South Carolina Legal Services > Blog > Uncategorized > A Lawyer Who Cares is a Lawyer Who Asks

A Lawyer Who Cares is a Lawyer Who Asks

The mind has a unique ability of savoring delightful memories.  Summer in the South makes me think about fresh cut grass, the sound and smell of a light rain that you can see marching across fields of your neighbor’s yard. We would play outside most of the day. Those are some of my memories associated with summer.  What will this generation of students remember about this summer?

This past school year, there was a new energy and increasing camaraderie about public education in South Carolina.  Everyone expressed a desire to improve education outcomes and find a way to support teaching as a profession.  What can South Carolina Legal Services do to improve educational outcomes?  We are a statewide law firm and we meet thousands of vulnerable or fragile families each year.  We are not educators.  We are not legislators. 

We are human, and many of the clients we serve are a part of various kinds of families or communities. 

  • We can take a moment and think about what an eviction will mean for a school aged child and explain the McKinney Vento Homeless Act. 
  • We can take a breath and ask what switching a “week on and week off” custody arrangement will do to a child. 
  • If a parent can no longer pay child support because she lost her job, we can ask her how else she can be involved in their lives. Maybe she can call more often, or text if that is how they communicate. 
  • When we are preparing documents for temporary hearings, we can ask which parent reads to or with the child at night. Encourage your client to be the parent who reads with her child.
  • We can ask clients to think about their child’s future. 
  • When working with parents on an affidavit for a temporary hearing, ask them to dedicate a paragraph to their child, and start off with that paragraph. Encourage them to reflect more on why they should have custody.
  • We can ask families that are struggling with budgeting what they would like to teach their child about managing finances.
  • We can ask people that are struggling with keeping steady employment if they have thought about creating a small business or a separate source of income based on a hobby they enjoy or a skill they possess.   
  • We can ask our clients if they have noticed whether their child is aware of the stress they are experiencing, and whether have they thought about how stress can impact their child.

We cannot educate. We cannot legislate.  We cannot preach.  We can ask. After all, we are masters at carefully adding information into the record with leading questions. Never underestimate a lawyer that cares.

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