It’s ON, Mr. Colbert!

Special By Pamela DeFanti RobinsonDirector, Pro Bono Program at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

This morning I received the following email from Ms. Robinson:

Greetings

I am making a concerted effort to help my very good friend Greg Baldwin, the President of VolunteerMatch take down Stephen Colbert in the Spoon to Spoon Challenge!

Yes, Ben and Jerry’s has created a very special and I might add extremely delicious ice cream, BERRY VOLUNTARY.


Enjoy Greg and the great folks at VolunteerMatch’s YouTube debut as they challenge Stephen and his Americone Dream™.

And don’t forget to vote.


Vote often and vote for the BERRY!


You may also spread the word and be part of ice cream history.  It is time to tell SC native Mr. Colbert that friends of the USC School of Law Pro Bono celebrate 20 years of volunteering by voting for BERRY VOLUNTARY.  We are making VOLUNTEERS the WORD!!!

Be creative, be viral, TWEET, go to your Facebook friends, spread the word, don’t just sit there eating ice cream.

Cut, copy, paste this message until your fingers are tired, just spread the word.  Let’s overwhelm Stephen Colbert’s Facebook page with SC comments.

Here is the all important link: http://colbert.vmchallenge.com/

P.S. I promised Greg that within a week I could get him 1,000 SC votes!! Prove me wrong and make that number higher to the 20th power!

Just FYI, in the interest of full disclosure I serve on the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration with Greg.


ONLY 12 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE

U.S. Department of Justice Overhauls its Site

Have you heard?

Listen Up

The U.S. Department of Justice overhauled its website and has added a blog. They’re also online on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube.

Justice.gov en español

The site is clean and easy to navigate. If you have a moment, take a look!

-RFW

SC ATJ New Year’s Wishes or Resolutions?

COUNTDOWN TO 2009

rfw-hny092

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!

-RFW

Hey Bloggers – It’s National Freedom of Speech Week

Welcome to National Freedom of Speech Week, October 20-26, 2008!

First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

While the First Amendment offers quite a few freedoms – religion, speech, press, right to assemble, etc. – it’s only proper to examine the right of free speech.

You, dear reader, are currently taking part in this amazing information database – the internet. There are billions of websites available and so much more information and disinformation available via this incredible resource. The freedom of speech allows you, me, and us to access things, legal things, unavailable to previous generations. Court documents, court orders, case histories, etc.

Education also allows us to take advantage of this freedom. Sure YouTube has a LOT of visitors looking at the pictures, but so do blogs. Just this week I saw the increase in the number of “hits” to this blog simply due to a celebrity boost (Hey Stephen Colbert – should I say “the Springfield bump?” You know, like the Colbert Bump?) You may think that this is due to the photos of Rick Springfield, but how did people find out about these photos – they read about it – through an RSS feed, an email, etc. BECAUSE OF THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN THESE UNITED STATES.

So, next time you are about to gripe about someone’s opinion piece, the news or even a blog (hopefully not this one), consider how lucky you are to have that choice! You can choose to read, listen or change websites.

And I can choose to write.

How lucky are we!

-RFW