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

My First Animoto!

SC Access to Justice Commission.

Click the link to see the first SC Access to Justice Commission’s Animoto video.

-RFW

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

This is how RCCASA does it!

In early 2008, I was fortunate to attend the South Carolina Bar Foundation‘s Grantee Gathering. One of the special features was Richland County CASA‘s Quarterback Training seen in this video.

Why is this video so important?

Because it highlights a specific recruiting effort by Richland County CASA (RCCASA) for male volunteers. About 9 minutes into the video we learn why this is so important – because 60% of the children served by CASA are male whereas a few years back most volunteers were female.

The children served by RCCASA are children who are involved in the Family Court system and are the subjects of abuse or neglect investigations. It is fairly frequent that the only stable person in these childrens’ lives is the CASA representative, the Guardian ad Litem (GAL).

RCCASA recognized that these children needed volunteers who would also be able to serve as a role model. They saw the need and modified their recruitment plan to fulfill the need.

If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about RCCASA, click here.

-RFW

Another Good Thing Happened in 2009

The office is quiet today, the last day of 2009. In fact, most people are off. But I thought it would be a good time to catch up on some of those pending to-dos. And this post is one of those on my to-do list.

A few weeks back, on December 17, 2009, the Supreme Court of South Carolina issued an order amending Rule 412.  Rule 412, SCACR, governs the IOLTA program. The amendments were requested by the SC Bar Foundation earlier this year. The Supreme Court then received written comments from interested entities, including from the SC Access to Justice Commission.

Why is this so exciting?

Well, because IOLTA affects access to justice in a large way. Remember our previous post re: IOLTA?

Specifically this part:

IOLTA is a way to support access to justice to people living in poverty without taxing the public or charging attorneys or their clients. IOLTA is pooled to provide civil legal aid to the poor and support improvements to the justice system.

Well, the big news is that the amendments include interest rate comparability. This becomes effective June 15, 2010.

What is interest rate comparability?

GENERALLY: Interest Rate Comparability for IOLTA accounts indicates that the financial institution that pays those accounts the highest interest rate generally available at that institution to other customers when IOLTA accounts meet the same minimum balance or other account qualifications, if any.

The hope is that these higher interest rates will allow the SC Bar Foundation to distribute more money to their grantees, entities working to bring about equal justice in the civil legal system.

And that makes one more good thing that happened in 2009!

Happy New Year!

-RFW

Last Week to Nominate for Ellen Hines Smith Award

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!

-RFW

earlier post

South Carolina, Subject of Washington Post Article

Columbia, South Carolina (my hometown) is featured today in More Need, Less Help by Amy Goldstein at the Washington Post.

The subject is that as South Carolina’s ranking rises in unemployment and the financial crisis spirals out of control, the need for assistance rises.

  • South Carolinians are out-of-work.

  • South Carolinians are hungry. 

  • South Carolinians cannot pay rent or mortgages. 

  • South Carolinians are going without medication.

  • South Carolinians are worried about their children and their futures.

Food pantries like Harvest Hope are working as hard as they can to fill orders. But their supplies are running short.

Other charities, like the United Way of South Carolina, United Way of the Midlands, the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Family Service Center, and the Salvation Army, are working round the clock to assist, but their donations are dwindling as well.

Excerpts:

Timothy Ervolina, president of the United Way Association of South Carolina, worries that the web of philanthropic and nonprofit groups may not be able to fulfill the governor’s [Sanford] expectations. Ervolina has watched fundraising fade at United Ways across the state, even as calls pour in to their crisis hotlines.

. . .

South Carolina Legal Services, a statewide network that gives free legal help, in July received the biggest grant handed out by the South Carolina Bar Foundation but in January was asked to return 15 percent of it.

The time to act is now. If you can afford to make a donation, please do so.

Your donation may offer someone else hope. Hope to carry on. Hope for their children. Hope to live.

Thanks Washington Post for sharing the story of Columbia, SC!

-RFW