Why should members of the Bankruptcy Bar volunteer for the S.C. Law Answers program sponsored by the South Carolina Bar? It is a great public service effort that provides real time, anonymous answers to bankruptcy and debt-related questions from the public. Here are comments on the program from one of its first bankruptcy volunteers and one of its most recent volunteers.
I enjoy participating in S.C. Law Answers:
- > because the most fulfilling part of consumer bankruptcy practice is getting to know clients and helping them tackle seemingly intractable problems. SC Law Answers is an electronic extension of that activity.
- > because discussing issues in this format makes me devise improved ways to explain the complexities of bankruptcy law in plain language.
- > because I can control the extent of my commitment, selecting only questions I wish to address and terminating the exchange when I conclude the answer is adequate.
- > ultimately, because I’m a bankruptcy nerd and enjoy discussing the subject.
Because I’m no longer in private practice, I don’t get the opportunity to provide direct legal assistance to clients. Volunteering through the S.C. LawAnswers program offers me a chance to help people in a way that is more immediate and more personal than assisting a debtor (who is already represented by his own counsel) with a general question about his bankruptcy case. And helping other people is a huge mood-lifter!
Sometimes we attorneys can become so preoccupied with our own jobs and families and personal “crises” that we forget just how good our lives actually are, and how incredibly blessed we are to have the level of education, experience, freedom, and income that we enjoy. Talking to a person whose problems are so much more pressing than our own, yet who is almost helpless in the face of a legal problem due to a lack of education or income or both, is a valuable reminder of how much we should never take for granted. It helps keep our own lives in perspective. Providing free legal advice and assistance to someone in that position is a small way to “pay it forward,” and I am grateful to be in a position to do so.
I especially like volunteering through S.C. LawAnswers because it’s an online program, so I can access it from anywhere at any time; I can choose which questions to answer; I can research the issue on my own schedule and provide a response within a day or two; I can get immediate notification via email when the client sends a reply or a follow-up question; and my favorite: I can read the “thank you so much – you have greatly eased my mind!” directly from the client, and know that my time has been well-spent.
How do I sign up?
Contact Cindy Coker at 1-877-797-2227 Ext. 142 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Once you sign up, you have 24/7 access to questions and may select one or more for answering at your convenience. As mentioned by our colleagues, it is a great and easy way to serve the public.