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Pro Bono Week: Debtor’s Assistance Program

Friday, October 26, 2018

As part of Pro Bono Week, the Court is highlighting the different bankruptcy-related public service programs.


The Debtor’s Assistance Program applies only in Judge Waites cases and seeks to encourage representation by referring and matching pro se filers in the early stages of their case with consumer debtor's attorneys who have experience in chapter 13 cases. The referral process considers the attorney's geographic proximity to the debtor and the debtor's income level, but representation and its terms are subject to agreement between the debtor and attorney. A separate referral program with South Carolina Legal Services is used for debtors with a qualifying low income.


In the past year, 57 of the pro se chapter 13 cases assigned to Judge Waites were filed in the Charleston division, while 34 cases were filed in the Columbia division. Of these cases, the debtor elected and was matched with an attorney in 66 cases. Many of these cases reached successful results, which likely would not have been achieved without the assistance of the volunteer attorneys.


Special recognition goes to the following attorneys who have the highest number of accepted cases this year through the program:


Drose Law Firm (Ann Bell and Michael Drose): 5
Meredith Law Firm (Elizabeth Heilig and Robert Meredith): 5
Eddye Lane: 2
Eric Reed: 2
Sean Markham: 2


If you are interested in serving as a volunteer attorney for the Debtor's Assistance Program or accepting a worthy pro bono case identified by Judge Waites, please contact Nicole Stalvey at Nicole_Stalvey@scb.uscourt.gov with a copy to Andrew Powell on behalf of Judge Waites at Andrew_Powell@scb.uscourt.gov.