Thanks SCLS!

Earlier this month I was invited to attend the South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) Annual Conference in Myrtle Beach.  And it’s hard for me to express the feelings I had. Everyone was welcoming to me and I had a great time. Even better, I came away with a better understanding of what SCLS does and the dedication their staff has to their job. In fact, I dare say that many SCLS attorneys and support staff believe that their work is a calling. I was glad to be a part of SCLS for 3 days!

And I’m thankful for the work they do including:

  1. To keep people in their homes;
  2. To make sure people are able to access benefits;
  3. To help people out of unsafe living conditions; and
  4. To let people know that they are not alone in the civil legal system.

Below are some photos from the Conference: (I wish I had more to share, but most shots were under- or over-exposed)

Opening Dinner 11/10/09
George Cauthen, SCATJ Commissioner and SCLS Board Member
Getting to Know Staff Begins

Singing with guitar accompaniment
Flute Solo
The Fashion Show Begins
More Fashion
Like New York Fashion Week
Making it work (a la Tim Gunn)
Let the Votes Begin
More Fashion Votes
Door Prize

Consumer Law
More Consumer Law Issues
Attentive Students
Continuing Legal Education
The Knowledgeable Panel
Truth in Lending Act
Willard N. Timm, Jr., Assistant Director, Tax Clinic, Georgia State University
Jada Charley introduces Steve Cook to speak re: Assistive Technology

Again, many thanks SCLS!


Calling Unemployed Attorneys!

News out of Chicago:

CARPLS – Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services

Local law firms have laid off an increasing number of lawyers as sluggish economic conditions continue. The new project, dubbed CARPLS Works, is set to kick off the week of Feb. 23.

 The volunteers must be licensed Illinois  lawyers and are asked to work on the CARPLS hotline for at least four hours each week on a morning or afternoon shift.

Allen C. Schwartz, the executive director of the Coordinated Advice & Referral Program for Legal Services, said CARPLS officials hope that between 40 and 50 out-of-work lawyers will volunteer for the new program. The new volunteers will supplement the work of 32 paid staff lawyers, Schwartz said.

CARPLS officials posted a job description for the new program on craigslist and other online sites Thursday afternoon, Schwartz said. By Friday morning, there were about 35 responses, he added.

. . .

The project will give lawyers without jobs the opportunity to use their legal skills and provide service to the community, according to Schwartz.

Sounds like an idea that may gain popularity around the nation! To read the article in its entirety, click here.


P.S. Thanks to George Cauthen for bringing this program to my attention!

SCATJ’s 8 Reasons to Give Thanks in ’08

8. Public Hearings are Complete.

And the response was really good. South Carolina Judges, Attorneys and members of the public spoke about barriers to civil justice that they had witnessed or encountered.

7. SCETV’s The Big Picture and staff.

On December 11, 2008 at 7:30 p.m. The Big Picture will feature speakers from the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission’s public hearings. The topic will be self-represented litigants. The next morning, Friday, December 12, 2008, the radio program will continue discussion of this topic.

6. Support of National Access to Justice community.

Shout-outs to Bob Echols, Richard Zorza, Deborah L. Rhode, Jim Sokolove, Judy Meadows, Kate Bladow and all the many others who have contributed this past year to show me that access to justice is larger than South Carolina. There are many pieces within access to justice, all of which are important. The list is too numerous to mention here and I hope you all know who you are.

5. Support of the South Carolina Bar.

The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission works out of the South Carolina Bar building and without the assistance of the many Bar employees, the Commission would not have been able to accomplish as much as it has. Additionally, the support of all the Bar members has been overwhelming. Attorneys who are already working hard within the legal services community are familiar with access to justice and working toward this goal every day. Additionally without the care and support of the private bar, access to justice would remain an unrealized concept.

4. Support from the South Carolina Bar Foundation.

The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission is currently fully funded by IOLTA funds from the South Carolina Bar Foundation. Thanks for making everything possible.

3. Active Participation of the South Carolina Supreme Court.

The final hearing was the ultimate in Supreme Court participation. All of the five justices actively joined in the somewhat lively discussion. They prepared meticulous questions and settled only for thorough answers. And their questions often indicated their interest in identifying solutions to the broad problems facing disenfranchised South Carolinians.

2. Wonderful South Carolina Access to Justice Commission Members.

There are 27 members of the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission. Each one of these members has contributed to the success of the past year.

1. Supportive Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal and Steering Committee.

Special thanks to the support of the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission Chair, Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal, and Vice Chair, Stuart Andrews. Additionally, many thanks to Stephanie A. Nye, counsel to the Chief Justice, and George Cauthen, ex-officio. Without each of them individually and collectively, the Commission would not exist. Many thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving to All!