National Adoption Month by Guest Blogger Rita Roache

SCLS Annual Conference 2009 213
Rita Roache

November is designated as National Adoption Month, a time to recognize the benefits of adoption for families and children.

South Carolina Legal Services marks this observance through partnerships and community education. The law firm is available to represent clients in Adoption cases and also to provide education and conduct outreach.

If you would like a speaker for a community education event, please call Tene’ Staley at 843-266-2171. If you need representation, please call our Legal Aid Telephone Intake Service (LATIS) at 1-888-346-5592.

For more information, see http://lawhelp.org/SC/.

– Rita Roache

Rita Roache is a staff attorney and the Family Law Unit head of South Carolina Legal Services.

Ask-A-Lawyer One Week from Today

A Celebrate Pro Bono Week Event!

Ask-A-Lawyer

Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Time: 4:45 to 7:45 p.m.

The Ask-A-Lawyer Program coordinates volunteer lawyers for televised phone banks and Web chats in an effort to assist the public with its legal questions.

If you have a legal question, please call WIS-TV at (803) 758-1020 during the hours indicated. You may also write to an attorney via an online chat room by clicking the icon at www.scbar.org/aal. If you need legal advice, please contact the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 800-868-2284 or call the Legal Aid Telephone Intake Service (LATIS) at 888-346-2284.

The Ask-A-Lawyer program is made possible by the South Carolina Bar Foundation, Inc.

From the SC Bar website!

-RFW

Guess

What do Harvest Hope and SC foreclosures have in common?

If you guessed that South Carolina has seen a marked increase in foreclosures and requests for food have markedly increased, you win!

According to the Columbia Regional Business Report (CRBR):

South Carolina’s foreclosure rate from July to August 2009 was up 1.94%, reported national real estate tracking company RealtyTrac.com. That number is more than 78% higher than it was one year ago.

According to Harvest Hope:

In the first quarter of 2009, Harvest Hope experienced a 142%  increase in the number of families needing assistance.

Earlier today I attended a fundraiser luncheon for Harvest Hope. It made me focus on how the problems faced by so many living in poverty are faces of our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones.

The “featured” speaker at the luncheon was someone who had been working – two jobs. Two good, solid jobs. Then she got ill. Which started the medical bills and absence from work. Which caused her to lose her jobs. Both jobs. The bills kept coming. When it came to paying bills, she used her money for medical bills and medication. Then she lost her home. She stopped eating so much. That made her sicker. Then she found Harvest Hope.

She was able to eat.

The doctors are still trying to figure out what is “wrong” with her. In the meantime, she can eat. Without Harvest Hope and the necessary nutrition it provides, she would be even more sick.

While these societal problems may not be legal, I guarantee that the Legal Aid Telephone Intake Service (LATIS) has been referring people to Harvest Hope.

And once people have nutrition and can think about something other than an empty belly, then they may call LATIS for assistance with a problem with their Landlord. Or maybe for help with their Medicaid benefits. Or help with a way to escape their abusive spouse.

-RFW

Pro Bono Attorneys for Good

Attorneys have battled image problems for years, but if you get to know some, you’ll find that they’re not as bad as you thought. For example, the Central Penn Business Journal highlightsPennsylvania attorneys who are providing pro bono legal representation.  The term “pro bono” actually derives from the term “pro bono publico” or for the public good. For attorneys, this often means representing individuals or a group for free.

In South Carolina, the South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program works closely with the Legal Aid Telephone Intake Service (LATIS) that qualifies people for service. If you have a legal problem in South Carolina and believe that you meet income guidelines, please contact LATIS at 1-888-346-5592.

If you are an attorney and wish to volunteer for the SC Bar’s Pro Bono Program, you can sign up online at http://www.scbar.org/member_resources/pro_bono_program/pro_bono_sign_up_form/. For more information about the program, please see http://www.scbar.org/member_resources/pro_bono_program/.

-RFW