Thanks President Obama! Now we can have a Happy New Year!

Here’s the official press release:

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

December 29, 2010

Statement by the Press Secretary, 12/29/2010

On Wednesday, December 29, 2010, the President signed into law:

H.R. 6398, which provides for permanent Federal deposit insurance coverage for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, the interest earned on which is used by States to support legal aid for low-income individuals.

Why does this mean?

This amendment will provide Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTAs) with the same temporary, unlimited insurance coverage afforded to noninterest-bearing transaction accounts under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – H.R. 6398 extends unlimited FDIC insurance to IOLTA accounts through December 31, 2012.

For more details,

Happy New Year!


News from the North

Canada grapples with gap of justice to those with MIDDLE INCOME.

Unfortunately the access to justice gap for people with low income is not a new concept. But as the economy worsens, the concept that people earning a “decent living” are also denied access to justice is bringing the problem to the forefront.

In Vancouver, the issue will be discussed at a public forum with an emphasis on solutions. For more information, click here.


Tennessee latest to add Access to Justice

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!


Must Read: THE STATE Editorial

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!


November 5, 2008 – SAVE THE DATE


The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission Announces its Final Public Hearing at the Supreme Court of South Carolina

The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission was established by the Supreme Court of South Carolina in January 2007 to expand and enhance access to civil legal representation for South Carolinians with low income or of modest means.

 This spring, the Commission conducted seven regional public hearings across South Carolina.  During these regional hearings, the Commission learned about the many barriers facing South Carolinians with low income.  South Carolina citizens, legal service providers, lawyers and other interested parties addressed the Commission about these barriers and in some instances, offered possible solutions.

The final hearing will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at the South Carolina Supreme Court.

The Commission and selected speakers from the seven regional hearings will address the Supreme Court of South Carolina regarding the barriers and issues that were identified during the previous hearings. 

The hearing will be held in the Courtroom of the Supreme Court Building in Columbia, South Carolina.  Address: 1231 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC 29201.

Members of the bench, bar and public are invited to attend this hearing.

The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission is funded by an IOLTA grant from the South Carolina Bar Foundation.


Whodathunkit? Beijing embracing Civil Gideon!


Beijing lawmakers are drawing up a local statute to provide legal aid to low-income residents in civil cases, according to a September 24 report by the China News Service.

Although China has been criticized for their human rights policies, it appears that providing legal representation to people living in poverty has taken root in Beijing, the nation’s capitol and the People’s Republic of China’s second largest city.


HHS Announces LIHEAP Emergency Contingency Fund Allocations

On September 17, 2008, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of $121 million in energy assistance via its Emergency Contingency Fund to help eligible low-income households meet home energy costs via its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

LIHEAP assists with home heating and cooling costs to ensure the safety of individuals most in need, including children, the elderly and the people with disabilities.

Of the $121 million from the Emergency Contingency Fund, South Carolina will receive $652,643.

 Eligibility: SC families receiving LIHEAP assistance have incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. To learn more about LIHEAP in SC, see

For information about the program, see  For a brochure, click

For information about the program in South Carolina, visit