University of Alabama
JD Candidate, Class of 2010
SC Access to Justice Commission
I volunteer with the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission (SCATJ) because it offers me the opportunity to learn about a variety of issues facing the South Carolina court system outside of the traditional practice of law while also helping to give a voice to the under-represented of South Carolina.
For me, SCATJ has been an invaluable learning experience about public interest work. I had never realized just how many barriers South Carolinians (and likely residents of all the states) of low-income or of modest means face when trying to obtain justice for themselves. The barriers reach far beyond the inability to finance legal representation. They include the ethical dilemmas faced by clerks of court when they assist self-represented litigants, the difficulties in acquiring sign-language interpreters in the courtroom for the Deaf, and everything in between.
I have worked on a broad range of projects, some of my favorites being: helping to develop court-approved divorce forms for self-represented litigants and participating in a clerks of court workgroup to help maximize the assistance clerks of court can give self-represented litigants without practicing law.
Volunteering for the Access to Justice Commission has strengthened my law school experience by allowing me to use the analytical skills gained through my general coursework and reminding me what being a lawyer is all about: advocating for the public good.