Pro Bono Program Celebrates 20 Years of Service, Training, Launches Endowment Fund

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Hundreds of Carolina Law students have provided free legal assistance while learning practical skills.

Attendees at the Pro Bono Program 20th Anniversary Celebration
Attendees at the Pro Bono Program 20th Anniversary Celebration on September 22. Photo by Donn Young.

More than 100 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of UNC School of Law gathered at the Johnston Center for Academic Excellence on campus in late September to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the school’s Pro Bono Program. Many of the alumni in attendance served on the student-led board during their time in law school, and gathered to share memories and stories from throughout the program's history. 

Though much of the evening was dedicated to catching up with old friends and making new ones, the celebration included remarks from four individuals with close ties to the Pro Bono Program.

Allison Standard ’09, who has been director of pro bono initiatives since late 2016, began with a welcome and thank you to attendees. She introduced the rest of the speaker line up: Sylvia Novinsky, the former assistant dean of public service programs and current director of the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center; Seth Morris 3L, the current student director of the Pro Bono Board; and James Jolley ’14, the student director in 2013-2014 and current chair of the Pro Bono Alumni Board.

Novinsky spoke about the program's humble beginnings in 1997 when she and two students set out to create more pro bono opportunities for students in the law school. She discussed how the program evolved over time into a 13-student board that has pushed student participation above 90 percent in the past two graduating classes. 

Morris spoke about the Pro Bono Program from a student perspective. He discussed the important role the program plays in helping students meet legal needs and develop their legal skills. He also discussed the positive impact that the program has on the perception of the law school in communities across the state.

Jolley reminisced about his time as a Pro Bono Board member, shared his excitement about the program's future, and introduced the program's endowment campaign, which will support pro bono projects and trips during fall, winter and spring breaks.

“I’m proud to announce that the endowment campaign, which formally launched in August, has already raised more than 60 percent of the $50,000 goal,” said Jolley. “With your help, we can support and build on the proud tradition of pro bono at Carolina Law.”

Learn more about the Pro Bono Program and how to support the endowment campaign at

-October 9, 2017

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