Most everyone is familiar with Ed McMahon and the American Family Publishers Sweepstakes prize. And some of us waited patiently for him to show up at our door with balloons and an over-sized check. Watching the few lucky prize winners was always a thrill. And today I had the honor of delivering balloons and flowers to the 2009 Ellen Hines Smith South Carolina Legal Services award recipient, Maureen White.
While the official award will be presented at the SC Bar Foundation Gala on March 11, 2010, Shannon Willis Scruggs of the SC Bar Foundation, and I delivered the good news to Ms. White today at the Greenville office of South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS). And wow, what a great feeling! To say that Ms. White was surprised would be an understatement. Below you’ll see some photos as we interrupted the Thursday morning staffing.
A little more about Ms. White:
- She started work at SCLS in March 1997;
- During her time at SCLS, she has conquered many legal issues including landlord/tenant, divorce, consumer and disability matters;
- She is currently the lead bankruptcy attorney within the consumer unit of SCLS; and
- She moved to South Carolina from Ohio where she had practiced for 12 years.
A few notes from the people who nominated her:
When she started at SCLS: Almost immediately, (no one can remember exactly when), she was fully oriented to the legal aid culture and was building a diverse caseload that has grown beyond all boundaries owing to her famous zeal at case acceptance meetings.
The justice system is better for her example, energy and abundant legal skill. Her humor enlivened every case acceptance meeting.
I could not be more impressed with her professionalism and cheerful work ethic – she is uniquely motivated in her desire to help others.
Maureen’s most significant achievement on a statewide level has been her work as our Lead Bankruptcy Attorney. When SCLS’ Bankruptcy Roadshow was created by the Consumer Unit, Maureen led the way as we went around the state training SCLS attorneys to handle bankruptcy cases. We significantly increased the number of attorneys handling bankruptcy and the number of clients being served by SCLS filing bankruptcy for them.
Meet Ms. Maureen White:
Once again – congratulations Maureen White!
And Ed McMahon – thanks for the inspiration . . . it’s a lot of fun to surprise people with flowers, balloons, and good news!
Another SC Access to Justice Commissioner has news or should I say is IN the news today. Sue Berkowitz, the SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center Executive Director, was quoted in the prestigious Wall Street Journal.
The story? Numbers on Welfare See Sharp Increase. Excerpt from the story:
Twenty-three of the 30 largest states, which account for more than 88% of the nation’s total population, see welfare caseloads above year-ago levels, according to a survey conducted by The Wall Street Journal and the National Conference of State Legislatures. As more people run out of unemployment compensation, many are turning to welfare as a stopgap.
South Carolina is one of the “leading” states – in which welfare cases have increased from +10% to +30% over last year’s rates. Other states with sharp increases include California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Ohio, Oregon, and Washington.
On another note, we noted that the SC Appleseed Legal Justice website has a new look too. And we like it!
It’s usually a good thing to be a leader. But every now and then, it pays off to be in the middle of the pack. This is one of those times for South Carolina.
South Carolina is NOT a Top 10 Leading State in Foreclosures!*
Who leads the nation in foreclosures?
California leads, followed by Florida, Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Virginia.
Although South Carolina does not lead the nation, our state courts are receiving record filings in the foreclosure arena; many by self-represented litigants. Many legal and social service providers continue to work with people to save their homes.
Trend information is available online at the RealtyTrac where they track foreclosure information. You can access blogs and other information about foreclosures at this site.
For information on a foreclosure ticker, check out my previous post. For a different website with an interactive foreclosure map, visit here.
* According to http://www.realtytrac.com/TrendCenter/Default.aspx?address=.
Here are a few access to justice stories from around the nation today:
Out of Montana comes the question “What is the difference between simple access to the courts and access to justice?” It’s a good question and deserves discussion. To read more, click here.
Out of Texas comes news that the Texas Access to Justice Commission awarded the Texas Tech School of Law its first ever Law School Commitment to Service Award. Justice O’Neill specifically noted the School of Law’s clinical operations and pro bono work. To read more, click here.
Out of Ohio comes information that the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation is going to track pro bono hours Ohio attorneys logged in 2008. The Supreme Court of Ohio announced last week a new program for attorneys to voluntarily report their pro bono activities. To read more, click here.