Charleston School of Law and Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services are partnering to create the Charleston Pro Bono Housing Clinic, a new program designed to support low-income families in need of legal representation.
Last June, the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission published “Measuring South Carolina’s Justice Gap,” a report that included findings about the availability of legal representation for the low-income communities. According to the research, South Carolina ranks last out of all states (overall score: 2.40/100) on the ‘Attorney Access’ index, which analyzes “the number of attorneys available to represent people living in poverty.”
“There is an undeniable need for better access to justice, and we are honored to be able to play a role in addressing that need,” said Alissa Lietzow (’10), Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services’ Executive Director. “The Charleston Pro Bono Housing Clinic exemplifies the law school’s motto: pro bono populi.”
This is Pro Bono Week at Charleston School of Law and throughout the country, highlighting the important work that lawyers and law students engage in to close the justice gap. Reflecting the Law School’s commitment to public service, every student at Charleston Law is required to complete 50 hours of pro bono work before graduation.
Charleston School of Law Dean Larry Cunningham said the program will officially begin in Spring 2022 and will be available to 3L students. The first semester will launch four students with a vision to expand to six students in future semesters. Third-year law students will represent clients in Housing Court under supervision of Cody Tettemer (’19), an attorney with Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services.
“I am excited about the launch of this new Clinic, which reflects our dual commitment to helping the community and to providing law students with a stellar, skills-based education that prepares them for the real world of law practice,” Dean Cunningham said.
Cunningham said students will have the opportunity to support a dire need in the community while gaining practical legal experience and critical legal skills including issue spotting, interview techniques, expectation management, and courtroom etiquette.
“The Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services Housing Clinic will allow students the unique opportunity to not only engage with clients in the preparation of their case, but to zealously advocate on their behalf,” said Lietzow. “The soft and hard skills acquired throughout the Clinic will better prepare the students for their future profession.”
Cody Tettemer (’19) will serve as the Clinical Professor for the program. Tettemer joined Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services in June 2020. His area of practice primarily involves housing law, specifically landlord-tenant.
“Cody has played a critical role in providing much-needed legal services throughout the pandemic,” said Lietzow.
Dean Cunningham agreed. “Cody (Tettemer) is a wonderful choice to spearhead this program. As dean, I am especially excited to see our alumni engaging in such important work while giving back to the next generation of law students.”