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!
On Friday, December 5th, the Tennessee Supreme Court announced an Access to Justice Initiative. Chief Justice Janice Holder offered a few remarks as to outline measures of the initiative as well as some general information as to the necessity of the initiative.
Only one in five income-eligible people will receive the legal help they need.
In our current troubled economy, the need for civil legal services among Tennessee’s indigent and working poor families can only be expected to increase as they face more legal problems caused by unemployment, predatory loans, uninsured medical bills, domestic violence, evictions, and foreclosures.
We send our best wishes to Tennessee with this initiative and offer our support. Congratulations and welcome aboard!
Again, we are pleased to recognize a Commission partner, Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina. Tom Keith, Executive Director of the Foundation, is a current member of the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission.
This has been a great week for the Sisters of Charity’s Fatherhood Initiative. On Monday, they hosted a 10 YEAR Anniversary Luncheon. Yesterday, they participated in the SC Bar Foundation’s Bankers’ Recognition (more on that later). And this morning The State newspaper printed an Editorial piece on the Fatherhood Initiative and the impact that fathers have on their children.
Statistics suggest children who grow up without their biological fathers are more likely to live in poverty, have behavioral or emotional problems, engage in crime, drop out of school or have children out of wedlock.
Please take a moment to read through the article and the positive impact of the Sisters of Charity Foundation in South Carolina via the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families.
The Commission is pleased with the recognition of our partner and looks forward to continued collaboration and success. Congratulations Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina!
Excerpts from The World Justice Project: A Sustained Commitment To The Rule Of Law, an article in The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel. The Editor interviews William H. Neukom:
Every city in our country is disadvantaged by poverty. While everyone understands that there are root causes of poverty, no community is paying sufficient attention to the problem of poverty because other needs clamor for attention and too often prevent the poverty issue from being adequately aired. To the extent that the legal problems of poor people are heard in the courts, however, society as a whole has an opportunity to see this issue at first hand and, hopefully, consider ways in which it might be addressed. Access to justice for the poor, in criminal matters, to be sure, but also legal services in certain types of civil cases for those otherwise incapable of retaining a lawyer, are ways in which society can address poverty and, over time, reduce that poverty.
When people say to me that legal services for the poor is a huge legal issue, I respond by saying it is a huge community issue. Our communities are suffering from poverty, and even if as an individual I am not, I am a member of the community. Access to education, access to heathcare, job opportunities – in addition to access to a fair and impartial system of justice – all of these things contribute to the elimination of poverty and the creation of a society in which we all wish to live.
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.
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.