Bravo Richland County, South Carolina

BRAVO Richland County!

Richland County recently awarded a $12,995 grant to help 25  sign language interpreters work toward nationally recognized legal certification.

The training will enable participants to increase their skill level in serving the deaf population of Richland County. The long term goal of the project is to enable interpreters to obtain legal interpreting certification from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

Statewide there are only approximately 50 nationally certified interpreters. Only one of the 50 currently holds the national certification for legal interpreting.

The project will run Aug. 1 through June 1, 2011. Individuals who are interested in participating should contact Stoehr at (864) 577-7563 or e-mail her at kstoehr@scsdb.org.

For more info, click here.

-RFW

Favorite Civil Justice Movie?

I just received an email about American Violet, a movie about civil justice released earlier this year.

And as I read the promo and watched the video preview, I realized that movies are powerful media. I reflected on earlier movies that had inspired me to move into a civil justice career such as Cry Freedom, Sound and Fury, A Civil Action, and Mississippi Burning to name a few.

Then I thought, if seeing the preview for American Violet has inspired me so, what other inspirational movies are out there that I’ve either forgotten or have never seen?

That’s where YOU Dear Reader come in.

Please add your favorite in the comments section of this blog.

Feel free to say why or how it inspired you too.

Plus you gain the opportunity to inspire someone else too.

Thanks!

-RFW

Understand?

What?
What?

One word can make a huge difference. It’s what comes before and what follows that’s equally important, especially in court.

There’s a good article in the New York Times about the study, Language Access in the Courts, by the Brennan Center for Justice about the necessity of understanding the proceedings not only in criminal cases but in civil cases too.

Interpreters in the courts is an issue that was identified by the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission via the 2008 public hearings – both for South Carolinians who are deaf and those with limited English proficiency (LEP). Since that time, we have been working on ways to improve interpretation in the courts.

If you’re curious about law/summaries for interpretation in South Carolina courts or other states, the study is worth a read. Or if you want a quick peek, check out the NY Times article.

-RFW

SC ATJ New Year’s Wishes or Resolutions?

COUNTDOWN TO 2009

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As the New Year’s wishes and resolutions are starting to pour in, I’ve had a few moments to ponder Access to Justice resolutions for 2009. Before I lose count of the many goals for 2009, I thought I’d share a few.

12. South Carolina Access to Justice will develop a working relationship with legal paraprofessionals throughout the state.

11. Technology advances such as instant messaging, podcasts, YouTube videos, and email allow greater communication to and for people in need of low-cost legal services, especially when transportation imposes a barrier.

10. The Commission and partner organizations reach solutions to the need for interpreters for individuals who are Deaf and with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

9.  South Carolina law students, both USC School of Law and Charleston School of Law students, become engaged in access to justice and collaborate with the Commission for creative solutions.

8. South Carolina attorneys recognize the opportunity that unbundled or limited scope legal services can provide to South Carolinians with low income or of modest means, especially during this financial climate while sustaining the attorney’s practice at the same time.

7. SC Access to Justice establishes a library workgroup to assist self-represented litigants (SRLs) with access to approved, free legal forms (http://www.sccourts.org/forms/indexSelfHelp.cfm) and to establish a long-lasting partnership with libraries.

6. All South Carolinians who are unable to afford an attorney can reach one access point for all South Carolina legal service organizations.

5. Every County Courthouse will house or have access to a nearby self-help center for self-represented litigants.

4. Every county self-help center will be staffed for a minimum of 5 hours per week by pro bono attorneys.

3. Every South Carolina licensed attorney completes at least 50 hours of pro bono service as per ABA Model Rule 6.1 VOLUNTARY PRO BONO SERVICE.

2. The Second Pilot Lawyer Mentor Program incorporates the aspirational Pro Bono expectation and that it becomes a “shall” instead of a “should.”

1. That ALL South Carolinians have equal access to the law and its remedies without regard to their economic status.

Happy New Year!

-RFW