Nominations now open: Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year 2014

The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission is pleased to open nominations for the Ellen Hines Smith South Carolina Legal Services Attorney of the Year Award.

2014 Ellen Hines Smith Nomination Form

Nominations will remain open until November 12, 2014.

The award winner will be decided by a joint awards committee of the South Carolina Bar Foundation and the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission. The award will be jointly presented at the South Carolina Bar Foundation Gala, to be held on Saturday, January 24, 2015.

~rfw

February 2012 Newsletter

We are pleased to share our latest newsletter.

SCATJC February2012

If you have questions, please feel free to email me.

~RFW

Congratulations Jack Cohoon! 2011 Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year

Earlier today, Shannon Willis Scruggs, the Executive Director of the South Carolina Bar Foundation, and I made our annual surprise site visit to the South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) office where the Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year receives their surprise notice of the honor.

The 2011 recipient is Jack E. Cohoon, from the Columbia office.

Congratulations to Jack Cohoon! Pictured Left to Right: Eddie Weinberg, Jack Cohoon, Andrea Loney, Robin Wheeler. Photograph by Shannon Willis Scruggs.

Who is Jack E. Cohoon?

He has been employed in the Columbia SCLS office for more than 5 years. Jack serves as the lead employment attorney and provides guidance and case reviews of employment cases throughout the organization. But Jack’s caseload is not limited to employment; Jack also helps with evictions, housing, domestic violence, consumer protection, public benefits, education, and elder law.

Jack developed an expungement clinic protocol that includes a PowerPoint presentation, a brochure, and assistance with the SC Access to Justice Commission’s Expungement and Pardons FAQs.

What do co-workers say about Jack E. Cohoon?

“His polite demeanor and droll wit create a wonderful rapport between him and his clients.”

“Jack is a truly exceptional young attorney who has made a substantial statewide impact on the scope and effectiveness of SCLS’s representation to the benefit of all low income South Carolinians.”

“Jack’s work ethic is one of the best at SCLS. He is on the job and eager for work every day.”

“His calm, even demeanor has made him a favorite with attorneys within and outside of SCLS. Indeed, his glowing reputation extends to opposing counsel as well.”

“He is never temperamental and willingly accepts supervision, suggestions and criticism.”

From a client:

“. . .  Jack Cohoon did me a great service with the case that I brought to him. I don’t know that if I had had the money to pay a lawyer they could have done a better service for me.”

From the Workforce Investment Area re: expungement clinics:

“Jack was the perfect partner to work with. He exhibited compassion and patience that was very evident and sincere to the workshop attendees. Many stayed after the sessions to speak with him personally . . . He provided hope for some who felt they had exhausted every avenue. . . . Jack is a true treasure as he will always avail himself to help get information and services to the community. . . .  I appreciate the professionalism which Jack presents to a hurting and sometimes angry audience and look forward to the opportunity to work with him again.”

It’s easy to see why Jack is the recipient of this year’s Ellen Hines Smith Attorney of the Year award.

If you would like to see Jack receive the award, please join us at the South Carolina Bar Foundation Gala on Saturday, January 21, 2012 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $100 and table sponsorships start at $1,200. Please contact Shannon Scruggs at shannon.scruggs@scbar.org or (803) 765-0517 for more information.

~RFW

2011 Ellen Hines Smith Nominations Now Open!

We are pleased to announce that nominations for the 2011 Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year are open!

The Ellen Hines Smith Award was established in 1989. It is given to a South Carolina Bar member who is employed as an LSC grantee program lawyer who has demonstrated long-term commitment to legal services and who has personally done significant work in extending legal services to the poor.

The form is available in pdf at Ellen Hines Smith Nomination Form 2011 or by email request to rwheeler@scbar.org.

Who is eligible?

  • A SC Bar member who is employed as an LSC grantee program lawyer.

Who is not eligible?

Previous award winners are not eligible:

1989 – Martha B. Dicus

1990 –Thomas L. Bruce

1991 – Johnny Simpson

1992 – Harold F. Daniels

1993 – Andrea E. Loney

1994 – Mozella Nicholson

1995 – Thomas A.Trent

1996 – Susan A. Cross

1997 – Angela M. Myers

1998 – Ethel E. Weinberg

1999 – Nancy M. Butler

2000 – Byron A. Reid

2001 – Lynn P. Wagner

2002 – Eddie McConnell

2003 – Frank Cannon

2004 – Willie B. Heyward

2005 – Lynn Snowber-Marini

2006 – Eddie McConnell

2007 – Marcia Powell-Shew

2009 – Maureen White

2010 – Susan J. Firimonte

When is the application due?

  • The application must be made by October 15, 2011.

How do I find out who received the award?

  • The SC Bar Foundation and the SC Access to Justice Commission present the award at the annual SC Bar Foundation Gala. This year the Gala will be held on January 21, 2012 in Columbia during the SC Bar Convention

For more information about Ms. Ellen Hines Smith, visit the USC School of Law Memory Hold the Door page dedicated to her.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~ RFW

Ellen Hines Smith: Legal Services Attorney of the Year – NOMINATIONS ARE OPEN

Have a favorite Legal Services Attorney?


Now’s your time to nominate them for the Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Attorney of the Year.

Here’s the form:

Ellen Hines Smith Nomination Form 2010

What’s the Award Criteria?


  • A SC Bar member who is employed as an LSC grantee program lawyer;
  • Application made by November 15th of each year;
  • SC Access to Justice Commission sends nomination solicitations by October 1 of each year;
  • Sent to Executive Director of  SC Bar Foundation and Executive Director of SC Access to Justice Commission;
  • Award winner decided by a joint awards committee of the SC Bar Foundation and SC ATJ Commission, meeting in January each year;
  • Provides reasons for nominee to receive award;
  • Award jointly presented at SC Bar Foundation Gala;
  • Award not necessarily granted every year.
  • Who has received the award before?


    1989 – Martha B. Dicus

    1990 – Thomas L. Bruce

    1991 – Johnny Simpson

    1992 – Harold F. Daniels

    1993 – Andrea E. Loney

    1994 – Mozella Nicholson

    1995 – Thomas A. Trent

    1996 – Susan A. Cross

    1997 – Angela M. Myers

    1998 – Ethel E. Weinberg

    1999 – Nancy M. Butler

    2000 – Byron A. Reid

    2001 – Lynn P. Wagner

    2002 – Eddie McConnell

    2003 – Frank Cannon

    2004 – Willie B. Heyward

    2005 – Lynn Snowber-Marini

    2006 – Eddie McConnell

    2007 – Marcia Powell-Shew

    2009 – Maureen White

    SC Bar Foundation Gala Invitation from Shannon Scruggs

    Dear Bar Leader:

    Please join us for a great evening of fellowship and entertainment at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 11, 2010 when our Bar Foundation hosts its 4th Annual Gala. The event will be located at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

    The event will be a great opportunity to celebrate and to learn more about the SC Bar‘s charitable arm.  Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal will introduce the South Carolina Bar’s Nifty Fifty – the class of 1959. The South Carolina Bar will honor the Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year and the SC Access to Justice Commission will present the Ellen Hines Smith Legal Services Lawyer of the Year Award. Other special invitees include the Supreme Court of South Carolina and the SC Court of Appeals.

    Individual tickets are $75 each and include an open bar, dancing and a seated dinner (it isn’t your typical rubber chicken, either!). There also will be a silent auction with sports memorabilia (Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Derek Jeter, Mickey Mantle, USC’s John Roche), spa certificates, music/film/TV mementos, beach stays, hotel weekends and more!

    Gala 2010 is being held to help the Foundation in its efforts as the only statewide entity that funds the advancement of justice by improving access, education and accountability.

    Please make plans to attend. For additional information you may RSVP via (803) 765-0517 or foundation@scbar.org.

    Shannon Willis Scruggs, Executive Director

    SC Bar Foundation

    To view the invitation in pdf:   SCBarGalaInvite_2010

    Ed McMahon, Your Legacy Lives On

    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!

    -RFW