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Pro Bono Champion: Melissa Spence - SC Appellate Court Project and beyond

March 29, 2018

Melissa Spence has focused her pro bono efforts in representing an indigent criminal client in front of the state appellate courts, as well as addressing legal issues that arise from her service as a board member for a local nonprofit organization.

Melissa, through her first project with the South Carolina Appellate Practice Project, was tasked with addressing an interesting and novel question in South Carolina: whether Fourth Amendment rights attach to the search of a laptop computer when it is left with a computer technician for repair. Melissa argued the case before the South Carolina Court of Appeals in September 2014, as well as the South Carolina Supreme Court in January 2017, where a decision remains pending. In fact, Melissa was one of the first oral arguments heard in front of the newly elected Chief Justice Beatty. 

From her participation in the South Carolina Appellate Practice Project, Melissa has obtained immeasurable experience in appellate law, from writing and preparing briefs and motions to arguing before the highest court in the state. Melissa says using her legal skills to help someone without the resources to hire an attorney has been the most rewarding outcome of her involvement.

Melissa also serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors for Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina. The mission of Florence Crittenton is to provide hope, safety and opportunity to young women in order to instill self-worth and self-sufficiency. Melissa began volunteering with the organization in 2013, was elected to the board in 2014 and has served as Vice President since 2016. During her service on the board, Melissa has assisted the organization with several pro bono efforts, as well as helping the resource-constrained nonprofit with various employment and labor matters.

Melissa appreciates that she has been able to contribute her time, service and legal skills to assist Florence Crittenton as they take on such a worthy cause.

Nexsen Pruet is one of the largest law firms in the Carolinas, with more than 190 attorneys and offices in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, S.C., as well as Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh, N.C. Founded in 1945, Nexsen Pruet provides a broad range of legal services to the business community and represents companies and other entities in local, state, national and international venues.