In one of my e-alerts I saw where the Texas Access to Justice Foundation funded a YouTube video to help low-income self-represented litigants navigate the court system. I viewed the video and was duly impressed. While some of the information will vary for self-represented litigants in South Carolina, the video does provide good general information about what to expect in court.
Here’s the video:
Texas is a large state and they have big ideas there. It’s no wonder that a BIG IDEA IMPACT STUDY comes from there.
Yesterday, the Texas Access to Justice Commission, Texas Access to Justice Foundation and the Texas Supreme Court hosted a news conference to underscore a funding crisis in the Texas legal aid system. The group also announced an impact study by The Perryman Group entitled The Impact of Legal Aid Services on Economic Activity in Texas: An Analysis of Current Efforts and Expansion Potential.
o Currently, legal aid services lead to a sizable stimulus to the Texas economy. The Perryman Group estimated the gain in business activity to include an annual $457.6 million in spending, $219.7 million in output (gross product), and 3,171 jobs.
o For every direct dollar expended in the state for indigent civil legal services, the overall annual gains to the economy are found to be $7.42 in total spending, $3.56 in output (gross product), and $2.20 in personal income.
o Moreover, this activity generates approximately $30.5 million in yearly fiscal revenues to State and local governmental entities, which is well above their approximately $4.8 million in contributions.
There is a large unmet need for legal aid, and increased funding (and, thus, assistance) would lead to further gains in business activity in addition to the other social benefits of more equitable access.
The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission is especially interested in what comes out of Texas because of Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O’Neill’s role in helping South Carolina establish our own Commission. Not only that, but the Texas Access to Justice Community has been a trendsetter in the national access to justice community.
Certainly food for thought. We can all use all the help we can get!
Unfortunately what’s happening here in South Carolina is happening all around the nation.
From Seattle PI –
Economic woes threaten legal aid nationwide
In Ohio, revenue from IOLTA is expected to drop 50 percent this year to $11 million from $22 million in 2007. Projections for 2009 look even grimmer with incoming revenue dropping to $4 million.
In Washington state, revenue for grants is expected to drop from $9 million in 2008 to $6 million next year.
Texas originally projected $28 million for 2007, but interest rate cuts dropped the figure to $20 million.
To read the story, visit http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420ap_wa_meltdown_legal_aid.html
If you would like to help continue legal services to South Carolinians in need, please donate to the South Carolina Bar Foundation. For information, visit http://www.scbarfoundation.org.