4ALL Statewide Service Day

By Larissa Mañón Mervin 

4ALL Statewide Service Day — Have Fun with Your Peers and Experience the Rewards of Serving Together

Hi Family Law Section Members!

We’ve circled back around to the time of year where we all get to participate in the 4ALL Statewide Service Day. This year, the 4ALL Statewide Service Day will be held on March 6, 2020 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. in the following cities: Asheville, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, and Wilmington. For those who have participated in the past, you know that this is an enjoyable and rewarding way to use our legal skills to help the general population with some of their most pressing legal questions, many of which are family-law related. For those who have not yet participated, I encourage you to try it this year! You’ll be glad you did!

If you’re new to the profession or our state, you may be wondering what this is all about. The 4ALL webpage on the NC Bar Foundation website says it best: “4ALL Statewide Service Day is an annual call-a-lawyer public service program that engages over 500 volunteer attorneys to provide free legal information to almost 10,000 North Carolinians, from the mountains to the coast.” This NC Bar Foundation program is held at various media stations in the cities listed above. You can serve in three-hour increments, so you do not have to serve the entire day—unless you want to, of course ;-). Those three hours are the perfect number to slip into your workday. It is a fun way to spend a Friday!

In case you are asking yourself why family law attorneys are so desperately needed, it is because so many of the calls that come in that day are family-law related. Many of the people calling in will never be able to meet with or afford an attorney. This may be their only shot at getting some solid advice for their family-law situation. To put it in perspective, although there are no program statistics for specific areas of law from previous 4ALL Service Days, questions submitted through the NC Bar Foundation’s Free Legal Answers Program serve as a good indicator of how many burning family law questions NC residents have. According to Kim Bart Mullikin, Senior Director of the NC Bar Foundation, 30% of the questions submitted through the Free Legal Answers queue are family-law related.[1] So it would stand to follow that approximately 3000 of the 10,000 calls received during 4ALL could be family-law related. So yes, we really need you, family law practitioners!

Do you need more motivation? Here you go! When you report your pro-bono hours next year, you can also include your service from this special day!  Any attorney who reports 50 or more hours of pro-bono legal service in a year will be inducted into the NC Pro Bono Honor Society and receive a certificate from the Supreme Court of North Carolina. Who doesn’t like a little recognition? Plus, North Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 encourages us to participate in at least 50 hours of pro-bono legal service per year. So it really is an important responsibility that we have as attorneys and incredibly fulfilling work. What better way to jump-start those hours for this year than to participate in a simple three-hour shift at the 4ALL Statewide Service Day?!

I hope you will join me, and many of your other colleagues, in participating at one of the site locations for 4ALL Statewide Service Day! I am sure that once you start this annual tradition, you’ll look forward to this program for years to come. To go ahead and sign up, please click here and follow the instructions by selecting a time to volunteer and registering online. I look forward to seeing some of you there!



Larissa Mañón Mervin
Pro Bono Committee Co-Chair
NCBA Family Law Section


[1]Kim Bart Mullikin serves as Senior Director of the NC Bar Foundation and is an invaluable resource for all things pro bono, as are the other staff members at the NC Bar Foundation. For a full list of the NC Bar Foundation Staff, please visit this link. The staff at the NC Pro Bono Resource Center is another invaluable pro-bono resource. I encourage you to visit their website to learn more about them and to access the resources they provide.