Pro Bono Volunteer 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.
Having a background in business, Kate knew that she wanted to focus on corporate, business, and contract law. Volunteering for NC LEAP helped Kate build experience in these practice areas soon after graduating while also doing something she has always loved – helping others in need. “NC LEAP provides an opportunity for individuals who may not have finances to seek financial or legal advice about building a business,” she said. She pointed out that starting a business requires a great deal of work, time, and resources that many people don’t have and that NC LEAP “really empowers people” through its services.
Kate has first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to start a business with limited resources, and this also drew Kate to NC LEAP. Kate started a non-profit of her own when she was living in Boston several years ago. Her charity, Wrapped Up in Sports, Inc., made nearly 1,000 sports-themed quilts out of Red Sox and other sports team jerseys and apparel for needy and sick children. The non-profit was such a hit that it even partnered with Fenway Park, which offered free space to women to make the quilts. The charity donated the quilts to hospitals and homeless shelters. Kate recalled that she got her non-profit off the ground with the help of a pro bono attorney who schooled her on things like Employee Identification Numbers, business incorporation basics, and contracts. She says that the dedicated attorney who helped her set up Wrapped Up In Sports inspired her to pay it forward once Kate earned her law degree.
Volunteering with NC LEAP also enhanced Kate’s career in business law. After graduating, she started working for the NC Community College System. Because NC LEAP clients are often from the Community College Small Business Center, she was able to help NC LEAP partner with community colleges throughout the state and also connect with entrepreneurs and talk with them about their legal needs. Kate now works in Winston-Salem as an in-house Contracts Manager with Collins Aerospace, a large company serving the aerospace and defense industry around the globe. Kate is a member of the NCBA Government/Public Section and also volunteers with Legal Aid.