Pro Bono Program Alumni Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Newsletter: Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pro Bono Program Update

Happy New Year from the Pro Bono Program! While classes are out of session, more than 150 students committed to participate in Pro Bono over the break, either through Winter Break projects, or the Winter Break trip to Cherokee, NC. Thanks to those of you who submitted projects and have supervised students over the break!

Twenty-two students traveled to Cherokee soon after the end of exams to participate in two days of legal clinics. In the first clinic, students prepared and executed last will and testament, advanced directive, health care power of attorney, and power of attorney documents. 18 clients were served at the clinic, and over 20 documents were executed. In the second clinic, students met with 15 clients to help with divorces and expunction relief. The trip was a very rewarding experience for everyone involved, and we are extremely grateful to our community partners for helping make this trip possible.

If you would like to know more about the program or the photographs you see here, please feel free to visit our website. Thank you for your continued interest in the Pro Bono Program!


James Wudel
Pro Bono Alumni Outreach Coordinator

Featuring Our Alumni

Name and year of graduation from UNC Law:

Deonte’ L. Thomas, Class of 2005

Place of employment:

Wake County Public Defender’s Office

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Judicial Sentencing & Actual Innocence - Classes Ken Broun - Professor

Pro Bono experience in law school:

The Innocence Project/Law 4 Us/Orange County Public Defender's Office/Various Pro Bono Winter Projects

What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work?

I have always felt the need to try and give back whenever possible. Without a few key decisions in my life, I could have easily been in the same position as my clients, so I have always wanted to try and “pay it forward” as much as I can.

Outside of my “normal” job serving indigent clients, I often attend community focused events that attempt to help my clients once they are outside of the judicial system. Recently I worked with a large pro bono community to help people expunge their records and restore their licenses. I have also been a speaker or a mentee for many youth focused non-profits here in Raleigh. My work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters has also been very fulfilling.

How has your Pro Bono work benefited you? (ie. your career, business development if in private practice, professional development, networking, etc.)?

Through my pro bono work I have met many different lawyers doing widely different segments of law, but with similar mindsets on life and the changes we would like to see in the world. Doing pro bono work reinvigorates me and reminds me of how there is a huge community of people that are working to make this world a better place and that is especially helpful when I become jaded or disenchanted with my “regular” work.

Read More!

Highlights from the Month!

Cherokee Trip Group Shot
Students on the Winter Break trip and Dean Martin Brinkley pause for a photo outside the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

Students working on winter break trip
Mike Jones (3L) and Sierra Lyda (1L) prepare advance directives and a will for their client at Tsali Manor Senior Center in Cherokee.

To learn more about the Pro Bono Program, including how you can be involved, email

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