Congratulations to Texas Access to Justice Foundation!

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:

Congratulations Texas!

-RFW

A look at June

For some reason, I wanted to celebrate June on the blog. Maybe it’s because June introduces summer. And summer holds precious memories for many – school is dismissed, it’s a popular wedding month, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere.

Let’s take a look at history in June:

  1. June 1st Kentucky became the 15th state in 1792, Tennessee became the 16th state in 1796
  2. June 2 – 1924 President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act granting citizenship to Native Americans born in U.S. territories
  3. June 4th – 1919 Congress approves the 19th Amendment (Women’s Rights)
  4. June 6th – D-Day (1944)
  5. June 14th – Flag Day (USA)
  6. June 15th – Arkansas became the 25th state in 1836
  7. June 19th – Juneteenth aka Emancipation Day especially in Texas
  8. June 20th – 1863 West Virginia became the 35th state
  9. June 22-23 – Summer Solstice
  10. 3rd Friday – Midsummer (Finland & Sweden)
  11. 3rd Sunday – Father’s Day (USA)
  12. Gay Pride in honor of Stonewall Riots 1969
  13. Children’s Day in many countries
  14. June 30th – 1921 Former U.S. President (#27) William Howard Taft is Appointed as the 10th Chief Justice of the  United States

Enjoy!

-RFW

Summer Solstice: Famously Hot
Summer Solstice: Famously Hot

Friday Wrap 5.29.09

All the week’s “atj” newsworthy items wrapped up

Friday Wrap Friday Wrap

Texas – Texas Access to Justice Commission and Foundation Recognize Major Contributors to Texas Legal Aid

Chicago, Illinois – ABA Invites Obama to it Annual Meeting

Washington, D.C. – 2nd ABA National Conference on Employment of Lawyers with Disabilities (Hurry for the EARLY BIRD special because after June 1st the registration increases)

United States Supreme Court – President Obama nominates Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the U.S. Supreme Court (For more news links, click here. For blog coverage, click here.)

Brooklyn, New York – A Call for Pro Bono at Boro Hall

Lexington, Kentucky – Interview with a True Change Agent

Nashville, Tennessee – New Legal Advice Clinic to Help with Debt Issues

Richmond, Virginia – LINC Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

Public Justice Center – Donor Inspires Us with $10,000 Gift 

Ventura County, California – New County Program Helping Low-Income Families Adopt

 Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Practical Paralegalism: Paying it Forward

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Credit Card Reforms Could Help Statements

Fairfield, Connecticut – Hard Times Force People Into Family Court “Solo”

Honolulu, Hawaii – Starn O’Toole Marcus & Fisher Supports Access to Justice Commission

Australia – Pro Bono Work Good for Law Students

New York, New York – Pro Bono Recruitment Drive

San Diego, California – Law Made Public: Legal Research Class for the Self-Represented Litigant

-RFW

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

SRLs Rise as Economy Declines

No Surprise!

SRLs Rise as Economy Declines

This probably isn’t a surprise to many. But it is interesting that there are more articles about the phenomena.

For example, the New York Times recently featured a story about the rising number of Self-Represented Litigants (SRLs) entitled In a Downtown, More Act as Their Own Lawyers.”  The article noted the phenomena in multiple jurisdictions including  California, Illinois, New Hampshire, New York, and Texas. The NYTimes also notes that the phenomena is not limited to a specific court.

On Saturday, April 18, 2009, the Star-Telegram out of Texas, featured a story about the rise in SRLs specifically in Family Court in its article “For better or worse, fewer using divorce lawyers.”  ABC Channel 2 out of Wisconsin featured its own story, “Economy Affecting Divorces in Court.”

But the phenomena isn’t limited to state courts. Law.com featured its own article entitled “Federal Courts React to Tide of Pro Se Litigants.

Missing from the list of articles is SRLs in Bankruptcy Court. While there are no numbers, percentages, or stories, not to worry, the U.S. Courts website has a site dedicated to “Filing without an Attorney.” In South Carolina, click here. Both sites offer a video explanation as well.

It may not be a surprise but while there may be many people who want to proceed on their own, they are still advised to speak with an attorney, if possible. 

-RFW

SC Ranks Between NY and CA

South Carolina Ranks 39th in Child Homelessness

According to the National Center on Family Homelessness State Report Card on Homelessness, South Carolina ranks 39th overall in Child Homelessness. The Center measured factors such as the extent of child homelessness (SC ranks 25), child well-being (SC ranks 35), risk for child homelessness (SC ranks 38) as well as state policy and planning.

In the national study, Connecticut ranked number 1 and Texas ranked last.

South Carolina ranked in the bottom half of the states overall, in between New York ranked at 38 and California ranked at 40.

In the 220 page report, the definition of homeless children is from birth to age 18 who are accompanied by one or more parents or caregivers. Runaways or throwaways are not included in the count.

~ Each year more than 1.5 million of our nation’s children become homeless ~

From the Report itself:

Extent of Child Homelessness: Counting homeless children is important because it helps us understand the scope of the problem, which drives planning and policy efforts. The percentage of homeless children identified in each state was used as one of the four domains in the Report Card. This was based on school data collected through a mandate of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.17

Child Well-Being: For the purposes of the Report Card, child well-being was determined by three factors: food security, health outcomes, and educational proficiency. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Survey of Children’s Health, McKinney-Vento Academic Progress Reports, National School Lunch Program, and the National Assessment of Education Progress were used to create state scores on child well-being.

Risk for Child Homelessness: By creating an index of risk for each state based on generosity of benefits, household structure, housing market factors and extreme poverty, structural factors contributing to homelessness were included in the composite score. The index of  risk reflects the growing gap between rich and poor Americans and the decreasing number of households that can afford the increasing cost of housing. As their purchasing power has also decreased, millions of Americans must choose between housing and other basic necessities. With the current economic downturn and the staggering increase in housing foreclosures, more and more families are likely to become homeless.

Policy and Planning Efforts: This domain includes a state-by-state review of housing, income, education, and health policies and planning activities related to child homelessness. A total score was computed based on various efforts in these critical areas.

It’s an easy website to maneuver and well-worth your time to explore and use the interactive map and at least review the short reports on your own states. For the short South Carolina report, click here. For the long South Carolina report, click here. For the full report’s Executive Summary, click here. For the full report, click here.

-RFW

South Carolina sighs “Sometimes it’s good to be outside the top 10” – Foreclosure News

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.

-RFW

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=.