February Pro Bono Update
February has been an exciting time for the Pro Bono Program at Carolina Law. Returning students are beginning to think about how Pro Bono will fit into their student experience next year, and graduating students are considering how their Pro Bono experiences can help them transition to practice. To support 3Ls in their lifelong commitment to Pro Bono work, the program, in partnership with UNC Law, kicked off "Practically Transitioned," a series of events and information that share the many ways the Carolina Law Pro Bono Program connects our attorneys to the school and to Pro Bono work.
"Practically Transitioned" began with a networking event at the Ackland Art Museum, at which Dean Martin Brinkley '92 and Justice Cheri Beasley shared the importance of this work to 3L students. The campaign will culminate with a reception at this year's Pro Bono Publico Award ceremony, which will be held at lunch on April 13.
To that end, we would like to invite you to recognize and nominate a UNC Law Alumnus that has performed outstanding legal Pro Bono work at this April Publico Award ceremony. Award criteria can be found here. The deadline for submitting your nomination is March 18th at 5PM.
If you want more information about how to get involved in Pro Bono work, be sure to check out the Attorney Pro Bono Opportunities site, where you can find a Pro Bono Project, sign up for e-mail alerts to be notified when a new project is posted, or, if you are a legal service provider, post your project in need of attorney volunteers.
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!
Pro Bono Alumni Outreach Coordinator
Featuring Our Alumni
Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:
Nancy Ray, UNC Law Class of 2001
Place of employment:
State of North Carolina -- Magistrate; East Carolina University -- Instructor
Area of practice:
When I was in private practice, I handled criminal law, family law, and juvenile law matters.
Favorite class/professor in law school:
Family Law with Marion Crain
What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work?
There are many children involved with our local juvenile court who do not qualify for representation by the Guardian Ad Litem program, because they are considered dependent children and not abused or neglected children. Dependent children come into the care of the Department of Social Services because they lack a parent who can provide care for them or who can make arrangements for their care. Most of the dependent children who do not have a GAL or GAL attorney are older children. Often, those children have some of the most urgent, unmet educational and social needs. I volunteered as a GAL attorney advocate in order to provide those children with representation in court. After I took a position as a magistrate, I could not actively practice law, but I could continue to volunteer as a GAL. I remain an active advocate for abused and neglected children in Pitt County. I also volunteer with our local Teen Court, which diverts children from juvenile delinquency court and allows them to have a sentencing hearing before a jury of their peers. It is important to me to empower young people by giving them a voice in the court system and encouraging their direct participation in court activity.
How has your Pro Bono work benefited you? (ie. your career, business development if in private practice, professional development, networking, etc.)?
Helping these children navigate the DSS system has taught me much about the local resources that are available for young people, substance abusers, and the mentally ill. I have met and learned from so many professionals who care deeply for children and vulnerable adults. I am running for District Court judge in Pitt County, and the cases that I have handled as part of my pro bono work are sources of inspiration for me. I want to make sure that children and young people are treated fairly in the court system and that their best interest is the court’s main consideration.
What is the single best reason you can give a law student to continue Pro Bono service in practice after graduation from law school?
The more people you meet, and the more diverse those people are, the broader your own perspective becomes. You become a better person and a better attorney. Pro bono work is a great way to serve others, to learn about other people’s life experiences, and to become a kinder and smarter person.
Highlights from the Month!
Justice Cheri Beasley connects with students and alumni at Practically Transitioned 2016: A Pro Bono Networking Social.
Visit us at facebook.com/uncprobono to see alumni share about how they stay connected to the Carolina Law Pro Bono Program.