Disabilities Awareness Public Forum, Wed., Oct. 26, 2011

Tomorrow as part of Celebrate Pro Bono 2011, several attorneys will be speaking at a Disabilities Awareness Public Forum in Greenville, South Carolina.

The event is FREE and open to the public. We do have ASL Interpreters available for the event, but if you need additional accomodations, please contact Stephanie Gutzman at 864-235-0273 or by email at gutzman@pandasc.org.

Hope to see you there!


Focus on Pro Bono: Celebrate Pro Bono 2011

I’m very proud to don this logo on the SC Access to Justice blog. For the past three years, the American Bar Association has hosted this powerful, national event highlighting the importance of pro bono legal services around the United States.

In South Carolina, we’re proud to highlight some of the work in our own backyard. Throughout the remainder of Celebrate Pro Bono 2011, you’ll be able to learn how South Carolina law students and practicing attorneys interpret pro bono legal services and put it into action.

Many thanks to the American Bar, probono.net and the thousands of attorneys and law students who are celebrating pro bono this week!


Celebrate the ADA’s 20th

Today is the last day to register for an exciting event in Charleston on Thursday, September 23rd.

For attorneys, this is a great opportunity to attend a Continuing Legal Education Event to learn about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and its impact over the past 20 years.

The Agenda:

The ADA: Olmstead and Beyond – Elizabeth Priaulx, National Disability Rights Network

The ADA and State Budget Cuts: North Carolina’s Experience – John Rittelmeyer, Disability Rights North Carolina

The ADA and Medicaid Issues: Georgia’s Experience – Joshua Norris, Georgia Advocacy Office, Inc.

The ADA and State Delivery of Services – Panel Discussion

The ADA and the Fair Housing Act: Aging in the Community – Susan Ann Silverstein, AARP Foundation Litigation

The ADA as Civil Rights Litigation: Class Actions and Attorneys’ Fees Issues – Armand Derfner, Derfner Altman & Wilborn

How Do We Maintain the Momentum? – Panel Discussion


  • $50 non-profit attorneys
  • $100 government and private bar
  • Lunch is included in registration fee

For the public, this event offers a special evening of celebration and a chance to meet some passionate disability advocates with a presentation by Samuel Bagenstos. And the reception is free. Registration is required however.

Both these events offer a wonderful opportunity to celebrate 20 years of the ADA! Please join us in the celebration!

For more information, please visit http://www.pandasc.org/.

Hope to see you there!


More Special Education News: out of Wisconsin

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court published its opinion in Forest Grove School District v. T.A. (see previous post), while the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal reported that earlier this month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Aaron E. Goodstein issued an order for:

Milwaukee Public Schools to launch a wide search for students who didn’t get special education services they should have gotten between 2000 and 2005 and to figure out what needs to be done to make that up to them.

The suit was brought by Disability Rights Wisconsin, the protection and advocacy system for Wisconsin.


Thanks to @wiprobono for pointing me toward this story.

Where to? Why SCATP EXPO 2009 of course.


South Carolina Assistive Technology Program

If you’re not familiar with the SCATP, you may want to take note. SCATP connects people with disabilities with assistive technology to help them live, work, or learn as independently as possible.

What is assistive technology? Assistive technology is the service or equipment that makes the independence possible. A common example is a power wheelchair. The wheelchair allows the person to be able to move around fairly independently and the power makes it even more independent. Without the chair, the person may be very limited in movements and wouldn’t be able to come to work, go to the grocery store, or go to class.

So, why am I touting the Expo? Because it is a fabulous place to find out much more information than I could possibly list here.

For people with disabilities, it’s invaluable. The Expo often has a wide range of exhibitors with all kinds of information from wheelchair demonstrations to telephone equipment to modified spoons for people with severe arthritis. The sessions themselves are well worth attending.

And what’s the best part? It’s FREE. That’s right, free.

For more information, please visit the website at http://www.sc.edu/scatp/expo/expo09.html.


South Carolina

Assistive Technology

Expo 2009


9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

1101 Lincoln Street

Columbia, South Carolina


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

 Free and Open to the Public!

SC Access to Justice Readers’ Choice for the Holidays?

Why the Transcript of the South Carolina Supreme Court November 5th Public Hearing on Access to Justice of course!


Click here for the  transcript.

Many Thanks to Winkie Clark for uploading the transcript to the www.sccourts.org website and to Mary Ann Ridenour for forwarding it to SC Access to Justice!


Spotlight on South Carolina Legal Services, Kimaka Nichols-Graham

SCLS: Middle School Experience Better for One Student



Spotlight on South Carolina Legal Services, Kimaka Nichols-Graham


Just last week, Ms. Nichols-Graham, a South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) attorney, represented a middle school student (STUDENT) in Greenville County at an expulsion hearing. A classmate handed STUDENT a prescription pill. When STUDENT realized it was a pill STUDENT tried to hand it back to the classmate who gave it to her. The classmate refused to take back the pill.  Then STUDENT threw the pill in a garbage can.


STUDENT Background: STUDENT is an A-B student and has had no other discipline issues this school year.  STUDENT very much dislikes medication and when it’s necessary for STUDENT to take medication, parent must chop up pills for student to take them.


Ms. Nichols-Graham prevailed at the hearing. Congratulations Ms. Nichols-Graham and SCLS!


OF NOTE: Although Ms. Nichols-Graham won the hearing, she was concerned that other students would still not be safe from the threat of expulsion for “throwing pills away.” She noted that “there needs to be a safe way for students to turn in illegal drugs or weapons that they discover or don’t intend to accept because schools will be safer if innocent students do not have to hide extremely dangerous discoveries.”


What do you say South Carolina Policymakers? Any ideas?


FACTOID:  Ms. Nichols-Graham’s appearance at the expulsion hearing last week made the 490th court appearance for 2008 for the Greenville County South Carolina Legal Services office. Will they make the elusive 500 ‘total court appearances’ in 2008? Stay tuned.