After Hurricane Irma: Legal Assistance
HURRICANE IRMA LEGAL HELP FOR THE PUBLIC (BEAUFORT COUNTY)
While there is not much legal assistance specific to Irma, there are plenty of resources available to residents of Beaufort County that operate all year.
South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service
The SC Bar Lawyer Referral Service offers referrals for landlord-tenant (and 100 other areas of law!) cases. The resident is paired with a qualified, prescreened attorney for a 30-minute consultation which shall cost no more than $50. If the consultation extends past the 30 minutes or the resident hires the lawyer to represent him or her, the lawyer will charge you him or her normal fees. The lawyers do not take pro bono cases. For some, the consultation is enough to get through a small problem. There is no income requirement for the LRS; it is available to all South Carolina residents.
Residents may call 1-800-868-2284 for a referral from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. An online referral service is available 24/7 at https://www.scbar.org/public/get-legal-help/find-lawyer-or-mediator/find-a-lawyer/.
Lowcountry Legal Volunteers
Lowcountry Legal Volunteers provides free legal services to income qualified residents of Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton counties. Resident may have to pay his or her court costs, if any. Their website is http://www.lowcountrylegalvolunteers.com/.
They are open Monday through Thursday from 9 AM to 4 PM by appointment only. For an appointment, call (843) 815-1570. The resident will be asked some questions income (only households with income at or below 125% of federal poverty level qualify) and the legal issue. If the resident qualifies, an appointment for an intake interview with a volunteers will be made. Then, the executive attorney makes the final decision as to whether the case is accepted.
South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS)
Handles civil cases for low income residents. The website is http://www.sclegal.org. Services are free (although resident may have to pay his or her court costs, if any).
To apply for legal services, the resident should call the statewide South Carolina Legal Services Intake Office at 1-888-346-5592 (toll free) or 803-744-9430 (Columbia area). Spanish speaking applicants and hearing-impaired applicants, who have TTY capability, who wish to apply for legal services should also call the statewide telephone number at 1-888-346-5592. Residents can call the intake line from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Legal advice is not given over the phone. If the resident’s primary language is not English or Spanish, the resident should call the closest SCLS office for an intake appointment.
SCLS Intake Office – Statewide
Toll Free: 888.346.5592
Serving: Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton, and Jasper Counties
2803 Carner Avenue
Charleston, SC 29405
Toll Free: 888.720.2320
South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging Legal Assistance for Seniors
Free legal help is available for low-income residents 60 years old or older with housing questions (like evictions). The phone number for Beaufort County is (543) 726-5536. The website is http://aging.sc.gov/legal/Pages/LegalServices.aspx.
SC Law Answers (ABA Free Legal Answers™)
Volunteer South Carolina attorneys are available to answer questions for residents who meet eligibility requirements. Volunteer attorneys cannot represent residents in court, but they can give the resident guidance as to what options a resident may have in his or her situation, the best course of action, and whether or not a lawyer can help them obtain the desired result.
- Resident goes to https://sc.freelegalanswers.org/ and clicks the orange “Get Started” button.
- Resident looks over the user agreement, and if he or she believes he or she meets the eligibility requirements and agrees with the terms, clicks “I agree” at the bottom of the page. In general, eligible residents agree with the following statements:
- Your income is low for a family the size of yours
- The value of your checking account, savings account, stocks or bonds are low.
- You aren’t in jail or prison.
- Your legal problem isn’t related to a criminal charge.
- You don’t already have a lawyer to help you with your legal problem.
- You are an adult.
- Resident fills in application and asks their question.
- The resident will receive an email when their question receives a response. They can then log back in and see the response and ask more questions if they wish.