Welcome Allie Bullard!

The South Carolina Access to Justice Commission is pleased to present our latest pro bono addition, Allie Bullard! Allie is assisting the Commission this summer as a pro bono law clerk. She is a rising 2L at the USC School of Law and we are thrilled to have her on board.

And, she’s agreed to be a blogger from time to time.

Welcome Allie!

Allie Bullard - 1st day


Upcoming SC Events

Here are some noteworthy events coming up in May 2009. Feel free to add them to your calendar.


Columbia, SC:

Friday, May 1 – P&A’s Annual Gala: Celebrating Abilities: An Evening of Jazz and Art

To benefit Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. (P&A)

6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the 17th floor of the Meridian Building.

Admission: $50 per person, sponsorships available


Friday, May 8 – University of South Carolina School of Law GRADUATION


Saturday, May 9 – South Carolina Bar Young Lawyer Division’s 3rd Annual Justice Jam

To benefit Sistercare

7:00 p.m. at Sudworks in Five Points

Admission: $5 per person


Tuesday, May 12 – Women After Five 16th Annual Reception and Silent Auction
To benefit Sistercare
5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Columbia Conference Center
Admission: $40 per person donation requested


Beaufort, SC:

Friday, May 22 – CODA 2009 Carolina Spring Fling

To benefit CODA and Lowcountry survivors of domestic violence

6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Hargray Building and Harvey Plaza

Admission: $50 per person or $40 per person for groups of 10 or more


Charleston, SC:

Saturday, May 16 – Charleston School of Law GRADUATION



Social Justice

Yesterday I had the distinct honor and pleasure to present South Carolina Access to Justice to Professor Susan Kuo’s Social Justice class at USC School of Law. I was pleased to share video from the Commission’s public hearings as well as field questions from the students.

If you’re interested in viewing my presentation, click here.


SRL Videos

Today I was fortunate to take part in instructional videos for judges when working with SRLs in the courtroom. The scripts were based on several different scenarios including Family Court and Circuit Court cases based on information the SC Access to Justice Commission has learned in previous conferences held by the SRL Network. Many thanks to Richard Zorza who served as not only the inspiration for these videos but also our technical advisor. The South Carolina Bar provided the videographers who ensured that the lighting and takes were correct. And many thanks to USC School of Law 3L Amelia Waring and Stephanie Nye, Counsel to the Chief Justice, who not only wrote the scripts but also directed the shoot. Many thanks also to the old Lexington County courthouse for allowing us to film there today.

I’m looking forward to the final products and am grateful to have supportive Judges, attorneys and individuals willing to make this a quality product.



Last week I participated in the USC School of Law Career Week. I was a panelist for the non-traditional legal careers lunch session on Wednesday, January 28th, then on Thursday evening I attended the reception and met with students.

Now, it was during the lunch hour and free pizza was offered, but I was delighted to see the number of students who actually STAYED throughout the session and listened to not only me, but Ken Driggers, Cheryl McMurray and JoBeth Stephens Hite.

And I have to say, all of the other panelists were great. They offered fantastic insight into what they’re doing and it was obvious that they enjoyed what they’re doing. If you know me at all, whether you’ve heard me speak, read the blog, watched The Big Picture or otherwise, you KNOW how much I LOVE MY JOB! This position was created for me – or at least that’s how I feel. Well, speaking with others, whether attorneys or other careers, I realized how rare this is.






So you can imagine how shocked, surprised, stunned and staggered I was when I heard the other panelists. Each of us had an interesting story about how we got where we are and how happy we are. Our messages were more philosophical than structured, but our messages were generally ENJOY YOUR JOB, DON’T BOX YOURSELF INTO THE EXPECTED, AND YOU ARE LIMITED SOLELY BY YOUR INABILITY TO TRY.

Afterwards some of the students gathered around for additional information and all had really neat ideas to share. One student, a 1L, asked me whether the Commission was interested in the issue that people living in poverty are much more likely to live on “polluted” or “poisonous” sites. I had another 1L ask me about volunteer opportunities. I referred her to the law school’s Pro Bono office and told her that Pam Robinson would be able to work with her.

Thursday evening was just as good. Students (1-3Ls) were interested and inquiring. The experience comforted and inspired me. If these students indicate the caliber of new attorneys, then we are going to see some fine attorneys.


Allow me to introduce myself.

Hi All!

As per Robin’s introduction, my name is Alex Hegji, and I am a current 2L at USC School of Law. This past summer, I had the privilege of clerking for SCATJ, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!

I have always had an interest in public interest work, and SCATJ was an invaluable learning experience for me. I had never realized just how many barriers  South Carolinians of low-income or of modest means face when trying to obtain justice for themselves.  The barriers reach far beyond the inability to finance legal representation.  They include the ethical dilemmas faced by clerks of court when they assist self-represented litigants, the difficulties in acquiring sign-language interpreters in the courtroom for the Deaf, and everything in between. 

Some of my favorite projects that I worked on this past summer included helping to author court-approved forms for self-represented litigants and attending public hearings, which provided first-hand insight into the problems manySouth Carolinians must address when entering the S.C. justice system.

I hope this blog will be helpful and provide all of you with a law student’s perspective on SCATJ’s work.


Stay tuned for Guest Blogger Law Student Alex Hegji

Alex Hegji
Alex Hegji

 Some of you may remember Alexandra D. “Alex” Hegji, my summer law clerk. Well, she’s back on Fridays. She has volunteered to assist the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission this spring.

And she will write a few guest blog posts!

Alex is a 2L at USC School of Law and she has some blog-ideas in mind.

Welcome back Alex and thanks for volunteering!


SC ATJ New Year’s Wishes or Resolutions?



As the New Year’s wishes and resolutions are starting to pour in, I’ve had a few moments to ponder Access to Justice resolutions for 2009. Before I lose count of the many goals for 2009, I thought I’d share a few.

12. South Carolina Access to Justice will develop a working relationship with legal paraprofessionals throughout the state.

11. Technology advances such as instant messaging, podcasts, YouTube videos, and email allow greater communication to and for people in need of low-cost legal services, especially when transportation imposes a barrier.

10. The Commission and partner organizations reach solutions to the need for interpreters for individuals who are Deaf and with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

9.  South Carolina law students, both USC School of Law and Charleston School of Law students, become engaged in access to justice and collaborate with the Commission for creative solutions.

8. South Carolina attorneys recognize the opportunity that unbundled or limited scope legal services can provide to South Carolinians with low income or of modest means, especially during this financial climate while sustaining the attorney’s practice at the same time.

7. SC Access to Justice establishes a library workgroup to assist self-represented litigants (SRLs) with access to approved, free legal forms (http://www.sccourts.org/forms/indexSelfHelp.cfm) and to establish a long-lasting partnership with libraries.

6. All South Carolinians who are unable to afford an attorney can reach one access point for all South Carolina legal service organizations.

5. Every County Courthouse will house or have access to a nearby self-help center for self-represented litigants.

4. Every county self-help center will be staffed for a minimum of 5 hours per week by pro bono attorneys.

3. Every South Carolina licensed attorney completes at least 50 hours of pro bono service as per ABA Model Rule 6.1 VOLUNTARY PRO BONO SERVICE.

2. The Second Pilot Lawyer Mentor Program incorporates the aspirational Pro Bono expectation and that it becomes a “shall” instead of a “should.”

1. That ALL South Carolinians have equal access to the law and its remedies without regard to their economic status.

Happy New Year!


South Carolina Law Review Symposium about Subprime Mortgage Crisis

1.9 Kids and a Foreclosure: Subprime Mortgages, the Credit Crisis, and Restoring the American Dream will be held at the USC School of Law on October 24, 2008.

The symposium is free and open to the public. Attorneys may qualify for CLE credit for $75.00 in advance.

For information, see http://www.sclawreview.org/symposium/index.php.