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Chambers' Bulletins

Thu, 5/29/2008 - 5:00 am

In the recent months, the Court has engaged in several initiatives with the goal of providing access to justice to those parties proceeding pro se. Many of these parties are indigent and fail to obtain relief that may otherwise be merited due to the heightened requirements of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. To better serve indigent parties, the Court has coordinated its efforts with South Carolina Legal Services and the South Carolina Pro Bono Program. These organizations provide an opportunity for bankruptcy practitioners to provided discounted or free legal services to parties within a specific range of the federal poverty guidelines. For those attorneys wishing to participate in these programs or otherwise provide assistance to parties filing pro se, the Court offers the following information:

South Carolina Legal Services' Private Attorney Involvement Program allows attorneys to receive referrals for bankruptcy cases and compensation at the rate of $65.00 per hour. The debtors in these cases are generally above the poverty guidelines, have insufficient income to afford the presumptive fee allowed in chapter 13 cases but require chapter 13 relief. You can receive more information on this program by contacting Andrea Loney at 1-888-799-9668 ext. 4180.

The South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program refers bankruptcy cases to a pool of volunteers who provide pro bono representation. Although the volunteers for the Pro Bono Program have generally handled chapter 7 cases for debtors near the poverty guidelines, the program has agreed to accept more Chapter 13 cases. You can volunteer for this program by contacting Jill Rothstein at 803-799-6653 at extension 159.

In addition to the foregoing, the South Carolina Bar also offers the Lawyer Referral Service whereby attorneys can join the service and receive referrals of bankruptcy cases through the Bar. More information on this program is available through the Bar's website at

Finally, in recent months and at the request of the Trustees, the Court has established a list of attorneys who would be willing to accept referrals of case filed pro se which it may provide to parties who do not otherwise qualify for the above referenced programs. The Court also continues to provide a monthly Ask A Lawyer session to provide information to parties regarding bankruptcy and has significantly enhanced the information it provides on its Web page. If you are willing to participate on the Court's referral list or in the Ask A Lawyer program, you may contact Sharon Greene at 803-765-5038 or email Judge Waites chambers at

The Judges of this Court are very proud that the members of the South Carolina Bankruptcy Bar are generally recognized as being some of the most generous and skilled volunteers when it comes to assistance to pro se parties. We hope that you will continue in that spirit and advise us of your participation in one of these opportunities by email at

Thu, 5/29/2008 - 5:00 am

Thanks to Nancy Johnson and Eric Reed for volunteering for the May Ask-A-Lawyer program. The next Ask-A-Lawyer session is planned for June 26. If you are able to volunteer for this session, please e-mail Jeff Davis at

Wed, 5/21/2008 - 5:00 am

The Judges have recently noticed that the procedure followed during the consent/dispute docket has begun to vary from that set forth in the Chambers' Guidelines. Therefore we would like to remind the members of the bar of several of the Court's requirements, which are more fully set forth in those Guidelines:

1. Absent approval from chambers, the Trustee may only continue matters under his/her discretion one time for a maximum of a month, from a consent docket to the next consent docket. The hearing following any continuance should be on a dispute day with a joint statement of dispute being filed, unless otherwise excused by chambers. Requests for longer continuances should be by motion with a proposed order or requested during a hearing before the judge.

2. Hearings on matters set or continued by chambers by order or letter (as opposed to scheduling done by parties) on the consent day may not be continued or removed by the Trustee without the approval of the court.

3. Counsel may only be excused on the consent day if there are no outstanding issues with the Trustee or with any other party. In that event, the Trustee's recommendation would likely be either confirmation or a CI order. Counsel should attend if sufficient information has not been provided to the Trustee to complete his/her recommendation at the time of the hearing. In regards to objections by other parties, counsel should attend unless the issues are fully resolved and one counsel or the Trustee is reporting that resolution on the record.

4. Disputed matters require a joint statement of dispute unless excused by chambers which is often done on routine confirmation issues between the Trustee and the debtor, such as a failure to file necessary information or feasibility issues being raised by the Trustee. The requirement of a joint statement of dispute is particularly helpful on Reform Act issues or issues being litigated between private parties. It is important that parties complete the joint statement in full, setting forth all relevant facts, arguments, and case law. Absent removal of a matter from the calendar or the parties being excused by chambers, counsel and the debtor should attend the hearing scheduled on the dispute calendar.

The Judges appreciate the bar's attention to these procedures.

Wed, 5/14/2008 - 5:00 am

Judge Waites and the Clerk of Court will join the Charleston bankruptcy bar for a social today at 5:30 p.m. at the Top of Vendue Inn.

Everyone is invited to join us.

Mon, 5/12/2008 - 5:00 am

The Judges of the Court have agreed to a review of the Chapter 13 form Plan and related Orders/Rules used in this District. To assist in that effort, a six person working group comprised of two trustees, two members of the Court's Advisory Committee, and two members who specialize in this area of practice has been appointed. The members are Keenan Stephenson, Gretchen Holland, Linda Barr, Lex Rogerson, Weyman Carter and Rob Meredith. Members of the bar or the public, trustees, or any other party may make suggestions directly to any member of the working group or to the Judges via The working group will present its recommendations to the Judges and the Court's Advisory Committee. Any proposed changes will be presented for public comment prior to implementation.

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