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Tag Archives: Pro Bono

Redefining “pro bono”   (access required)

Pro bono cases are often simple matters in which a lawyer donates a few hours to resolve a legal tangle on behalf of someone who can’t afford counsel. But sometimes the cases taken on for free can have a huge cost in time and emotion — and a huge payoff in personal and professional satisfaction. That was the kind of case two young Raleigh attorneys (Erin Mulligan Graber and Catherine Bailey, pictured) worked on for months and finally brought to a successful end this summer.

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The eight-year itch (access required)

It took him nearly eight years to complete, but attorney William L. Esser IV of Charlotte stuck with a pro bono case that resulted in a very happy — and surprised — client. Esser serves on the pro bono committee for his firm, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein. In 2002, he began working on a landlord-tenant referral from Legal Aid. The case required him to be part attorney, part investigator, but solidified his belief that good things happen when lawyers help those who need it the most.

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NCBA holds fourth annual 4ALL service day (access required)

Over 470 attorneys, law students and paralegals from across the state fielded telephone calls from the public on March 4, taking questions about everything from child custody to foreclosures to prisoner's rights. The event was the N.C. Bar Association's 4ALL Statewide Service Day, an annual event started four years ago by then-President Janet Ward Black. Call centers were staffed by volunteers in Asheville, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh and Wilmington. An additional call center was available for Spanish-speaking callers.

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Coach’s Corner: Public virtue versus private violation

Many of the largest law firms strive to be paragons of public virtue in their programs intended to foster social responsibility. Pro bono service is the most obvious example. Nearly 15 years ago the American Bar Association and the Pro Bono Institute launched the "Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge" for larger firms with more than 50 lawyers to make an institutional, rather than an individual lawyer, pro bono commitment.

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Guest Commentary: Student-lawyers help legal community meet pro bono needs

The effects of a troubled economy, including foreclosures, joblessness and residential evictions, heighten demand for legal assistance but also render more clients unable to pay for those services. Nonprofit legal organizations, like Legal Aid of North Carolina, and attorneys offering pro bono services struggle to provide assistance to all those in need. This increased demand for pro bono legal services renders a longstanding opportunity for law students particularly valuable.

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Legal Aid struggles to place cases with lawyers in rural areas (access required)

Officials from Legal Aid of North Carolina are quick to praise the state's attorneys for providing pro bono representation to their clients. But the staffers who spend each day recruiting private attorneys to lower LANC's ballooning case load say the need for relief remains great - and unmet - especially in the state's rural areas. Coordinators across the state also come up against some philosophical walls that are harder to break down, noted Cynthia Alleman (pictured), who was named the NCBA's 2010 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in June.

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