It is a special time of year again, time to open nominations for the Ellen Hines Smith South Carolina Legal Services Attorney of the Year! Nominations will remain open until April 10, 2017.
Ellen Hines Smith was the founding director of Piedmont Legal Services. She served as a member of Spartanburg City Council and a municipal court judge. Her entire legal career was devoted to the creation and provision of legal services to the citizens of South Carolina. Her commitment and leadership were recognized both in South Carolina and across the nation.
To take a trip down memory lane, here is a list of past recipients:
1989 – Martha B. Dicus
1990 – Thomas L. Bruce
1991 – Johnny Simpson
1992 – Harold F. Daniels
1993 – Andrea E. Loney
1994 – Mozella Nicholson
1995 – Thomas A. Trent
1996 – Susan A. Cross
1997 – Angela M. Myers
1998 – Ethel E. Weinberg
1999 – Nancy M. Butler
2000 – Byron A. Reid
2001 – Lynn P. Wagner
2002 – Eddie McDonnell
2003 – Frank Cannon
2004 – Willie B. Heyward
2005 – Lynn Snowber-Marini
2007 – Marcia Powell-Shew
2009 – Maureen White
2010 – Susan J. Firimonte
2011 – Jack E. Cohoon
2012 – Kirby Mitchell
2013 – Kimberly Shelton
2014 – Kimaka Nichols-Graham
2015 – Susan P. Ingles
If you’re wondering about eligibility and criteria, we’re looking for one or more of the following:
Demonstrated dedication to the development and delivery of legal services to the poor through a Legal Services program;
Quality and creativity in the delivery of legal services to the poor;
Successful litigation that has benefited significant numbers of indigents or favorably affected the provision of other services to indigents or other innovative actions;
Commitment to the goals of Legal Services;
Other public service for the community or the Bar.
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:
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?
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
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.
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
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.
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
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!