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2017 Scholarship Essay Contest Winner Announcement

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We Have Chosen A Winner For Our 2017 Scholarship!

This was our 2nd year of sponsoring The Peck Law Firm scholarship contest to help assist a student in raising additional funds to pay for their college education, which has continued to rise in recent years.

This year, we asked applicants to write an essay answering the question: “What effects will the 2016 presidential election have on American families?” We wanted to see the different views young adults have about the recent election.

We had over 200 applications this year from all around the country. These essays were read and judged without any reference to where the applicant lives or plans on attending school, or any other information like race, age, or gender. After spending countless hours and reading all the essays, one essay really stood out among the others we received.

With that being said, we are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2017 Peck Law Firm Scholarship is Anthony Perez!

Anthony recently graduated from Georgia Tech University in 2016 with a 3.4 GPA and a degree in finance. Anthony plans on pursuing a law degree from Mercer Law School in the fall of 2016.

Anthony came to Georgia Tech University on a baseball scholarship and not only excelled on the field, but also excelled in the classroom. During his time at Georgia Tech, Anthony made the Dean’s or President’s list each semester and was also an academic peer for his teammates on the baseball team.

We thank all of the 2017 applicants for their outstanding essays and look forward to providing more financial assistance with our 2018 scholarship contest!

Again, we congratulate Anthony Perez and wish him nothing but the best as he pursues his law degree from Mercer Law School! We have posted his winning essay at the bottom of this post.

We wish we had enough funds to award scholarships to all who applied. We want to thank all our applicants for their outstanding submissions and we can’t wait to see what happens for our 2018 scholarship contest.

Read Anthony’s essay below.

“As long as you are going to be thinking anyway, think big.” And oh boy does Donald Trump think HUUGGEE! This past election season was one for the history books. Not only was it the election of our 45th president, he was the first person elected that turned the election into a circus. Though many considered the election a joke, what is a democracy if you can’t vote for whomever you want? Now that President Trump is in charge of ruling the free world, what does that mean for American families? With so many variables and so many topics to discuss, this realm is nearly impossible to answer. Being a Hispanic conservative who voted for Trump, my perspective is taboo to some.

I would say my background is unique but my family’s issue, as well as my own, are the same as some American families. This election brought out the best and worst in people, but for my family, in particular, this election brought out the best. Growing up in a lower middle-class family, working to make ends meet, has and was always the main issue within my family. My father of Puerto Rican descent is a retired police officer and my mother, a southern belle from Louisiana who works as a lab tech, are two examples of what makes America so great, the working class! My parents are in pursuit of the American dream, which President Trump promises to bring back to our country in full force. Almost every morning as my father was paying for his coffee at the nearby Quiktrip, on his way to work, he would repeat the same corny line, as the cashier asked how his morning was going “I’m healthy, I’m employed, and I’m broke, but my people and I came to this country of capitalism to chase the American dream!” It would always give everyone as well as myself in line a little chuckle as he used his extremely apparent fake, broken English accent, even though he was fluent in both languages and had no issue speaking clear English.

This election has brought hope back to the working class American family. Trump’s win wasn’t some overly elaborate underdog win or some conspiracy theory. This country has blossomed from the idea that anyone can be anything through hard work and dedication in the pursuit of happiness. The American Dream used to be an attainable goal. How is Trump bringing back the American dream? Reforms in tax plans, medical services, and government spending are key issues for middle-class families. Since all these reforms are fairly new it is hard to say which will work best or which will work at all, but the concept of the reforms are geared to help those who were overlooked during the past eight years.

Trump’s tax reform stirs away from a progressive tax plan and causes growth and prosperity at each class level. Moving to a flat tax will create incentives for family’s and individuals to progress instead of thinking about how much more the government will take away as they make more money. For instance, my cousin had to make a difficult decision to accept a raise and better herself or stick with her current job so she that she wouldn’t be taxed as much. This should never be a question for someone who wants to move up in the world.

When the Affordable Care Act was passed, our family’s deductibles skyrocketed. Our insurance went from covering almost everything to making us pick and choose what we can and cannot have covered. On top of all of this, insurance companies were dropping like flies – leaving individuals in limbo. Presidents Trump’s idea to build competition between insurance providers would, of course, drive down price through competition but it would benefit the client the most by allowing people to pick the services they want or if they even want service at all.

Where do all of our tax dollars go? What is it used on? What the government spends our tax dollars on is always something we should have a say in. President Trump promises to rebuild our infrastructure. Preserving our government buildings and lands, such as our schools and parks, and help to finally build up our military. Not everyone agrees with these plans for investing in “America First,” as President Trump loves to say, but building up our military is one thing that is for certain going to help protect American families. Building back up our infrastructures will enhance our lives and keep us safe. The last thing our cities or other parts of our country need is another I-85 highway collapse, which drastically affected the city of Atlanta and the surrounding counties.

This election has brought much more back to the American families than policies and reforms. It has brought back the idea that anyone and everyone can attain the American dream. This election has brought back true hope and motivation to the working class. It is much deeper than policy. It is a lifestyle change. The election is a true testament to the citizens of this great nation and their hope for what is to come in the future. Without these deeply rooted ideas of what America really symbolizes, my Grandparents would have never moved to a two bedroom government housing apartment in the lower income areas of New York to chase an imaginary dream. There is truth behind America’s promises. We just need to get back to believing in it.

PECK LAW FIRM VOTED BEST FAMILY LAW FIRM IN CHARLESTON

The results are in!

Thousands of readers of our local newspaper have cast their votes for the best Charleston businesses.

This year, the readers of the The Post and Courier voted for The Peck Law Firm as the best family law firm in Charleston.
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We are honored to receive this award and thrilled to have been chosen! We thank each person who voted for our firm. We extend our gratitude to each of you for your support and kind words throughout this last year. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Each day, we help hurting people find solutions for their difficult divorce, family law, and child custody problems. Each divorce matters to us.

We give each of our clients hope – even when all seems hopeless. We listen to each person, judge no one, and assure each of our clients that there is a better life after divorce.

Our family law firm has offices conveniently located in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and Summerville. We limit our practice solely to alimony, child custody, divorce, legal separation, paternity, and related family law matters. We focus solely on what matters the most to you when “everything is on the line.”

We represent clients in Charleston, Daniel Island, Folly Beach, Goose Creek, IOP, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah Island, Ladson, Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville, West Ashley, and throughout Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester Counties.

If you find yourself struggling with your marriage or need assistance with a difficult family law problem, we will help you. Please call 843-631-7117 now for a free legal consultation with an attorney.

The Peck Law Firm 2017 Scholarship Essay Contest

The new school year is here!

For many college and graduate school students, this time of year brings the stress of new classes, tests, and the worry of how they’re going to pay for school. And, it doesn’t stop there. Parents are often forced to borrow to help their children pay for tuition, fees and related costs.

As our response to this crisis in higher education, we are pleased to announce the 2nd annual 2017 Peck Law Firm Scholarship essay contest!
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For this year’s contest, we challenge students to tell us how the 2016 presidential election will affect our culture. Our 2017 scholarship essay topic is: What effects will the election of our new president have on American families?

This $2,000 scholarship is open to any American citizen, who:

  • has graduated from high school before July 1, 2017,
  • has a minimum GPA of 3.0, and
  • will be attending college, graduate school, or law school in the fall semester of 2017.

Applying for the scholarship is straightforward. Each student must: (1) complete the scholarship application; (2) submit an essay of 1,000 words or less; and (3) attach a resume and applicable transcripts. The application deadline is May 31, 2017. The winner will be announced on July 31, 2017.

The scholarship application and detailed rules can be found here.

For our 2016 scholarship contest, we had many great essays. We are extremely excited to see what thought provoking essays we will receive this year.

Congratulations again to our 2016 scholarship winner, Bennett Lunn!

Good luck to everyone applying this year!

2016 Peck Law Firm Scholarship Winner Announcement

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We have a winner!

This last year, we sponsored the 2016 Peck Law Firm Scholarship contest to help one student with the rising financial tolls of higher education.

The scholarship required students to write an essay explaining the effects that the legalization of gay marriage will have on religion, culture, and/or family law in America. We understand this has always been an extremely controversial topic with many different opposing views. That’s why we wanted to see how students thought this landmark decision would affect America as a whole.

We received over 100 applications from all over the country! Each essay showed exemplary thought and we appreciate all the hard work students put into them.

The essays were all read and judged without any reference to where the writer lived or attended school, or any other identifying information like race, age, or gender. After countless hours and multiple readings of the essays over the course of two months, one essay stuck out as superior to the many outstanding ones we received.

That being said, we are pleased to announce that the winner of the 2016 Peck Law Firm Scholarship is Bennett Lunn!
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Bennett graduated from South Aiken High School in the Spring of 2016 with a 3.875 GPA and will be attending the University of South Carolina Honors College this fall. He will be majoring in International Business and Pre-Law.

Not only was Bennett an excellent student throughout his high school career, but he was also involved in numerous extracurricular activities including: National Honor Society, DECA, NJROTC, and Model UN. He was also extremely involved in theatre, student council, and the school newspaper.

Lastly, Bennett was elected to NRECA’s Youth Council, has worked on multiple investment advisory projects, and won the Erskine and USCA scholar awards.

We are extremely proud of Bennett and have posted his winning essay at the bottom of this blog.

We wish we had enough funds to award scholarships to everyone who applied and we regret we were forced to choose only one winner.

We want to thank all our applicants for their outstanding submissions and we can’t wait to see what is in store for the 2017 scholarship contest.

Here is Bennett’s winning essay:

“In the summer of 2015, the Supreme Court made a landmark decision in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges that bans against gay marriage were unconstitutional. Like a stone in a pond, legal decisions of this magnitude have repercussions, which resonate both culturally and legally. As the United States absorbs the ripples of this “stone,” we can expect to see changes in culture, including shifts in religious perspectives and the growth of social divides, and the legal system, including alterations in divorce and marriage law.

Regardless of one’s moral opinions about homosexual marriage, there is no question that the Supreme Court’s legal affirmation of this practice will have consequences for our culture as a whole. This issue has long been the subject of heated argument, primarily because the parties involved have such strong opinions. Given the incendiary nature of this issue, it is likely that the Supreme Court’s decision will only lead to further polarization. After all, those in support of gay marriage are likely to feel bolstered by the support of the courts, while those against are likely to feel vindicated in their opinions because the decision came from the courts and not elected legislators. As each side becomes further confirmed in their own beliefs, the divide between the two may grow. Marriage is an integral part of every culture. A society’s view on marriage encompasses a wide range of moral questions, including those regarding what constitutes love, what it means to be a parent, and whether or not marriage should be viewed as a spiritual contract or a social contract. As such, any change in our view of marriage as a culture implicates a change in our culture as a whole. The formal support of gay marriage by the Supreme Court lends itself to a more liberal viewpoint, and, because an important government institution is showing support for this issue, it is likely that this decision could lead to a decrease in conservative values in the country over time. It is undeniable that when a respected body such as the Supreme Court shows support for an issue, the masses tend to follow. Over time, this could mean that people choose more liberal answers for the questions listed above. Whether this is a good or bad thing has yet to be seen. However, one thing is known for sure; this decision will have cultural ramifications for many years to come.

Given the omnipresent nature of marriage, the cultural effects of this decision are bound to be reflected in the legal system, primarily in the field of family law. However, it is unlikely that laws regarding heterosexual marriage will be impacted much. Rather, this decision’s primary legal impact will be on the part of those seeking homosexual marriage. Apart from the obvious legal protection of the right to marry, this will offer homosexual partners a myriad of new marital rights. In the past, same-sex partners have filed for “marriage equivalents” or “marriage alternatives” in order to gain certain marital rights. Now, however, these will become effectively obsolete. Same sex partners will now enjoy the same rights and benefits of marriage as straight couples, including the ability to adopt with custody of the child being granted to both parents, to share spousal insurance coverage, and to receive certain reduced tax benefits. Furthermore, the processes of divorce, remarriage, receiving inheritance, receiving social security benefits, and tending to posthumous affairs will all be more straightforward. For instance, before the decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, if one member of a homosexual couple survived the other, and the couple had not written a will, he/she would have had to go through a variety of legal hoops in order to ensure that their would receive custody of any adopted children or any inheritance money. By gaining the same marital status as a heterosexual couple, same-sex couples will have a much easier time of sorting posthumous affairs. In these ways, this ruling will have a great impact on family law. For the most part, however, these changes only provide homosexual couples the same accessibility to marital rights that straight couples have always benefitted from. Only time will tell whether or not this new accessibility will impact all families. Regardless, the Supreme Court’s decision has opened up new grey areas in family law, particularly regarding divorce, that will most likely be determined on a case by case basis in the years to come.

Whether it is the ability of a same-sex couple to share custody of a child or the polarization of cultural factions, the legalization of gay marriage has changed and will continue to change the social and legal landscape of the United States. It is my belief that the majority of the ramifications of Obergefell v. Hodges have yet to be seen. In the years to come, I suspect that the many opinions that surround this subject will once again come to head, and as a result even more changes will be made that will also have social and legal impacts. In any case, while the Supreme Court’s decision may have been a victory for equal rights activists, it remains to be seen how it will affect the rest of the population.”

First Annual Scholarship Closure

In August 2015, we started our first annual scholarship contest. Since then we have had over 100 applicants apply and submit an essay for consideration by our May deadline. We are humbled by such a strong response to our scholarship this year and deeply appreciate all the efforts and time the applicants have devoted to writing thoughtful responses to our essay question.

The Essay

This year’s question asked students to give their analysis and opinion on the impact of last years landmark Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, on religion, culture, and family law. This was the case in which the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the country. As a family law firm in South Carolina, we were deeply interested in seeing what students believed the impact gay marriage would have on families.

After briefly looking over the responses, we believe we got a fair representation of a variety of viewpoints. Some saw the decision as a good thing while others believe it was detrimental to society. Some expected huge impacts on culture while others that there would be minimal changes to the way things are now. We are excited to read through everyone’s essays more thoroughly and may post a blog in the future summarizing some of the best arguments or insights.

The Statistics

This has been a huge opportunity for us to give back to the community and we are grateful to everyone who has helped spread the word about our scholarship. Our data team managed to put together a few insights about this year’s scholarship and our applicants. Here’s what we found:

  • The average essay length was 727 words long
  • Nearly 25% (27) of our applicants were high school students
  • Most applicants were from South Carolina (21) but we also got a good number of applicants from Texas (18) and Florida (9).

Our judges are currently going through the essays and definitely have a difficult task ahead of them. The final winner will be selected in the coming weeks and will be announced on our blog on July 31, 2016.

Peck Law Firm Scholarship Opportunity

Scholarship Opportunity for law students sponsored by Peck Law FirmThe Peck Law Firm believes in the power of opinions and encourages everyone to express them. That is why they have chosen to create a scholarship opportunity to assist students in their school-related expenses.

The scholarship is available for students pursuing or attending:

  • A Law-related college
  • Graduate School
  • A Law School Degree

To apply for the scholarship, students must submit an essay answering the question “What effects will the legalization of gay marriage have on religion, culture, and/or family law in America?”

For complete details and to submit your application check the Peck Law Firm Scholarship Page.

Resources for Battered Women in Charleston, SC

Domestic ViolenceAs you are reading this post, you may be frightened for your life and the lives of your children. Whether you have been able to admit it to yourself, you know it is true in the back of your mind: you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence.

Domestic violence.

You have been afraid to breathe those words – domestic violence – for quite some time now. For whatever reason, you have refused to believe it could be true.

Maybe you have been silent out of self-preservation. Once the secret is out, will you be safe from your husband? Or, will you be in even more danger?

You may have refused to admit the truth because you are in denial. You may be thinking: “Surely he wouldn’t abuse me. After all, he loves me. He told me so. Maybe, I am to blame for the emotional and the physical abuse. Maybe, I deserve it.”

[Read more…]

Ken Peck Receives the Top Lawyer Rating for the 20th Year in a Row

2015 AV Rated Ken Peck AttorneyEvery year since 1995, Ken Peck has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating. This is the highest possible rating that an attorney can achieve in both ethical standards and legal ability.

Martindale-Hubbell® is a platform for attorneys to peer review and rate one another, providing the public with a ranking system of the best in the legal industry. In order to attain this high honor, an attorney is reviewed by other attorneys in similar practice areas. The reviewers are all members of the bar and the judiciary; in other words, they are either lawyers or judges. Peers first review their colleague on adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics. If the colleague receives a “very high” rating, he or she is then rated on legal ability. This ability is judged based on five different areas: [Read more…]

The Status of Gay Marriage in South Carolina

Peck1Gay marriage.

The mere mention of that phrase stirs strong passions among advocates on both sides of the issue.

As a divorce attorney in Charleston, SC, I have followed the issue closely because it could dramatically affect family law in the Lowcountry – as it has done already in many states and the District of Columbia. Historically, marriage has been defined exclusively as the union between a man and a woman. However, many states now recognize gay marriage as a consequence of the passage of new laws or court decisions. [Read more…]

Enrich Yourself with Lowcountry Plantation History

South Carolina MansionWe are “living the dream” in the Lowcountry.

Historic sites, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities surround us in Mount Pleasant. The wonderful beaches of Sullivan’s Island and the Isle of Palms are at our front door. And, just across the Ravenel Bridge are the many attractions of Charleston, James Island, Johns Island, Folly Beach, and Summerville.

A recent article in USA Today highlighted a special aspect of our cherished South Carolina history. Two of the “Ten Best Historic Southern Plantations” are located in Mount Pleasant and Charleston. The plantations bloomed as early as the 17th century, and many of the beautiful structures and gardens are still with us today in South Carolina.

Inspired by the article, I have chosen some of the top Charleston-area plantations to visit.
[Read more…]