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Greenwood PAI Attorney of the Year

The Greenwood Office of South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) spotlights Mary C. Williams as its PAI Attorney of the Year. PAI stands for Private Attorney Involvement. This program pays private attorneys a reduced fee to represent our clients. It allows SCLS to serve more clients and provides clients with a wider range of talented attorneys.

Ms. Williams aims to be a servant leader, both in her professional and personal life. When asked about her work, she discussed her desire to solve the legal challenges, but also to help the client overcome other barriers they have, which may affect the legal issue. For example, she has recently encouraged a client to seek mental health services and identified which services are available. For another client, she straightened out problems with a client’s Veterans Affairs benefits. The Managing Attorney for the Greenwood Office says “Mary truly cares about our individual clients, and it shows in the work she does. She goes above and beyond to accept difficult cases, to understand and empathize with the clients, and to introduce them to services that assist with their other needs.”

Ms. Williams’s interest in people and meeting their needs is apparent throughout her career. She graduated from Erskine College and University of South Carolina School of Law. Early in her legal career, she worked at Legal Services Agency of Western Carolina, for South Carolina Department of Social Services (SCDSS) Office for General Counsel, and for Children’s Law Center. She became the Director of Human Services for SCDSS and then the Director of Program Improvement at SCDSS. She was appointed in December 2011 as Director of Agency Performance for the District of Columbia Child Welfare Agency.

She has also created a curriculum to teach social workers and currently has a consulting company for child welfare and elderly services. She has served on boards, such as American Public Human Services Association National Child Welfare Advisory Committee on Positioning Public Child Welfare sponsored by the Casey Foundation, the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute sponsored by the Children’s Bureau, the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators (NAPCWA) of the American Public Human Services, and the Executive Committee of NAPCWA. Ms. Williams is the recipient of a South Carolina General Assembly Resolution honoring her years of public service in child welfare. The resolution was passed by all members of the House of Representative and signed by the Speaker of the House.

She has written articles for the South Carolina Bar on child maltreatment, domestic violence, education, and housing law. She is the author of “Public Policy Regarding Juveniles: A Review of the Impact for African Americans”, published by the Columbia Urban League in the State of Black South Carolina. She has written several publications on domestic violence to include The Link between Domestic Violence and honoring her years of public service in child welfare.

Her life has been inspired by this quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” We are grateful that Ms. Williams shares her experience, her talents and her compassion with our staff and clients.

If you would like to join our PAI program, please contact our Executive Director, Andrea E. Loney, at andrealoney@sclegal.org.

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