At CompuScripts Court Reporters, we enjoy the spirit of Christmas giving, but many of our clients in the legal community find time between depositions and hearings to give to others all year long. This week, CompuScripts would like to introduce you to the attorney and paralegal associations who treat every day like Christmas day through their community service.
In the Midlands, the Richland County Bar Association serves the community through Project HELP, or Homeless Experience Legal Protection. Columbia attorney Ashley C. Story is active in the the project, which offers legal consultation to homeless individuals in downtown Columbia. “Over the last couple of years, the clinic has grown tremendously,” Ms. Storey said. “Attorney, paralegal, and law student volunteers from the USC School of Law donate time at least twice a month to assist folks with all sorts of legal issues including expungements for criminal convictions, employment matters, housing problems, and family law questions. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact me at email@example.com. We could always use your help!”
In the Midlands, the Palmetto Paralegal Association has participated in a number of community service projects, but one of the most personal was the 50 Shades of Pink campaign for breast cancer awareness. Paralegal Tamekia Hunter was the coordinator for the 2013 event, which featured a PPA member with breast cancer and her oncologist. “I can honestly say that the 50 Shades of Pink event was very beneficial for me personally,” Ms. Hunter said. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer April 30th, and that event gave me the knowledge and information to cope with my own personal experience. The paralegal that we honored for that event has been a great support system for me since my diagnosis. The oncologist who spoke at that event is my oncologist today. The greatest lesson I have learned from investing my time into our community is that we reap what we sow. The seeds I sowed into this project returned to me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A lot of times we don’t realize that the acts of kindness we spread through our community are as much for our benefit as for the community. I would have never imagined that an event I coordinated to help someone else would be paid forward to help me through my own personal journey of breast cancer.” To join PPA, visit their membership application page.
In the Upstate, the Greenville County Bar Association encourages its members to participate in its annual Wills Clinics, held during Law Week. “Nationwide, Law Week is an opportunity for lawyers to promote the legal profession and to provide the public with information about their legal rights. It is also an opportunity for attorneys to give back to the communities they serve,” said attorney Dana Lahey, Wills Clinic coordinator. “In 2015, our members honored Law Week by providing wills to firefighters, emergency medical workers, and other first responders. In 2016, we will provide wills to Greenville area senior citizens. The GCBA hopes to continue providing simple wills at no cost annually during Law Week, alternating between these two groups.” To learn more about the Wills Clinics, you may contact Ms. Lahey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Upstate, the South Carolina Upstate Paralegal Association supports many charities throughout the year, but one of their most successful endeavors was as cohost of the annual Professional Soldier Soiree at Greenville’s Poinsett Hotel. The formal banquet and silent auction benefitted the Green Beret Foundation, a nonprofit organization which supports the United State’s Army’s Special Forces, known as Green Berets, by caring for the wounded, reconnecting returning soldiers with their families, aiding a soldier’s transition into civilian life, and providing scholarships for Green Beret dependants. “We participated in this fundraiser to honor a member’s husband who was injured in combat,” said Tiffany Davenport, SCUPA president. “We were able to raise over $8,000 for the Green Beret Foundation.” To join SCUPA, please visit their membership page.
In the Lowcountry, the lawyers of the Charleston County Bar Association support The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, which serves Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, and Georgetown Counties. Heirs’ property is land owned in common, and ownership is risky because the land can be easily lost. Any heir can sell his or her percentage of ownership to another who can force a sale of the entire property in the courts. The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation provides legal services and education to heirs’ property owners to help them keep their family land. “Attorneys in the Lowcountry of South Carolina are keenly aware of the fragility of heirs’ property ownership,” said James D. Myrick, president of the Charleston County Bar Association, “and our members understand the benefits of rural property preservation. The problems faced by the CHPP are complex — finding heirs, establishing titles, dealing with intestacy — so the Bar supports their work through financial donations. The money we raise supports the salaries of CHPP staff attorneys and other professionals. It also funds education programs that teach landowners how to use their land to generate income. One such program partners landowners with the U.S. Forest Service to promote sustainable forestry practices.” If you are interested in joining the Charleston County Bar Association, please visit their membership page.
In the Lowcountry, the Charleston Association of Legal Assistants participates in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Since 1995, Toys for Tots has collected new, unwrapped toys to help less fortunate children in the Charleston area experience the joys of Christmas. “CALA was proud to collect toys for our annual Toys for Tots drive again this year,” said Barbara Carter, CALA president. “This was our fourth year toys for the Tri-County area. We have participated in this drive for several years and tremendously enjoy helping our community. This year, we collected 131 toys at our annual holiday party that will go to children in Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley counties on Christmas Day. CALA welcomes paralegals and legal assistants in the Charleston area to join our club or come to a lunch meeting. You can stay up to date on our events by visiting our website at www.calasc.org.”
CompuScripts Court Reporting and Columbia Videoconference Center applaud the efforts of all of South Carolina’s lawyer and paralegal associations as they work both in and out of the courtroom to improve our communities. We look forward to updating our blog with information about their charitable endeavors in 2016!