Last Week to Nominate for Ellen Hines Smith Award

You have until November 15th to nominate a South Carolina Legal Services attorney for the Ellen Hines Smith Award.

This year the award event is especially exciting because it will take place during the South Carolina Bar Foundation’s Annual Gala on March 11, 2010.

I can’t wait to learn who receives the award!

-RFW

earlier post

#153 of “Must-Read Blog Posts” in 2008

THANKS 3 GEEKS AND A LAW BLOG!

Thanks to 3 Geeks and a Law Blog for their Must Read Blog Posts of 2008 and it’s not simply because we made the list with our entry The Name’s Bono, Pro Bono. Disclaimer: I did nominate it.

If you haven’t read the list or their blog, this is definitely worth a read. Although many of the articles are devoted to law and the practice of law, there are other treats as well. And because the compilation was initiated on Twitter, many of the articles relate to Twitter and other social media.

Enjoy!

-RFW

SC Access to Justice Commission Meets and Sets Up 3 Standing Committees

Cal Watson describes his vision of staffed programs
Cal Watson describes his vision of staffed programs
Dwayne Mazyck and Stephanie Nye preparing for the SRL working lunch
Dwayne Mazyck and Stephanie Nye preparing for the SRL working lunch
Judge Baxley
Judge Baxley

On Wednesday, September 24, 2008, the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission held its annual fall meeting at the Columbia office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP. Stuart Andrews, Vice-Chair, presided over the meeting and introduced discussion of some of the findings from the Commission’s regional public hearings. Stuart Andrews, Stephanie Nye and Robin Wheeler presented preliminary findings to the Commissioners.

The full Commission divided into 3 Committees: 1-Self-Represented Litigants, 2-Pro Bono, and 3-Staffed Programs to begin work on these three initiatives.

Cal Watson & Jennie Stephens prepare for the working lunch
Cal Watson & Jennie Stephens prepare for the working lunch

ABA Litigation Chair Organizing Access to Justice Symposium in Atlanta

On September 11, 2008, the Daily Report noted that Robert L. Rothman, the new ABA Litigation Chair is looking to expand counsel for people living in poverty and whose basic needs are at stake.The main project he’s taken on is providing publicly funded lawyers to those who can’t afford one in these proceedings.

According to the Daily Report, ROTHMAN said a 2006 ABA resolution that advocated expanding counsel to indigent defendants in critical civil matters was what spurred him to make that the signature effort of his term. “I want to bring the litigation section into a very important discussion that is going on,” said ROTHMAN. “I think there is a critical mass and momentum building on this subject among lawyers, judges, public officials and academics.”

Thus far, this resolution has not been adopted in South Carolina.

ROTHMAN has organized a symposium on the right to counsel in civil cases that will take place in Atlanta on Dec. 4 and 5, sponsored by the ABA’s litigation section. The section has also funded a two-year fellowship for a person to work with the National Coalition for a Right to Civil Counsel on state legislative efforts.

Stay tuned for updates.

-RFW

South Dakota: Endeavor to Educate Self-Represented Litigants

Interesting article while the South Carolina delegation attends the Court Solutions conference about self-represented litigants –http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080909/NEWS/809090323/1001.

As the South Carolina Delegation is learning, self-represented litigants are here to stay. During the conference this week, presenters from other states have advised and educated on ways to assist the rising number of self-represented litigants, appearing not only in the historical “peoples’ court” but also in higher courts including probate, family and circuit courts. Other states have described many actions to assist self-represented litigants in an effort to maintain reasonable efficiency as well as ensure that the documents prepared without an attorney meet minimal standards while at the same time adhering to ethical guidelines.

While many courts have described conflicts, detractors and other barriers, it is refreshing to see that they have perservered. Additionally, SC Access to Justice wishes only the best for the latest South Dakota endeavor.

-RFW

Boston Bar Association Press Release

On Tuesday, the Boston Bar Association announced plans to expand right to counsel in civil cases. This is in response to a study by the BBA’s Task Force on Civil Right to Counsel.

“Studies of courts and administrative agencies consistently show that indigent litigants without counsel routinely forfeit basic rights, not due to the facts of their case or the governing law, but due to absence of counsel. That violates even the most primitive concepts of fairness and decency,” said Task Force co-chair Mary K. Ryan, a partner at Nutter, McClennen & Fish.

To view the press release, visit http://www.bostonbar.org/prs/nr_0809/ExpRight2Councel090208.htm.

For a brief history of Right to Counsel, visit http://www.nlada.org/About/About_HistoryDefender.

-RFW