Focus on Pro Bono: Douglas Rushton

Douglas Rushton

Douglas is in his third year at the University of South Carolina School of Law. This semester he notes that his most interesting classes are Appellate Advocacy, Commercial Speech Seminar, and Criminal Practice Clinic, in which he will represent, at a trial in magistrate’s court, a young man who has been accused of criminal domestic violence. He currently serves as the Executive Student Works Editor of the Law Review, and is a member of the Order of the Wig and Robe.

Douglas, what pro bono work are you currently involved in?

I am currently teaching courses for the CHOICES program at the Department of Juvenile Justice.

Please tell me more about CHOICES.

The program seeks to give the kids at DJJ a better understanding about the legal system and a bit of practical knowledge of the law.  Most recently, another law student and I taught a course to a group of about ten guys about rules, laws, and values.  The idea was to develop by discussion what a law should do (e.g., protect citizens) and how it should do so (e.g., fairly).

Any surprises?

The most surprising part of the program was the interest and participation we got from the guys in the program.  All of the guys had first hand knowledge of how the criminal justice system worked and had many differing opinions about it.  However, most had not really thought about why the system functions as it does, and its goals.

Do you see a future with pro bono service?

I have truly enjoyed the pro bono work that I have done, and I will continue to stay involved, in one way or another, in public service.  I am pursuing, almost exclusively, jobs in public service. I have enjoyed working as a public defender in my clinic, and hope to continue in that type of work as an actual attorney.

-RFW

Focus on Pro Bono: Chelsea Leathers

Chelsea Leathers

Chelsea Leathers is a 3L at the USC School of Law.  Her classes this semester are Secured Transactions, Individual Employment Law, Immigration Law, Poverty Law, Trial Advocacy and Death Penalty Seminar.  Her favorite classes are Poverty Law and Death Penalty Seminar.  She is also a member of the James L. Petigru Public Interest Law Society.

What Pro Bono Program are you currently involved in?

Right now, I am involved in the CHOICES Program.  I first learned about this program after receiving a flier in my mailbox at school.  I have not done any other pro bono projects while in law school however I have been greatly satisfied with my decision to do CHOICES.

What lesson have you taken from your pro bono service?

I think the most valuable lesson I have learned is “not to judge a book by its cover.”  While this sounds cliché, I think it is the perfect way to describe my participation with CHOICES.  Initially, I was a little hesitant about how the juveniles would react to the program.  My encounters with the juveniles put my fears to rest.  They were a bright group of young men with creative ideas and goals for the future.  Not only were they receptive to the program, but they were also a joy to be around and they taught me many things that I did not know.

Has your pro bono service changed your idea of law or pro bono?

Not really.  I had always been service oriented and have enjoyed helping others.  The one thing that I can say is that I will be more willing to take a chance and volunteer in areas outside of my comfort zone.

Do you see yourself in private practice or public interest?

At this point, I do not plan to go into private practice; I would prefer to work in a public interest setting.  If I do end up in private practice, I will definitely volunteer as a pro bono attorney.  Through my experiences, I have tried to encourage other law students to participate in pro bono programs.  We are all extremely busy but I still think it is important to share my stories and hopefully, others can find time in their schedule to help someone else.  It really does offer a nice break from lives as law students and personally, it reminds me of why I decided to attend law school.

-RFW

Fall 2010: Law School for Non-Lawyers

Law School for Non-Lawyers

It’s BACK TO SCHOOL time and not just for kids!
You can go back to school too, via the SC Bar’s Law School for Non-Lawyers course.
The program is a 7-week Law School for Non-Lawyers course covering a variety of general legal subjects. The registration fee is $45 which includes course materials.

Covered topics include:

  • Overview of State Courts
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Child Protection Hearings
  • Wills, Estates and Probate Law
  • Health Care and Elder Law
  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Consumer Law and Debt Collection
  • Real Estate and Landlord/Tenant Law
  • Employment Law
  • South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Torts

The following courses are currently scheduled:

Trident Technical College

Offered every Tuesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

September 14, 2010 through October 26, 2010

7000 Rivers Avenue, N. Charleston

Building 910, Room 123

To register, call 843-574-6152 or visit www.tridenttech.edu

HURRY, Registration ends September 7th

Horry/Georgetown Technical College

Every Monday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Beginning September 20, 2010 through November 1, 2010

743 Hemlock Dr., Myrtle Beach

Building 200, Room 136

To register, call 843-477-2020 or 843-349-5363 or visit www.hgtc.edu

HURRY, Registration ends September 14th

For any other questions or concerns you have, please contact Debbie Morris at dmorris@scbar.org or 800-395-3425, ext. 158.

The Law School for Non-Lawyers is made possible through an IOLTA grant from the SC Bar Foundation.