ranks near the top in such categories as stroke deaths, infant mortality and percentage of uninsured children and near the bottom of such lists as access to prenatal care and percentage of healthy children.

Also, approximately one in six South Carolinians are uninsured, according to Census data, and 80 percent of the uninsured are from working families, according to Families USA.

Tell us what you think:

-RFW

A look at June

For some reason, I wanted to celebrate June on the blog. Maybe it’s because June introduces summer. And summer holds precious memories for many – school is dismissed, it’s a popular wedding month, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

Let’s take a look at history in June:

  1. June 1st Kentucky became the 15th state in 1792, Tennessee became the 16th state in 1796
  2. June 2 – 1924 President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act granting citizenship to Native Americans born in U.S. territories
  3. June 4th – 1919 Congress approves the 19th Amendment (Women’s Rights)
  4. June 6th – D-Day (1944)
  5. June 14th – Flag Day (USA)
  6. June 15th – Arkansas became the 25th state in 1836
  7. June 19th – Juneteenth aka Emancipation Day especially in Texas
  8. June 20th – 1863 West Virginia became the 35th state
  9. June 22-23 – Summer Solstice
  10. 3rd Friday – Midsummer (Finland & Sweden)
  11. 3rd Sunday – Father’s Day (USA)
  12. Gay Pride in honor of Stonewall Riots 1969
  13. Children’s Day in many countries
  14. June 30th – 1921 Former U.S. President (#27) William Howard Taft is Appointed as the 10th Chief Justice of the  United States

Enjoy!

-RFW

Summer Solstice: Famously Hot
Summer Solstice: Famously Hot

Friday Wrap 5.29.09

All the week’s “atj” newsworthy items wrapped up

Friday Wrap Friday Wrap

Texas – Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation Recognize Major Contributors to Texas Legal Aid

Chicago, Illinois – ABA Invites Obama to it Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C. – 2nd ABA National Conference on Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities (Hurry for the EARLY BIRD special because after June 1st the registration increases)

United States Supreme Court – President Obama nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court (For more news links, click here. For blog coverage, click here.)

Brooklyn, New York – A Call for Pro Bono at Boro Hall

Lexington, Kentucky – Interview with a True Change Agent

Nashville, Tennessee – New Legal Advice Clinic to Help with Debt Issues

Richmond, Virginia – LINC Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

Public Justice Center – Donor Inspires Us with $10,000 Gift 

Ventura County, California – New County Program Helping Low-Income Families Adopt

 Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Practical Paralegalism: Paying it Forward

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Credit Card Reforms Could Help Statements

Fairfield, Connecticut – Hard Times Force People Into Family Court “Solo”

Honolulu, Hawaii – Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher Supports Access to Justice Commission

Australia – Pro Bono Work Good for Law Students

New York, New York – Pro Bono Recruitment Drive

San Diego, California – Law Made Public: Legal Research Class for the Self-Represented Litigant

-RFW

Lawyers Stepping Up to Help Families Keep Their Homes

You may have noticed that a couple of recent posts below reference the home foreclosure crisis.  With the growing number of foreclosures in South Carolina and across the United States it is no wonder the housing market is such a hot topic. 

One of the links referenced below is a story from NPR: Lawyers Make Pro Bono Leap into Foreclosures.  It is the story of a man named Mirkab.  Mirkab is a hard working man who ended up with two homes because just as his family purchased a new home and attempted to sell their old home, the market began to crash and they were unable to sell their second home.  Like many other hardworking Americans, Mirkab is trying as hard as he can to keep his finances in good standing, but battling with the mortgage lenders on his own was getting him nowhere.  The story highlights the generosity of lawyers who have responded to the mortgage crisis by doing pro bono work for clients like Mirkab.  With so many families in the same position as Mirkab’s family, we need even more lawyers to step up and take these cases.

According to the National League of Cities 1 in every 374 housing units were part of a foreclosure filing in April 2009.  Due to this insurmountable number, pro bono lawyers willing to tackle the mortgage crisis are desperately needed.  For attorneys who do not specialize in this area of law the learning curve is steep, so a number of organizations across the country are finding ways to make it easier for attorneys to step up and take on these cases.   At probono.net there are resources for attorneys interested in these pro bono cases including templates for legal documents and links to state specific resources.  The Pro Bono Institute reports that legal service programs are typically the only access to the legal system that the poor and those of modest means have.  Foreclosure cases are swamping their work load and pro bono help is needed to share the responsibility.

The Center for Responsible Lending created the Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance that awards grants to non-profits and legal aid offices that with adequate resources can help those suffering from the housing crisis.  The grants range from 250,000 to 300,000 and are dispersed over a 3 year period.

The housing crisis hits close to home for many South Carolinians.  The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC ran an article in February telling how Family Services, Inc. was awarded $1.7 million from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Council.  Recipients of the monies included Appleseed, South Carolina Legal Services and Charleston Pro Bono Services.  These programs and this type of funding certainly help to put a dent in the aid needed, but there is much more required if individuals are going to get the legal help they need.

As Robin posted below, the South Carolina Supreme Court lifted the TRO on foreclosures as of Friday.  The Order lifting the TRO  lays out specific steps that must be followed and items that must be included within the court documents to determine whether an individual mortgage qualifies for President Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Program.  The need for attorneys who are knowledgeable about the recent legislation and court orders dealing with the mortgage crisis as well as South Carolina Foreclosure law to take on these pro bono cases is great.  Thank you for all of those working so hard to work within the legal system to find solutions for those struggling with a home foreclosure.

-Allie

South Carolina Temporarily Suspends Foreclosures on Govt. Mortgages

HOPE FOR SOUTH CAROLINA HOMEOWNERS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN PRESIDENT OBAMA’S GOVERNMENT FORECLOSURE PROGRAM

home-sweet-home

On May 4, 2009, South Carolina became the first state  in which the Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court issued an Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)preventing the foreclosure sale of any property arising out of a loan owned or guaranteed by petitioner or Freddie Mac or held by a servicer who has signed an agreement to participate in the Home Affordable Modification Program aka HMP.

New details on the HMP were released on April 28, 2009.

If you think you may be eligible for the HMP, act quickly.

Kudos South Carolina! And good luck to the many homeowners who may have one more chance to keep their homes.

-RFW