Pro Bono Program Alumni Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Newsletter: Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Spring has been a busy time for the Pro Bono Program and we are excited to give you an update on our semester. Carolina Law students have been busy this semester serving the North Carolina community and beyond. Whether they participated in a Special Trip over Winter or Spring break or they worked on a project with a local attorney, our students are committed to helping others through their Pro Bono Service. Our Alumni have been active participants in the Pro Bono Program as well, hosting a 15th anniversary celebration for the Program, sitting on an Alumni Panel for our students, and further defining their work as a Pro Bono Alumni Board.

Check out the rest of our newsletter to see more of the exciting work of the Pro Bono Program and our Alumni this semester. If you would like any additional information about our program or the photographs you see here, please feel free to visit our website. Thank you for your continued support and interest in the Pro Bono Program. We look forward to connecting with each of you soon and as always we would love to hear from you with comments, updates, or just to say hello!


Annie Bryan
Pro Bono Program Alumni Coordinator

Announcing Our Award Winners

Congratulations to our 2013 Pro Bono Publico Award Winners. Winners were recognized during a reception at the law school on April 10, 2013.

Back Row, L-R: DJ Dore (Graduating Student of the Year); Debbie McDermott (2L Student of the Year); Jodi Schur (2L Student of the Year); Professor Jon McClanahan (Faculty Member of the Year)
Front Row, L-R: Dean Sylvia Novinsky (Program Advisor); Gabrielle Johnson (1L Student of the Year); Gabriell Vires (3L Student of the Year); Alexandria Bryant and Gina LeBlanc (representing BLSA as Student Group of the Year); Meriwether Evans (Program Director)
*Not Pictured: Ray Owens (Alumnus of the Year)

And, the Final Results are...


Ray Owens, 2013 Pro Bono Alumnus of the Year

Ray Owens, Carolina Law Class of 1978, was honored as this year's Pro Bono Alumnus of the Year in February. Mr. Owens is a partner at Higgins and Owens in Charlotte, and he was selected from a highly competitive pool of nominees from across the country. Mr. Owens was recognized for his ongoing commitment to pro bono service and, in particular, for his work in Brunswick County on environmental justice issues. As one nominator commented, Mr. Owens service "will have broad and deep impact for all people seeking relief under North Carolina's Fair Housing Act, and Ray's assistance--his experience as a litigator and negotiator has been invaluable in this very complex litigation against one of the state's largest corporate and municipal defense firms." Congratulations Mr. Owens and thank you for your continued commitment to pro bono service.

Pro Bono Trips: Experiencing Our Education

UNC Law students enjoyed the chance to give back to communities across the state during Winter and Spring Break this year. Roughly twenty students participated in each trip, and over the course of the two trips, UNC students served more than 100 clients.

During Winter Break, students had the opportunity to visit Cherokee, NC and host a free legal clinic for the members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. Students worked on issues related to divorce, child custody, and general property issues. Students also had the chance to participate in non-legal activities related to Cherokee culture and government

Students on the Cherokee, NC Winter Break trip attend a Cherokee Tribal Council Meeting
Students on the Cherokee, NC Winter Break trip gather outside the Cherokee Courthouse for a legal clinic

On the Spring Break trip, students had the opportunity to participate in trips to either Eastern or Western North Carolina and prepare wills, advance directives, and other documents for individuals in each community.

Students write wills at Senior Center on Western Spring Break Trip
1L Valerie Mason and 2L Belal Elrahal work with clients on the Western NC Spring Break Trip
Pastor Bell gives students on the Eastern NC Spring Break Trip a tour of the Lincoln Heights Community, outside of Roanoke Rapids

Pro Bono Week

This spring, the Pro Bono Program hosted our annual Pro Bono Week. Pro Bono Week is a chance for the Pro Bono Program to thank students for their commitment to pro bono service. In addition to a week of activities, this year's Pro Bono Week featured a day of Alumni Interaction. On Thursday, February 7, members of our Pro Bono Alumni Board served on a panel during lunch and spoke to students about using their pro bono work as they seek employment opportunities. The week ended with a celebration at the Rizzo Center, where students, alumni, and Pro Bono Program supporters mingled and celebrated more than 15 years of the Pro Bono Program.

Students attend a panel of Pro Bono Alumni Board members during Pro Bono Week
Pro Bono Alumni Board Member, Will Corbett talks with 3L Andrew Brown at the Pro Bono Alumni Celebration

Pro Bono Alumni Board

Thank you to this year's Pro Bono Alumni Board! Sixteen alumni participated in the inaugural Pro Bono Alumni Board, chaired by Tammy Bouchelle and Jennifer Simmons. We are thrilled to announce that Jennifer Simmons will stay on as chair for the 2013-2014 year, and will be joined by vice-chair Allison Standard. Thank you to all of our Pro Bono Alumni Board Members for your hard work and dedication to the Pro Bono Program!

Back Row L-R: Tammy Bouchelle, Alexis Chappell, Allison Standard, Mary Irvine, Will Corbett, Chris Brook
Front Row L-R: Dean Sylvia Novinsky, Seema Kakad-Jain, Jennifer Simmons, Bethan Eynon, Emily Wallwork, Jennifer Hall
Not pictured: Neil Bagchi, Suzanne Buckley, John Duberstein, Amily McCool, Boz Zellinger

Introducing the New Pro Bono Board

Congratulations to the members of the Pro Bono Board for the 2013-2014 School Year.

Back Row L-R: Belal Elrahal (Attorney Projects Coordinator); Gabe Kussin (2L Class Coordinator); James Jolley (Director); Joey Polonsky (3L Class Coordinator); Samuel Williams (Special Trips Co-Coordinator); Munashe Magirira (New Project Development Coordinator)
Front Row L-R: Kelly Anderson (Alumni Outreach Coordinator); Sarah Colwell (Groups Project Coordinator); Dean Sylvia Novinsky (Program Advisor); Caitlin Bernstein (Public Relations Coordinator); Kathleen Lockwood (Special Trips Co-Coordinator); Ramona Baker (Winter Break/Spring Break Coordinator)

Thank You to the 2012-2013 Pro Bono Board

Thank you to the members of the 2012-2013 Pro Bono Board. We will miss you next year and wish you luck in all of your future endeavors.

Back Row L-R: Gabe Kussin (1L Class Coordinator); Tanner Kroeger (Public Relations Coordinator); James Jolley (Winter/Spring Break Coordinator); Munashe Magarira (Special Trips Co-Coordinator)
Middle Row L-R: Kelly Anderson (Special Trips Co-Coordinator); Annie Bryan (Alumni Outreach Coordinator); Kathryn Van Wie (3L Class Coordinator); Jean Abreu (New Project Development Coordinator); Joey Polonksy (2L Class Coordinator)
Front Row L-R: Dean Sylvia Novinsky (Program Advisor); Sarah Colwell (Attorney Projects Coordinator); Meriwether Evans (Director); Yolanda Fair (Group Projects Coordinator)

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

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