Pro Bono Board Builds Connections Between Alumni and Students

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Alumni Pro Bono Board 2014
Joey Polonsky 3L moderates a panel of alumni sharing their pro bono experiences. From left, Bethan Eynon ‘12, UNC Center for Civil Rights; Chris Brook ‘05, ACLU of North Carolina; Sherry Everett ‘08, Legal Aid of N.C.; Orla M. O’Hannaidh ‘12, Womble Carlyle.

As the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Alumni Board (PBAB) marks its second year, the group continues to make great strides in connecting alumni with pro bono opportunities and with current UNC law students. During this academic year, PBAB worked to create more pro bono work for alumni while also improving the quality of pro bono at Carolina Law.

The best example of this work is the Cancer Pro Bono Project at UNC’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Alumni Board members participated in the project, working with students and patients to draft financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney and living wills. Members also recruited other Carolina Law alumni to volunteer their time in the bimonthly clinic. Finally, PBAB members have served as mentors for the Carolina Health Law Organization, the student group that sponsors the Cancer Pro Bono Project. Individual board members have worked with the student leaders to improve group processes, recruit and train supervising attorneys, and develop a community education component of the project.

Along with enhancing the pro bono work done through the Pro Bono Program, PBAB also connects alumni with current students. In September, PBAB hosted a networking event, bringing together approximately 50 students and alumni. In February, during Pro Bono Week, PBAB hosted a lunchtime alumni panel, featuring alumni Chris Brook ’05, Bethan Eynon ’12, Orla O’Hannaidh ’12 and Sherry Everett ’08. The attorneys spoke about their experience participating in pro bono work during law school, shared how they fit pro bono work into their current practice, and gave career advice to law students. At their Ask-An-Alum event, PBAB gave students the opportunity to meet individually with board members to discuss the importance of pro bono experience in future careers and ways of highlighting pro bono work in job interviews.

Moving forward, PBAB is taking steps to connect more alumni with pro bono work and with current students. During the 2014-2015 academic year, the Pro Bono Program will launch a volunteer website for alumni. On this new website, alumni will be able to browse and sign up for a variety of pro bono opportunities, including both projects that the Pro Bono Program coordinates and those provided by other legal service providers.

The Pro Bono Program would like to thank the members of PBAB. Co-chairs Jennifer Simmons ’02 and Allison Standard ’09 are joined by a group of 14 board members: Neil Bagchi ’04, Tammy Bouchelle ’01, Chris Brook ’05, Alexis Chappell ’10, Will Corbett ’03, John Duberstein’07, Bethan Eynon ’12, Jennifer Hall ’09, Dan Harrison ’07, Mary Irvine ’11, Seema Jain ’10, Amily McCool ’08, Adam Parker ’13, and Emily Wallwork ’11.

For more information about PBAB contact Sylvia Novinsky, assistant dean for public service programs at snovinsk@email.unc.edu or 919.962.7813.

-June 4, 2014

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106


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