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Charleston Pro Bono Delegation
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.
Father to Father
Father to Father is a nonprofit organization located in North Charleston, and a Fatherhood Program under South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families which deliver services that work from the inside out, helping fathers prepare to meet the material, emotional and spiritual needs of their children. CPBLS hosts educational programs, specifically geared toward family law related topics throughout the year for their participants. We also conduct quarterly advice and counsel sessions for fathers to meet with a licensed attorney to discuss their specific case.
HALOS is an nonprofit located in North Charleston that is dedicated to provided services to kinship caregivers in our community. We partner in two ways: HALOS refers kinship caregivers to CPBLS for legal representation, and CPBLS sends attorneys to speak to kinship caregivers about legal matters at HALOS’ educational workshops
Johns Island is self-help program that promotes change, dignity, and self-reliance in people who are in need. CPBLS provides educational seminars on a variety of topics such as immigration, consumer law, and probate. We also periodically host Wills Clinics with their participants.
Our Lady of Mercy
Our Lady of Mercy is a nonprofit located both on Johns Island and downtown Charleston. Their mission is to encourage and support self-sufficiency and self-worth for people in need in our community through education, wellness, and outreach services. CPBLS has partnered with OLM over the years to assist with needed legal services to their participants.
East Cooper Community Outreach
East Cooper Community Outreach is a nonprofit located in Mt. Pleasant. We have partnered over the years by hosting educational seminars in a variety of topics including housing law, expungements, and probate. We also periodically host Wills Clinics with their participants.
Ryan White Wellness Center
Ryan White Wellness Center is a comprehensive HIV clinic. Volunteer attorneys through CPBLS provide quarterly sessions with their patients, often creating estate planning documents and providing much-needed advice and counsel.
Charleston Area Senior Center
Charleston Area Senior Center is a non-profit agency serving Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties. CASC helps seniors through a variety of services and we partner with them to provide legal assistance to their participants. We host educational seminars and conduct Wills Clinics.
Pro Bono Stories
Ms. G is a single working mother with young children. She sought help from our office when her landlord demanded she cover the expenses of a habitability repair and attempted to have her evicted when she disputed the cost. As a recipient of housing choice voucher benefits, an eviction would jeopardize her subsidy and potentially render her family homeless. With direct representation service from our office, Ms. G was successful in litigating her claim against the landlord, receiving a judgment of money damages related to the pest issue and dismissal of landlord’s action for eviction.
Ms. O came to us for a simple will. Upon meeting with Ms. O, we learned that she had advanced stage cancer and very limited time left. Ms. O’s main concern was for her children. We helped her preserve her estate for the children and to ensure that guardianship of the minor daughter was placed with her adult brother, instead of reverting to her estranged father. Ms. O passed away shortly after we prepared her will; we then helped her son with the custody case to grant him legal custody of his sister.
Mr. B, an elderly gentleman with a nominal fixed income, needed our assistance in getting his name changed. Although he went by his adoptive name his entire life, his official birth certificate was never changed. We helped collect all necessary legal forms from government entities and prepared his court pleadings. He was elated following his court hearing knowing that his life-long dream of officially changing his name to honor his adoptive family was complete.
Mr. K contacted Charleston Pro Bono concerned about losing his family’s long-term residence to foreclosure. Thanks to the exceptional work and tireless advocacy, Mr. K was able to avoid foreclosure, make necessary home repairs, sell his property, and walk away with enough resources for his family to have a very happy holiday season.
Mr. R came to us worried about his children who lived with their mother. The children’s mother had neglected them, exposed them to horrible living conditions, and had denied Mr. R the opportunity to see them. With the help of a pro bono attorney, Mr. R was awarded custody of his children, enabling them to live in a safe and healthy environment.
Ms. C came to CPBLS when she had received threats of eviction from her property manager regarding her continued residence in a project-based housing unit. Ms. C had been the victim of domestic violence and the property management attempted to use the incidence of domestic violence as cause for her eviction along with no-cause grounds of continued tenancy being the initial lease term. On re-hearing, the Ms. C prevailed on all issues.