Pro Bono Program Alumni Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Newsletter: Saturday, December 21, 2013


Happy Holidays! This fall has been an eventful time for the Pro Bono Program, and we are excited to share some of the highlights with you. This newsletter gives an idea of how many UNC Law alumni have supported the pro bono work done by UNC Law students and other alumni.

The Pro Bono Alumni Board is now in its second year, currently chaired by Jennifer Simmons and Allison Standard. The Pro Bono Alumni Board continues to think about ways that UNC Law alumni can connect with pro bono opportunities and reconnect with each other and current UNC Law students. Carolina Law students continued to serve the community this semester through new attorney and group projects, our inaugural "Fall Breakthrough," and record-breaking winter break project signups.

Feel free to visit our website for more information on pro bono opportunities and events provided by the Pro Bono Alumni Board. As always, we look forward to connecting with each of you soon. Please drop us a line at with comments, updates, or just to say hello!


Kelly Anderson
Pro Bono Program Alumni Coordinator

Pro Bono Alumni Board

This year marks the second year of our Pro Bono Alumni Board. The Board meets in person three times each year to plan and hold events for law students and lawyers dedicated to public service. Co-chairs Jennifer Simmons and Allison Standard are joined by a group of 15 other Pro Bono Alumni Board members: Neil Bagchi, Tammy Bouchelle, Chris Brook, Suzanne Buckley, Alexis Chappell, Will Corbett, John Duberstein, Bethan Eynon, Jennifer Hall, Dan Harrison, Mary Irvine, Seema Kakad Jain, Amily McCool, Adam Parker, and Emily Wallwork.

In September, members of the Pro Bono Alumni Board participated in the Cancer Pro Bono Legal Project at UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Board members worked with UNC law students and patients to draft financial powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, and living wills.

The Pro Bono Alumni Board also had its first social networking event of the academic year, bringing together students and alumni for an evening of great food and conversation.

Thank you all for your hard work and dedication this year! For more information about our alumni initiatives, please visit our website, or email our Alumni Coordinator, Kelly Anderson at

SPOTLIGHT ON: Fall Breakthrough

Fall Breakthrough was a two-day pro bono project that took place over Fall Break. In total, 37 students participated in Fall Breakthrough. As a result of their efforts, 51 individuals received legal help or advice. On the first day of the project, students heard a keynote speech from Professor Gene Nichol, participated in a panel on unmet legal needs moderated by Professor Tamar Birckhead, and engaged in guided reflections led by 3Ls. On the second day, students engaged in three different pro bono projects in the local community: (1) Navigator Project; (2) Expungement Clinic; and (3) Domestic Violence Project. For the Navigator Project, seventeen students worked with Legal Aid in Greensboro and Fayetteville to help assist consumers applying to receive health care in the federal marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act. Fourteen students participated in the expungement clinic and worked with Legal Aid of Pittsboro to help determine clients' eligibility for expungement relief. Finally, six students volunteered for the Domestic Violence Project, working with Legal Aid of Durham and participating in DV case management work.

Fall Breakthrough
From Left to Right: Janet McAuley-Blue (UNC Law ’80), Managing Attorney, Legal Aid Greensboro; Miriam Heard; Will Fong; Julia Welch; Stephanie Mellini; James Jolley; Zach Samuels; Haley Phillips; Racheal Hammond; Sarah Walker; George Schnikel; Corey Frost.
Fall Breakthrough
From Left to Right: Kandace Watkins; Prium Singh; Jamie Rudd; Chad Malmberg; Amily McCool (UNC Law '08); Alicia Rowedder; Kellie Corbett; Charlotte Davis.

Group Projects

Our student organizations have started the year strong, implementing and supporting 26 group projects in the fall semester! Their dedication to and passion for their respective interests has been evident in the hours their pro bono coordinators have spent planning, publicizing, and implementing projects and in the number of students eager to sign up.

Some groups, such as the Education Law and Policy Society, have chosen to take on discrete research projects from attorneys in the areas. Others have focused mainly on daylong projects. For example, this fall, Lambda hosted an event during which same-sex couples were able to obtain health care powers of attorney, the American Constitution Society went into local schools to teach elementary students about the Civil Rights Act, and Child Action coordinated a mock trial with the School of Social Work.

Still other groups have implemented long-term projects. The Domestic Violence Project, for instance, has partnered with the Orange County Sheriff's Department and Family Violence and Rape Crisis Services to implement an Ex Parte Project through which domestic violence survivors can receive assistance in filing for temporary protective orders.

And there's no keeping these groups local. Acting with an awareness of the need for legal services in areas of the state that are outside of the Triangle, our groups have mobilized students to assist with expungement clinics in Southern Pines, to execute wills and powers of attorney in Tarboro, and to help residents of eastern North Carolina who have been adversely affected by the hog industry. Stay tuned for more exciting news from our groups this spring!

Winter Break Sign Ups

Once again, UNC Law Students set a new record last month when 192 students pledged to complete approximately 3,100 hours of pro bono service over the upcoming Winter Break. In an effort led by Winter Break Projects Coordinator, Ramona Baker, the Pro Bono Program received 88 different projects from 61 organizations.

Additionally, this is the first year that the Pro Bono Program has implemented its Winter Break Mentor Program! Through this program, student project volunteers had the option to be assigned a 2L or 3L mentor to act as a resource and guide them through the process of their first pro bono project. This year, 29 students volunteered to serve as mentors, and 103 students were assigned a mentor.

The Pro Bono Board would like to give special thanks to all of the UNC Law alumni who helped by either submitting a project or recruiting other attorneys to do so. Because of your efforts and support, we offered more projects to more students than ever before. Thank you for all you do to help make our Winter Break Projects a success!

Winter Break Signups
Winter Break Signups

COMING SOON: Monthly Updates

Thanks again to all the alumni that help make the Pro Bono Program a success! Starting in January, look for our new monthly update emails, featuring news from the Pro Bono Board and the Pro Bono Alumni Board, as well as write-ups on inspiring alumni and their work in the community.

Happy Holidays from the Pro Bono Board!

Pro Bono Board
From Left to Right: Sarah Hill Colwell (Student Group Projects Coordinator); Kelly Anderson (Alumni Outreach Coordinator); Munashe Magarira (New Projects Development Coordinator); Ramona Baker (Winter & Spring Break Projects Coordinator); James Jolley (Director); Kathleen Lockwood (Special Trips Coordinator); Gabriel Kussin (2L Class Coordinator); Sylvia Novinsky (Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs); Belal Elrahal (Attorney Projects Coordinator); Caitlin Bernstein (Public Relations Coordinator); Samuel Williams (Special Trips Coordinator); Jared Smith (1L Class Coordinator). Not Pictured: Joey Polonsky (3L Class Coordinator).

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

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