This American Life Features SRLs

Just posted this on Twitter, then realized, why not add to the Blog?

On this site, you’ve read about Self-Represented Litigants or SRLs numerous times. And, last December, SCETV’s The Big Picture featured Access to Justice with a focus on SRLs. This week, NPR’s This American Life features SRLs in their episode #385 entitled “Pro Se.”

Should be interesting. I’ll be tuning in!

-RFW

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Lawyers Stepping Up to Help Families Keep Their Homes

You may have noticed that a couple of recent posts below reference the home foreclosure crisis.  With the growing number of foreclosures in South Carolina and across the United States it is no wonder the housing market is such a hot topic. 

One of the links referenced below is a story from NPR: Lawyers Make Pro Bono Leap into Foreclosures.  It is the story of a man named Mirkab.  Mirkab is a hard working man who ended up with two homes because just as his family purchased a new home and attempted to sell their old home, the market began to crash and they were unable to sell their second home.  Like many other hardworking Americans, Mirkab is trying as hard as he can to keep his finances in good standing, but battling with the mortgage lenders on his own was getting him nowhere.  The story highlights the generosity of lawyers who have responded to the mortgage crisis by doing pro bono work for clients like Mirkab.  With so many families in the same position as Mirkab’s family, we need even more lawyers to step up and take these cases.

According to the National League of Cities 1 in every 374 housing units were part of a foreclosure filing in April 2009.  Due to this insurmountable number, pro bono lawyers willing to tackle the mortgage crisis are desperately needed.  For attorneys who do not specialize in this area of law the learning curve is steep, so a number of organizations across the country are finding ways to make it easier for attorneys to step up and take on these cases.   At probono.net there are resources for attorneys interested in these pro bono cases including templates for legal documents and links to state specific resources.  The Pro Bono Institute reports that legal service programs are typically the only access to the legal system that the poor and those of modest means have.  Foreclosure cases are swamping their work load and pro bono help is needed to share the responsibility.

The Center for Responsible Lending created the Institute for Foreclosure Legal Assistance that awards grants to non-profits and legal aid offices that with adequate resources can help those suffering from the housing crisis.  The grants range from 250,000 to 300,000 and are dispersed over a 3 year period.

The housing crisis hits close to home for many South Carolinians.  The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC ran an article in February telling how Family Services, Inc. was awarded $1.7 million from the National Foreclosure Mitigation Council.  Recipients of the monies included Appleseed, South Carolina Legal Services and Charleston Pro Bono Services.  These programs and this type of funding certainly help to put a dent in the aid needed, but there is much more required if individuals are going to get the legal help they need.

As Robin posted below, the South Carolina Supreme Court lifted the TRO on foreclosures as of Friday.  The Order lifting the TRO  lays out specific steps that must be followed and items that must be included within the court documents to determine whether an individual mortgage qualifies for President Obama’s Home Affordable Modification Program.  The need for attorneys who are knowledgeable about the recent legislation and court orders dealing with the mortgage crisis as well as South Carolina Foreclosure law to take on these pro bono cases is great.  Thank you for all of those working so hard to work within the legal system to find solutions for those struggling with a home foreclosure.

-Allie

Friday Wrap-Up 5.22.09

Here’s a Wrap-up of the week ending 5.22.09

I know this is mostly pointing folks to other sources for news, but as you can see, there are simply too many stories from the week to cover.

Thanks to my new law clerk Allie! She’s already jumping in with both feet.

Enjoy the stories below and have a safe holiday weekend!

Honolulu – City Awards almost $4 million for Homeless Services

LSC – Update enewsletter

South Carolina – SC Statehouse Report

New Brunswick – New Brunswick is facing Legal Aid cuts

Minneapolis – Best & Flanagan wins Pro Patria Award

Memphis – TBA President ready with plans

Washington D.C. – Bread for the City Beyond Bread: The Human Rights Clinic

Texas – Texas Access to Justice Foundation 25th Anniversary (thanks State Bar of Texas Blog)

Australia

Homeless Person’s Legal Service Forum (Robert McClelland)

Pro Bono Initiative to Strengthen Rule of Law (Robert McClelland) – Lawyers Beyond Borders

The Legal Intelligencer/Law.com – Use ‘Pro Bono Networking’ to Market Yourself into a New Job

New Jersey – TRENTON: State courts closed Fridayand again in June

JD Supra: Legal Articles – The 4 Ps of the Internet: Personal, Private, Professional and Public

Michigan

Mental health court serves public interest

The South End – Law School fellowships provide students with work opportunities, tuition dollars

California – New California Law School Unveils its First Clinic

InHouse Insider – 2009 Best Legal Department: And the Winner is . . . (be sure to track all 3 “winners”)

Tolerance.org: Teaching Tolerance – Use This Summer for Social Justice

NPR: Lawyers Make Pro Bono Leap into Foreclosures (thanks to Mercy Politics for pointing us to this story)

-RFW

Now for the NEWS

Earlier I listed some of the recent blog posts I enjoyed. Below are some recent newsworthy items from around the state, nation and world:

  1. Out of Knoxville TN: Public meeting to discuss increasing need of legal help for poor
  2. Out of Texas: Opinion Piece –  New OAG Service Helps Parents Address Visitation Concerns.
  3. Out of Vancouver, Canada: High fees that block access to the courts block access to justice.
  4. Out of Colorado: Justice for all – Salt Lake City attorney serves the homeless.
  5. Out of Oregon: Hard Times for Access to Justice – Economic Downturn is Beginning to Take its Toll in Oregon.
  6. Out of the UK: Judge rules CPS wrong to deny victim with mental illness right to fight for justice.
  7. Out of Minneapolis/St. Paul: Court of Appeals testing new mediation process.
  8. From NPR: Immigration Crackdown Overwhelms Judges.
  9. Out of Washington: AGs push for mortgage modifications.
  10. Out of West Virginia – State must submit plan to prevent juvenile racial injustice.
  11. Out of Tulsa, OK: A lawful dosage. A medical-legal partnership fills in some gaps in child health-care issues.
  12. Out of North Carolina: Legal Aid in demand and in a bind.
  13. Out of New Jersey: Agency that gives legal help to poor is in financial crisis.
  14. Out of Florida: Judge John Blue Receives 2009 Chief Justice’s Distinguished Judicial Service Award.
  15. Out of Massachusetts: President of One Laptop Per Child to speak Feb. 10.  (yes this is past, but it’s still worth reading)
  16. From Berkeley: Bringing it all back home – In her new job, Wilda White pursues a lifelong passion for social justice.
  17. Out of Massachussets: Legal services needed for immigrants in Milford.
  18. Also from Massachussetts: Letter From The President Of The Boston Bar Association.
  19. Out of Mississippi: Miss. legal aid grows scarce as economy gets worse – Unlike in the criminal justice system, indigent in civil cases aren’t guaranteed an attorney.
  20. Out of England: Let’s not be too misty eyed about legal aid, but it is at a crossroads.
  21. From Chattanooga: 6 Chattanooga Law Firms Commit To Greater Legal Service For The Poor.
  22. Out of Florida: Judge calls on Lawyers – Supreme Court judge would like to see equal justice.

Oh, there’s more, but I have to stop somewhere.

Besides, this list is just in case you have a few moments . . .

-RFW

Happy 200th President Lincoln!

Are you celebrating President Lincoln’s 200th birthday today? I heard my reminder on NPR.

At any rate, I pondered a quick post and found the following quoteworthy:

The strongest bond of human sympathy,

outside of the family relation, should be one

uniting all working people, of all nations, and

tongues, and kindreds.

~Abraham Lincoln

Source:Letter to NY Workingman Assn, Mar 21, 1864

-RFW