January Pro Bono Update
Spring semester began with students off and running, preparing for and participating in many Pro Bono projects and opportunities. Students are currently busy with various attorney-sponsored projects such as partnering with Legal Aid and local Public Defenders' Offices, or volunteering with our student groups such as the Domestic Violence Action Project's new Subpoena Defense Project. Also, planning has begun for Spring Break Trips and Projects. Also, January closed out with a week long celebration, Pro Bono Week!
As a way to show continual commitment to Pro Bono, please visit the Alumni
Pro Bono Opportunity Portal. Practicing attorneys are able to search for existing
Pro Bono Projects in need of attorney volunteers. Legal service providers are also
encouraged to submit Pro Bono projects in need of attorney volunteers.
If you would like any additional information 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!
Pro Bono Program Alumni Coordinator
Featuring Our Alumni
Name and Year of
Graduation from UNC Law:
H. Pontz, UNC Law Class of 1996.
Place of Employment:
Sanders LLP in Atlanta, Georgia.
Area of Practice:
Partner, Labor &
in law school:
Martin Louis, Civil Procedure. The class was one of the hardest, and
Professor Louis was ill, but he had such energy for the subject matter, and he
taught not just the law, but how to think and analyze problems like a
lawyer. I feel like I use nearly every
day some information I learned and skills I began to develop in that class.
Pro bono experience in law
I regretfully never felt I had the time to take
advantage of the pro bono opportunities afforded to us as law school students,
but, with the benefit of experience and hindsight, I wish I had done so. If I were to give advice to anyone still in school, it would be to take advantage
of pro bono opportunities. You'll find you learn more than you think you
will and you'll give back more than you realize.
What inspired or prompted
you to start doing pro bono work?
the child of artists, I wanted to support and give back to the arts community,
but since I had no artistic talent, I figured I'd better try to help in the
ways I thought I could be useful – as a lawyer. I got involved with and onto the Board of Georgia Lawyers for the Arts,
and from there, as I learned more about the real pro bono opportunities and
needs in our area, I found other organizations (particularly Atlanta Legal Aid
and Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation) that I could work with to help. I also always appreciated the support from my
firm and the freedom to pursue the pro bono work that I felt the strongest
interest in performing.
What does your current
pro bono practice look like?
serve as the Board Chair of Georgia Lawyers for the Arts and on the Board of
the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, so I am part of helping to make sure those
organizations are able to carry out their important missions. I take arts-related pro bono cases through
GLA, and various types of matters through ALAS, such as preparing wills and
advanced directives for cancer patients, plus, I also represent tenants in
fighting wrongful evictions in Magistrate's Court, where otherwise they would
have no representation at all. I also
help various non-profit organizations through the Pro Bono Partnership of
Atlanta, usually with employment-related matters.
Pro Bono Week
Pro Bono Week was a celebration of what our students have been doing to meet unmet legal needs in our community as well as encouraging them to continue getting involved by showing them great new chances to do Pro Bono! January 26-30 was packed with great activities designed to shine the spotlight on the Pro Bono.
First, Monday's event was the Pro Bono Projects and Opportunities Fair, featuring student group representatives that were available to speak to interested students. There was an informational meeting held on Tuesday for the Spring Break Trips and Projects. On Wednesday, the Carolina Difference Campaign highlighted ways our students are making a difference in our community through Pro Bono. Thursday boasted a sweet event: the Pro Bono Week Cookie Giveaway, that was made possible with homemade treats baked by the Pro Bono Board! Friday concluded the week with the Alumni Pro Bono Networking Luncheon. This invitation-only event allowed students with a demonstrated commitment to Pro Bono to meet and talk with attorneys from different practice areas about how Pro Bono intersects with their careers.
Students and attorneys gathered over lunch to discuss how Pro Bono plays a role in their legal careers
Jared Smith (2L, Public Relations Coordinator) and Seema Jain ('10, Alumni Pro Bono Networking Luncheon Moderator and Pro Bono Alumni Board Vice-Chair)
Hillary Li (1L) and Allison Standard ('09, Pro Bono Alumni Board Chair)
Students preparing to enjoy a wonderful lunch at the Friday event
L-R: Carly Baker (1L), Amily McCool ('08), Elizabeth Windham (1L)