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 the lowest of means.
In the past year, 72 of the pro se chapter 13 cases assigned to Judge Waites were filed in the Charleston division, while 19 cases were filed in the Columbia division.
Of the cases referred to a private attorney, 62% of the debtors retained an attorney. Once placed with an attorney, 41% of the debtors confirmed a plan. If you include other actions taken with the advice of counsel, like voluntary dismissals or voluntary conversions, over 77% of the cases achieved positive results.
Recognition goes to the following attorneys who have the highest number of accepted cases this year through the program:
|Moss & Associates||5|
|(Jason Moss and Heather Bailey)|
|Meredith Law Firm||4|
|(Elizabeth Heilig and Robert Meredith)|
|DeMott Law Firm||2|
|(Russ DeMott and Kristina Pierce)|
|Drose Law Firm||2|
|(Michael Drose and Ann Bell)|
Also, special recognition goes to Wendi Freeman and Jennifer Ivey who accepted a pro bono case for a disabled low-income debtor and pursued every available avenue for that debtor, including loss mitigation/mortgage modification.
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.