2020 Pro Bono Awards Announced

,

The winners of the North Carolina Bar Association’s 2020 Pro Bono Awards have been selected. The recipients were chosen by members of the NCBA Pro Bono Committee, chaired by Emily Moseley and Jennifer Mencarini.

Congratulations to each recipient and their nominators, who provided the background and biographical information included below for each honoree.

Read more

Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Yazmeen Gadalla

Pro Bono Project: Wills for Heroes

As we all process the ongoing events related to the Covid-19 pandemic, one source of comfort is knowing that helpers, like first responders, healthcare workers, and so many others, are doing the impactful work they’ve always done – saving lives.

Lately, their works seems particularly meaningful and dangerous, but they have been heroes since long before this pandemic.

Another one of the helpers out there is Yazmeen Gadalla. Gadalla, a corporate paralegal at Smith Anderson, has volunteered to help first responders at multiple Wills for Heroes events, and the NCBA Pro Bono Committee is very grateful for her work.

 

Read more

Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Michael Martinez

Pro Bono Project: Lawyer on the Line

By Rachel Royal
Perspective. That is what Michael Martinez, Bankruptcy and Corporate Attorney at Grier Wright Martinez, P.A., gleans from his pro bono work. He shares, “It really helps the effectiveness of my tact and approach dealing with my corporate clients when I’m simultaneously working with a pro bono client trying to save a house or put food on the table.” Although he has worked at the same firm since graduating from law school in 2009, Michael has volunteered for a wide variety of pro bono causes.

Read more

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!

Read more

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.

Read more

Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Epstein

,

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.

Read more

Pro Bono Spotlight: Kevin Pratt

,

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.

Read more

Pro Bono Spotlight: Kate McCullough

,

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.

Read more

Pro Bono Spotlight: Heather Culp

,

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.

Read more

NC Pro Bono Honor Society Wants To Recognize Your Work

,

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.

Read more