Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Jennifer Bennington

Pro Bono Project: Lawyer on the Line

By Dawn LaRue

It’s fair to say that Jennifer Bennington is passionate about pro bono!  As a partner of the Wilson firm of Beaman & Bennington, PLLC, Jennifer focuses her practice on bankruptcy (representing debtors, creditors, and the trustee), non-bankruptcy work-outs, as well as representing Wilson County DSS in juvenile abuse, neglect, and dependency cases, as well as child support cases.  Despite the demands of a thriving practice, Jennifer consistently carves time out of her calendar for pro bono projects.  It’s fair to say that when it comes making pro bono a top priority, Jennifer is a frequent flyer!

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Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Dan Gibson

Pro Bono Project: NC Appellate Pro Bono Program

By Caroline Trautman

When we asked Dan Gibson about the pro bono appeal he’s been successfully handling, one of the first things he did was give credit to others – his mentors, his colleagues, and his client.

Gibson’s humility is admirable. But it’s evident that Gibson’s passion for helping others and for appellate law took his advocacy to the next level. The case, Routten v. Routten, is a domestic law matter with heart-breaking facts; Gibson’s client is a mother who was denied custody and visitation rights with respect to her two children following trial. Gibson had agreed to accept court appointments through the North Carolina Appellate Pro Bono Program and took the case in the summer of 2018.

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Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Epstein

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Pro Bono Project: Lawyer on the Line

By Rachel Royal
Steve Epstein considers it not only his duty as a lawyer, but his privilege, to provide pro bono service. “If not for me, who will do this work?” he questions. Since April 2010, Steve has spent his days as a Civil Litigation attorney at Poyner Spruill, LLP with a focus in Family Law. By contrast, his pro bono work is where he steps out of his everyday comfort zone to delve into landlord tenant issues and customer disputes with car dealerships. He does this through Lawyer on the Line, a partnership between the NC Bar Foundation and Legal Aid of North Carolina. Steve has been volunteering for Lawyer on the Line since its inception as the formerly known “Call 4All.” He handles approximately half a dozen calls per year, but he often assists the client well beyond the initial call, which has included writing demand letters, problem resolution, and even filing suit on the client’s behalf.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Kevin Pratt

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Pro Bono Project: Lawyer on the Line

By Allison Standard Constance
NCBA member Kevin Pratt understands that pro bono work is an opportunity to demystify the legal process for clients and pave a way to communication that can resolve clients’ issues.  Pratt works on consumer cases with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Lawyer on the Line program, and he also volunteers on landlord-tenant cases with Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte.  In his pro bono work, he finds that information gaps exist between clients and their corporate adversaries, and with representation, the free flow of information allows the parties to better understand the dispute and resolve it amicably.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Kate McCullough

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Pro Bono Project: NC LEAP

By Caroline Trautman
For attorneys working in business law who want to give back, it’s hard to think of a better opportunity than the NC Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program (“NC LEAP”).

And when it comes to attorneys who have taken that opportunity, Kate McCullough immediately comes to mind.

Kate has been an active NC LEAP volunteer since she graduated from Elon University School of Law in 2017. NC LEAP, which is the only statewide program of its kind, provides legal services to low-wealth entrepreneurs. Through her work with NC LEAP, Kate has assisted business owners with a wide range of topics including contracts, trademark registration, company handbooks, operating agreements, and formation. She sat on a panel during the 7th Annual Business Summit – Business Q&A at Vance-Granville Community College.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Heather Culp

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Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Heather Culp
Pro Bono Project: NC Free Legal Answers

By Sarah Hill McIntyre

For Attorney Heather Culp of Essex Richards, P.A. in Charlotte, every year brings the same challenge: to complete at least 50 hours of pro bono work for her fellow North Carolinians.

Find out how you can volunteer with NC Free Legal Answers to do pro bono work at your own pace.

Culp has served as a volunteer attorney with Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Charlotte office since 2010. She was recognized in the inaugural 2016 class of the NC Pro Bono Honor Society, her prior law firm of Mitchell & Culp was awarded the Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont’s 2012 Outstanding Legal Services Award (Small Firm), and she is currently chairing the 2018-2019 Access to Justice Campaign in Mecklenburg County, to benefit Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Charlotte office. Culp strives to accomplish the 50-hour goal, set forth by Rule 6.1, sometimes even accepting pro bono cases through her own intake system in addition to assisting legal service providers. For Culp, doing pro bono work is an acknowledgement of the special skills and training unique to those in the legal profession and of the duty all attorneys have to serve the public.

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NC Pro Bono Honor Society Wants To Recognize Your Work

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By Sylvia Novinsky

Our Supreme Court notes “Equal Justice Under Law” on its building. Yet, access to this justice only truly exists when it is available to all members of our state, regardless of ability to pay. A failure to provide adequate legal services to those of modest means affects both the economic and social fabric of our society, and does not adequately represent the principles of the profession to which we have been called.

For information about the Pro Bono Resource Center and voluntary pro bono reporting, please visit ncprobono.org/report.

Pro bono is one way for attorneys to help narrow the access to justice gap.  We would like to capture your service and celebrate your work.

The NC Pro Bono Resource Center is currently accepting information about the types of activities encouraged by North Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1: pro bono legal service; legal service at a substantially reduced fee; activity that improves the law, the legal system, or the legal profession; non-legal community service; and financial support of legal service providers.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Chadwick McCullen

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Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Chadwick McCullen

Pro Bono Project: Wills for Heroes

By Celia Pistolis

Chadwick McCullen’s pro bono work focuses on Wills for Heroes, a program that enables its volunteers to prepare essential legal documents — including wills, living wills, and powers of attorney — free of charge to North Carolina first responders (police officers, sheriff’s deputies, EMS, fire and rescue workers) and their spouses.

Register to volunteer for a Wills for Heroes clinic or find out how your organization can sponsor a clinic here.

McCullen’s work with the program began in 2010 when he volunteered at various clinics around the state.  He, along with other volunteers, would meet with first responders and their spouses, discuss their estate planning needs, and prepare the appropriate documents.  In 2016, he became a Young Lawyers Division co-chair of the project with Rebecca Rushton.  As a co-chair, his work shifted to planning the clinics (securing a location, feeding the volunteers, advertising the clinic and scheduling clinic appointments) as well as training and providing legal support for the volunteers. This year, the YLD is partnering with the NC Bar Foundation to offer Wills For Heroes clinics, and McCullen is focusing his efforts on conducting volunteer training and serving as the lead Estate Planning Practitioner on site for clinic days.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Robin Stinson

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Pro Bono Volunteer: Robin Stinson

Pro Bono Project: NC Free Legal Answers

By Sidney Thomas

Many people don’t have the finances or time to meet with an attorney. While most attorneys’ provide legal advice on a daily basis, some go the extra mile and answer legal questions for people who cannot afford an attorney or consultation fees through programs, such as NC Free Legal Answers.

Robin Stinson has practiced in Winston-Salem and surrounding counties for more than 34 years. Robin joined Bell, Davis, & Pitt, P.A. in 1997, focusing her practice in family and alternative dispute resolution including mediation, arbitrations, and parenting coordination. Her passion for family law led her recently to begin work with NC Free Legal Answers. Robin spends her free time answering questions related to family law, i.e., the procedure for filing and prosecuting a pro se complaint for child custody or visitation for lower middle class and indigents who cannot afford legal services in the general market.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Molly Gross, NCBA Disaster Legal Services Volunteer

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By Caroline Trautman

Few things make people feel helpless like a natural disaster can. If you’re like most attorneys, your daily work doesn’t involve feeding people, clearing giant trees, or repairing homes. As we settle into our day-to-day work, it’s easy to feel like we don’t have anything to offer people who have lost basic needs like clothing and shelter.

But what we forget is that many of our jobs, at their core, DO involve helping people clean up messes – and the knowledge and skills we’ve picked up along the way are probably more useful than we think.

 

Molly Gross, a young lawyer in Hickory who’s been bitten by the pro bono bug, has figured this out. Her story is proof that attorneys like you can impact people with big needs, even with just a little time. We at the NCBA Pro Bono Committee were so inspired, we thought we’d give her a shout out.

 

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