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In early 2005, Texas Supreme Court Justice Harriet O'Neill, a South Carolina native and a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law, invited George Cauthen, a member of the South Carolina Bar to attend the Annual National Meeting of State Access to Justice Chairs presented by the American Bar Association in Austin Texas held on May 6, 2005.

Mr. Cauthen subsequently presented a motion to the South Carolina Bar's Access to Justice Committee, a successor committee to the Bar's Service to Indigents Committee, to create a South Carolina Access to Justice Commission. The Service to Indigents Committee notified Chief Justice Jean Toal and then South Carolina Bar President Dan White of the bar's progress on this proposal by letter of July 19, 2005. That Committee voted in favor of creating such a Commission in November of 2005, and recommended to the South Carolina Bar's Board of Governors to adopt a resolution calling upon the South Carolina Supreme Court to create such a Commission. The Board of Governors approved the motion and sent the proposal to the Bar's House of Delegates, which voted in favor of the resolution on January 26, 2006.

Justice O'Neill had reached out as well to Chief Justice Jean Toal in the fall of 2005 urging the creation of a South Carolina Access to Justice Commission. In February, 2006, Bob Wells, Executive Director of the South Carolina Bar, notified the Chief Justice of the Bar's Resolution requesting the Court to create a South Carolina Access to Justice Commission. Chief Justice Toal met with a delegation from the Bar on May 22, 2006, and formal work on creating the Commission began. In October of 2006, Chief Justice Toal designated Stuart Andrews as chair of the Access to Justice Task Force. On November 16, 2006 the first meeting of the Task Force was held. Bob Echols, an ABA consultant on Access to Justice Commissions, attended and covered various aspects of Commissions. The Task Force met again on January 25, 2007, with Chief Justice Toal presiding and Justice O'Neill participating. On January 31, 2007, the South Carolina Supreme Court entered Administrative Order 2007-01-31-01, formally creating the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission.

On September 27, 2007, the first formal meeting of the Commission was held. On October 1, 2007, Robin Wheeler started work as the first Executive Director of the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission.

 

 

 
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