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School of Law

  • Palmetto LEADER

Palmetto LEADER

Welcome to the homepage of the Palmetto LEADER — the University of South Carolina School of Law’s fully operational mobile law offices — that provides legal advocacy and education resources to rural, underserved populations in SC. Services are provided by pro bono and clinical law students working closely with SC pro bono attorneys.

Why Palmetto LEADER?

The law school was looking for a name that reflected the goals of the project as well as honored the intent of the donor.  LEADER is an acronym for legal advocacy and education resources. In researching the name, we discovered a reference to an African American  newspaper that covered Richland County. The Palmetto Leader was published from 1925 until the mid-1960’s.

The law school reached out to Bobby Donaldson, Associate Professor, History & African American Studies, USC, to help us understand the impact of The Palmetto Leader to SC. He noted that Nathaniel J. Frederick, a pioneering civil rights attorney in SC, served as the head of the NAACP and as editor of the Palmetto Leader for a number of years. During his stint as editor, the newspaper carried a number of stories and editorials.  For example, in 1925, the newspaper ran an editorial about a discrimination case in Detroit.  It read: “Not a stone has been left unturned by this great national agency of uplift and civic service as a legal missionary preaching the gospel of justice for all the people.” 

Professor Donaldson suggested that we acknowledge the pioneering role of the early newspaper as a champion of “equal justice under the law”. We want everyone who comes in to contact with The Palmetto LEADER to understand how it embodies many of the same themes and ideas underscored nearly a century ago in The Palmetto Leader. 

How does the Palmetto LEADER choose the locations it will serve?

The primary locations for the Palmetto LEADER will be in rural, underserved populations in SC. This fits the purposes of the project, the interests of the donor and the goals of the School of Law. Research collected from poverty data, access to legal services, availability of other resources and connections to the legal profession will drive the decisions for the locations where we think the services will be most helpful. The driving values of the Palmetto LEADER are to serve these communities with competence, civility and compassion. In addition, the Palmetto LEADER may be useful in disaster situations. We will go where we can help. For confirmed locations and services check out the Palmetto LEADER Blog.

How do I volunteer? How do I get information and news?

Check out the Palmetto LEADER Blog.


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