Posted in: Lawyers › Pro Bono Program, Pro Bono
As we kick off Celebrate Palmetto Pro Bono Month in South Carolina, get to know some of the SC Bar’s partners who deliver critical legal services to those South Carolinians most in need.
From Low Country Legal Volunteers to Disability Rights South Carolina, learn more about these organizations below and how you can get involved. If a busy schedule makes it hard to volunteer, consider making a monetary donation to help these groups advance justice in the Palmetto State.
Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services:
The organization serves economically disadvantaged citizens in the Lowcountry by providing free civil legal assistance resources. Regardless of firm size or area of practice, the group can find a way to engage and determine the best method you can support its mission. Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services is always looking for more attorneys to accept pro bono cases from its office and seeks assistance with educational seminars and clinics.
"I firmly believe that it is a lawyer's duty to give back to her community, and Charleston Pro Bono gives my firm an opportunity to do so," says volunteer Marie-Louise Ramsdale, managing partner of Ramsdale Family Law Firm in Mount Pleasant. If you're interested in lending a hand, contact Executive Director Alissa Lietzow at email@example.com to get started.
Root and Rebound:
The organization works to restore resources to families and communities affected by mass incarceration. "Our pro bono work empowers and impacts those lives that need help the most," says Vanessa A. Richardson, managing partner of VAR Law Firm, LLC in Pawleys Island, who volunteer for Root and Rebound. "My partnership with Root & Rebound and the SC Bar Pro Bono Program has reaffirmed that giving back is not about benefiting us, but rather for the benefit of our communities."
Root & Rebound looks to compassionate volunteer attorneys like Vanessa to represent clients in legal matters directly related to their system involvement. This includes but is not limited to legal areas such as public benefits, housing, employment, court-ordered debt, divorce, child custody/visitation, parole and probation, and expungements. If you would like to further Root and Rebound's mission, contact Alesia Rico Flores, South Carolina Director of Policy and Systems Change, at firstname.lastname@example.org or Root & Rebound's South Carolina team at email@example.com.
Lowcountry Legal Volunteers:
The organization works to ensure families in the Lowcountry have access to legal services regardless of their ability to pay so that the doors of justice are open to all for almost two decades. The group offers numerous ways for attorneys and firms to get involved through volunteer administrative, legal and client support work.
"Our organization is honored to serve individuals at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines," says Anne Caywood, executive director of Lowcountry Legal Volunteers. "Being a part of taking our clients from their lowest point to a place where they can support their families and stand on their own two feet -- is really what it is all about for us." If you're interested in lending a hand, contact Lowcountry Legal Volunteers at (843) 815-1570.
SC Victims' Assistance Network ( SC Van) :
The organization Serves hundreds of victims annually through free consultations, referrals, and direct representation in civil and criminal courts across South Carolina. "When we're able to support a victim and obtain a permanent restraining order or represent them during the criminal process and help them stand up for themselves, the change we see in the client is truly remarkable," says Sarah A. Ford, legal director for SCVAN. "It's an honor to do this work."
SCVAN has fantastic volunteer opportunities for SC Bar members to get involved, including cases that cover various legal areas and experience levels. Volunteers are needed for co-counseling opportunities, case strategizing, referrals and to assist in the new appellate clinic. Volunteering comes with perks, including free membership to the National Alliance of Victims' Rights Attorneys & Advocates and access to SCVAN's attorney portal with forms, best practices guides, webinars, and information on victims' rights law and other legal issues that affect victims of crime. If you're interested in volunteering, fill out this online form.
South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS):
The organization provides legal assistance to low-income citizens primarily through its Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) program. The organization, which serves citizens generally at 125% of the federal poverty level, handles a variety of legal cases with assistance from attorneys in their PAI Program. Through this compensated program, SCLS staff work with the PAI attorneys to refer cases and to provide support with the substantive law matter as needed.
"My involvement in the SCLS PAI Program allows me to give back to my profession and community by using my background and skills to help low-income citizens have the same access to the courts that my private clients have," says SCLS PAI attorney Maggi Bailey. Getting involved with the SCLS is easy. Regardless of legal background, the organization offers assistance for private attorneys who may need help handling a case via the PAI Program. In addition, SCLS is always looking for more attorneys to accept cases from its office and seeks assistance with educational seminars and clinics. Visit the SCLS website today to get started.
Disability Rights South Carolina:
The organization works to protect and advance the legal, civil, and human rights of people with disabilities in South Carolina. The group envisions a society where all people, regardless of type or severity of disability live free from abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
"Providing pro bono service to people with disabilities and my participation on the DRSC Board allows me to use my background in K-12 education and the law to serve others," says Erik Norton, who practices at Harrell, Martin & Peace, P.A. in Chapin and serves as secretary of the Board of Directors of Disability Rights South Carolina. DRSC has numerous ways for individuals to get involved, including volunteering as a pro bono lawyer or becoming a board member. Volunteering with DRSC can help protect the safety of disabled people living in residential facilities. If you would like to further DRSC's mission, contact Randall Dong, legal director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Beth Franco, executive director at email@example.com.