The Military & Veterans’ Law Section Council met this date at the Bar building. Participating members included Barry Bernstein, Richard Donaldson, Dorothy H. Edgerton, William D. Kelly, III, B. Ashley McNorrill and Lawrence G. Wedekind. Representing Bar staff were Cindy Coker and Tara G. Smith.
Chairperson Bernstein called the meeting to order and introduced Cindy Coker, the Bar’s Public Services Director. Ms. Coker stated that the Division was revamping the Legal Assistance for Military Personnel “LAMP” program, which provided free/reduced fee legal services to active military personnel. She stated that the Division had received over 50 cases but had few volunteers. She noted that the majority of the cases pertained to family law and landlord, tenants and leasing issues. Ms. Coker asked the Council for assistance with recruiting additional volunteers. Col. Bernstein informed Ms. Coker that the Section conducted a seminar every other year regarding these issues. Ms. Smith recommended soliciting volunteers through the various Committee and Section listserves and asked Ms. Coker to forward her additional information on the program. Col. Bernstein suggested that the Bar President contact local county Bar Presidents to assist with recruitment.
The first item of business was approval of the minutes from the July 11, 2011, meeting. Ms. Edgerton moved approval of the minutes. Mr. Donaldson seconded the motion, and it was approved.
The next item of business was discussion on the FY2012-2013 Council nominations. Ms. Smith stated that the Secretary position and four general Council member seats were vacant. Col. Bernstein briefly reviewed the candidates. He moved that William D. Kelly, III, serve as Secretary. Ms. Edgerton seconded the motion, and it was approved. After discussion, the following slate was approved.
Chair: Richard I. Donaldson
Chair-Elect: B. Ashley McNorrill
Secretary: William D. Kelly III
Immediate Past Chair/Section Delegate: Barry J. Bernstein
Thomas A. McDermott, exp. 2013
Lawrence G. Wedekind, exp. 2013
Hugh H. DuBose III, exp. 2014
Matthew R. Gates, exp. 2014 (Pending)
Timothy W. Murphy, exp. 2015
O. Eugene Powell Jr., exp. 2015
Ex. Officio Representatives
National Guard, Hon. James E. Lockemy
Active Duty, Dorothy H. Edgerton
Ms. McNorrill was to contact Matt Gates regarding his interest in serving as a general Council member. If Mr. Gates was not able to serve in this capacity, Mr. Donaldson was asked to contact Scott Merrifield.
Next was discussion on proposed amendments to the Section bylaws. The proposed revisions were emailed to the Council for review prior to the meeting. Col. Bernstein moved approval of the proposed changes to the Section bylaws. Mr. Wedekind seconded the motion, and it was approved. Ms. Smith was to submit the proposed amendments to the House of Delegates for consideration at its January meeting.
Next, Mr. Donaldson reviewed the FY2011-2012 Section goals. After discussion, it was the consensus of the Council to adopt the following goals for the 2012-2013 Bar year.
1. Continue to strive to increase membership and participation by offering one free year of membership to all new Section members.
2. Promote participation within the Section at Bridge the Gap by distributing informational materials and making a presentation on the benefits of becoming a member of the Section.
3. Conduct a seminar in September of 2013 on S.C. Law for Military Attorneys.
4. Increase support and awareness of the Bar’s Legal Assistance for Military Personnel “LAMP” program.
5. Continue to provide financial support to JAG onsite conferences.
6. Publish a resource guide that would contain referrals for JAG officers.
7. Continue to coordinate socials with the USC School of Law.
8. Recognize new Section members with a customized military unit coin.
9. Assist with the S.C. Veterans Court program.
10. Assist with the Veterans’ Stand Down for the Homeless program.
11. Explore online CLEs and distance learning programs.
Next was discussion on the Stand Down for the Homeless project. Ms. McNorrill provided a brief overview of the 2012 program. She stated that volunteers assisted over 150 veterans. Several issues were addressed including child support, VA claims, disability, and expungement. After discussion, it was the consensus of the Council to continue supporting the project. Col. Bernstein suggested approaching the Bar Foundation regarding its interest in funding the project. Ms. Smith was to further research and report her findings at the next Council meeting.
Next was discussion on Section membership. Ms. Smith stated that there were approximately 100 members. She reminded the Council that the Section had purchased customized military coins to distribute to new members of the Section. Col. Bernstein welcomed feedback from the Council on how to increase membership and participation within the Section. It was suggested that the Section produce informational materials to be displayed at the Bar Convention and Bridge the Gap, in addition to making a brief presentation. It was also suggested to offer new Section members one year free membership. Ms. Smith was to relay the Council’s interest to the Bar and CLE Division.
Next was discussion on Distance Learning videos. Ms. Smith asked if the Council was interested in producing online CLEs and/or Distance Learning programs. She provided a brief overview of the process and welcomed input from the Council. It was noted that the Council was interested in the programs. It was suggested to contact Judge David G. Guyton and Judge James E. Lockemy regarding their interest in speaking. Ms. Smith was to relay the Council’s interest to the CLE Director, Terry Burnett.
It was reported that the next Council will be held in August. Additional information was forthcoming.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.