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.
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.
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.
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.
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.