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Charleston Pro Bono provides free legal assistance for low-income clients.

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pro bono publico, for the public good

LEGAL SERVICES

Legal Services

Certain legal issues require an attorney’s specialized legal knowledge or appearance in-court. Charleston Pro Bono connects low income clients with private attorneys in the community who work pro bono to ensure that the doors of justice are open to all, regardless of income.

COMMUNITY

Community

Without free legal services, many families would face wrongful eviction, many parents would be denied visitation or custody of their children, and many disabled individuals could not access the benefits needed for food and shelter. Our services promotes stability for homes and families.

EDUCATION

Education

Charleston Pro Bono provides legal education and volunteer opportunities to students from the Charleston School of Law, educating law students about the needs of the low-income community while providing practical experience and training.

Pro Bono Moments / By Director Alissa Lietzow

I recently attended a summit for nonprofit organizations in South Carolina. As you can imagine, being surrounded by 500 service-minded professionals was energizing and empowering. And while I took away many tips and tricks for strengthening Charleston Pro Bono as an organization, one concept really stuck with me: collaboraction. Yes, I realize this is not an actual word, which is why I referred to it as a concept. But, it’s an important one, nonetheless. Often times nonprofits can get so wrapped up in their mission, their statistics, and their individual impact that the focus ends up on the tree and not the forest. The idea is that rather than just talking with our fellow nonprofit leaders about problems, we set in place a plan of action and actually get the work done.  Coming into the Executive Director role last year, I peripherally understood the importance of our outreach work. That has changed for 2017.  Charleston Pro Bono provides educational seminars on topics such as bankruptcy, expungements, and family law. We also host direct service clinics where volunteer attorneys provide advice and counsel, and also help prepare documents. In the first quarter of this year, we evaluated outreach programs already in place and worked on establishing new ones.  Here’s is a brief overview of our latest outreach initiatives and how you, as a Charleston County Bar Association member, can get involved. Of course, we will continue our work with Ansonborough House, Ryan White Wellness Center, East Cooper Community Outreach, and Habitat for Humanity. No matter your practice area, we can find the right fit for you to join in our efforts and make an impact. Talk is cheap. Are you ready for some colloboraction?

As a group, we decided that one of the legal issues we wanted to tackle was landlord-tenant defense. We agreed that in order to promote and encourage attorneys to accept a pro bono case, they would need training. To that end, with the help of a grant from Trident United Way and our Board Member Dexter O’Connell, we hosted a Landlord-Tenant CLE in February with 118 attorneys and judges. From that CLE, dozens of attorneys have offered help with our pro bono efforts.

The organization offers education and services uniquely tailored for fathers trying to rebuild their lives and their families. We are excited to work with them by offering both educational sessions on fathers’ rights and follow-up clinics to provide one-on-one advice. Attorney Justin McGee is scheduled to conduct our first outreach program with them later this month.

This organization provides support and advocacy to abused and neglected children and kinship caregivers. Earlier this year, attorney Dana Adkins provided an educational seminar covering custodial rights, guardianship, and mediation to HALOS participants and volunteers. We’re planning on conducting this effort several more times throughout the year.

This self-help program promotes dignity and self-reliance. Earlier this year, with the help of attorneys Dana Fields, Stephanie Nodine, and Nina Cano Richards, we provided an educational seminar covering recent changes to the immigration policies. We also have two clinics in the works for late April where volunteer attorneys will provide no-cost legal services by preparing Power of Attorney documents, Health Care Power of Attorney forms, and Wills.

This residential community teaches academic and vocational skills to assist in the rehabilitation of criminals. Attorney David Aylor recently taught an expungement clinic to some of their participants. We’re looking forward to continued outreach programs there to include family law.

8 Ackerman Fellowships Awarded

Charleston Pro Bono has awarded eight Ackerman Fellowships to rising 2L and 3L law students.  Fellows are selected based on their academic achievement, dedication to public service and contributions to all aspects of public interest law. The Program is an intense clinical practice experience including outreach in low-income communities; client intake including eligibility determination; and fact gathering to support our in-house and volunteer attorneys by assisting in preparation of pro-se pleadings, affidavits and other legal documents. There will also be courtroom observation opportunities along with an in-house seminar provided by City of Charleston attorneys and executives.  The first session started Monday, May 15th. 

Jack Talton is a rising 3L at The University of North Carolina School of Law. He is from Pinehurst, North Carolina and attended the College of Charleston for his undergraduate degree. In his spare time, Jack enjoys going to the beach, playing music, and attending shows. 

Madison Santana is a rising 2L at Vanderbilt University Law School. She is originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and has an interest in continuing public interest work after graduation. Madison enjoys reading and watching musicals, and is looking forward to exploring Charleston this summer.

Rebecca Floyd is a rising 2L at The University of North Carolina School of Law. She is from Hickory, North Carolina, and is interested in labor and employment law. Rebecca enjoys going to concerts and crafting Halloween costumes.

Grace Riley is a rising 3L at the Charleston School of Law. She is originally from Charleston, South Carolina and attended Winthrop University for her undergraduate degree. Grace has an interest in family law and estate planning upon graduating from law school. During her spare time, she enjoys civic engagement along with enjoying the different tastes of Charleston.

Your Support Matters

Charleston Pro Bono is supported by the Charleston legal community through donations and volunteer services, as well as through engagement in CPB sponsored events like Art on the Beach and our annual Valentine’s Day Auction.  We are currently in a fundraising campaign called “50 For 50” to raise $50,000 to celebrate 50 years of public service. Please help us continue to provide essential legal services and contribute today!

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Ms. Nelson

Mr. Demetri

Ms. Guerrero

Ms. Hamilton

For the Community
by the Community

Through the support and active engagement of local volunteer attorneys, Charleston Pro Bono provides legal services that support the fundamental needs of Charleston’s low-income communities, helping children, families, and individuals. We are truly an organization for the community, by the community.

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