Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter: Monday, October 3, 2016

In this Issue: September 2016

The Pro Bono Program has had quite a start to the 2016-2017 school year! Thanks to all of the students, faculty and staff who came out and supported the Program during our Annual Pro Bono Food Truck Rodeo, our Annual Pro Bono Kickoff Event and our Pro Bono Student-Alumni Social! Please check out the rest of this newsletter for monthly updates, exciting Pro Bono opportunities, and upcoming events.

  • September News
  • Attorney Projects
  • Student Groups Spotlight
  • Upcoming Events

News: September 2016

New Year, New Look: UNC Law Pro Bono Program gets new logo

The UNC Law Pro Bono Program is proud to unveil its new logo to the student body! Be on the lookout for the new logo on the Program's promotional materials and social media in the near future. The Program would like to extend a special thanks to Dean Barefoot, who made our new logo both a possibility and a success!
Pro Bono Logo

Pro Bono Board Introduces Sierra Lyda as the new 1L Class Coordinator

Please join us in congratulating Sierra on her new position as the 1L Class Coordinator! Sierra grew up in Hendersonville, NC, but has lived in Chapel Hill for the past four years. She graduated early from UNC-Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Interpersonal and Organizational Communications. During her time as an undergraduate, Sierra participated in an honors study abroad program in Rome, Italy, and interned for the web-based company Airbnb in San Francisco, California. After graduation, Sierra returned to her home in Hendersonville to coach the women's soccer team at Apple Valley Middle School.

Sierra was attracted to the Pro Bono Program at UNC Law because it gives students a chance to gain invaluable legal experience while giving back to their surrounding community. As the 1L Class Coordinator, Sierra looks forward to helping her peers get connected with other students, attorneys, and wonderful Pro Bono opportunities. When she is not at the Law School, Sierra enjoys playing tennis and soccer, attending Zumba classes, painting, and drawing. Sierra will be the main Pro Bono Program point of contact going forward for the Class of 2019.

Pro Bono Program hosts successful Annual Pro Bono Food Truck Rodeo

Students at 2016 Pro Bono Food Truck Rodeo

Earlier in September, the Program hosted its Annual Pro Bono Food Truck Rodeo to raise money for its special trips. The event featured local food trucks, including Local Yogurt, Captain Poncho's Tacos, Churba Churba, and Will and Pops. Thank you to all of the students, faculty and staff who came out to make this year's Rodeo a great success!

Class Participation Updates

Each of the classes at UNC Law is making strides to improve class Pro Bono participation! Here are the current class participation statistics as of September 2016:

Class of 2017 (3Ls): 84.7%
Class of 2018 (2Ls): 71.3%
Class of 2019 (1Ls): 7.4%

Attorney-Sponsored Projects

To secure a spot on an Attorney-Sponsored Project, you must sign up at the Pro Bono Bulletin Board near the student mailboxes. For other questions please contact Ashlee Suttle, Attorney Projects Coordinator, at

DSS Internship: Durham County Attorney (Children's Issues and Family Law)

This office is a subdivision of the Durham County Attorney, and this Pro Bono opportunity is focused on providing 2L and 3L students with practical experience. The office represents the Department of Social Services in court on child abuse, neglect, and dependency cases. Interns in this office have opportunities to observe court, prepare upcoming trials under the direction of County Attorneys, draft pleadings, draft court orders, review evidence, research key areas of law, work on appellate briefs for pending appeals, and sit in on client meetings.

Interns eligible under the 3L Practice Rule have the opportunity to take part in trial practice and have an increased role in trial preparation, including preparing witnesses, questioning witnesses in court, and handling simple cases. Students should commit 6 - 10 hours per week throughout the fall semester to this project.

Key Skills Developed: Legal Research and Writing, Trial Experience, Client Interviewing

Research the Proper Representative of the State of North Carolina (Criminal Law)

Legal Aid of North Carolina is looking for two students to work together remotely to research the following questions: who is the proper representative of the State of North Carolina for matters in litigation related to statutorily proscribed relief as determined by the North Carolina Legislature.

Students will research whether case law has found that a local District Attorney's Office lacks the authority to do some act which then was litigated by the Attorney General's Office either in support or in opposition to the DA Office's position. The research should identify where clear delineation exists between the authority of these two bodies, as well as any gray areas, and provide examples. The two students will collaborate to produce a memorandum of law and a table of cases on the issue. This project will require a total of 20 - 25 hours combined for both students.

Key Skills Developed: Legal Research and Writing, Statutory Interpretation

Student Groups Spotlight

Student Groups Coordinators

Our student groups kicked off the 2016 school year with a Pro Bono meeting filled with food, fun, and productivity! This year our Student Groups Coordinator, Quisha Mallette, is working hard to ensure that student groups have ample opportunities to get involved with Pro Bono. Many student groups at UNC Law offer wonderful opportunities to participate in Pro Bono projects. Throughout the school year, this section will highlight student groups' successes in Pro Bono and will feature new, exciting Pro Bono opportunities from student groups.

For more information about how your student group can get involved with Pro Bono, please contact Quisha Mallette, Student Groups Coordinator.

Upcoming Events

Sign Up to Volunteer for Election Protection

We're making a big push to sign students up for the non-partisan, Election Protection Hotline. This project will allow you to participate in the democratic process while developing valuable client counseling and analytical skills. You will also have the opportunity to work alongside attorneys from the Center for Civil Rights and other great organizations. All volunteers will staff the Election Protection Hotline by answering calls from voters requesting assistance on Election Day, November 8th, 2016.

This non-partisan hotline will be housed at UNC Law from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. Volunteers are asked to sign up for one or more 2-hour shifts. All volunteers must complete one mandatory training before staffing the hotline on Election Day. Trainings will be offered on Thursday, October 27th at 4:30 p.m. and again on Friday, November 4th at 2:30 p.m. in Room 4085. Trainings will run approximately 2-3 hours in person and will include an online training portion that the student must complete in addition to the in-person training. All training hours will count toward a student's Pro Bono hours.

Click here to sign up today for Election Protection Hotline!

Class of 2019: Introducing the 1L Pro Bono College Cup

This year, the Pro Bono Program is making things interesting by kicking off a friendly competition - think Hogwarts House Cup but for Pro Bono - between the three colleges in the 1L class.

Students of Aycock, Brandis, and Coates will compete over the course of the Fall and Spring semester to make the largest impact on the UNC Law Pro Bono community. There will be a fabulous prize for the winning college at the close of the year, but right now we need your input!

1L Students have until October 7th to submit designs for their college's "house sigil." This is the logo that will represent your college in the Pro Bono College Cup competition. Your respective college will then get to vote on all of the options submitted for their respective sigil. The design you choose will stick with you for the rest of the year, so make it good!

Please email all submissions to Sierra Lyda, 1L Class Coordinator.

Don't Forget to Log Your Pro Bono Hours

We are off to a great start this year with increasing our student body's Pro Bono participation! Make sure that you help continue this trend by logging your Pro Bono hours. If you worked in an unpaid public interest internship this summer, you may be able to log up to 25 Pro Bono hours for your summer work! Please reach out to your class coordinator for help logging hours or for other Pro Bono questions.

The mission of the UNC School of Law Pro Bono Program is to increase the provision of high quality, low-cost legal services to North Carolina residents in need by empowering lawyers to accept more pro bono cases and creating a life-long commitment to pro bono work among UNC Law students. This newsletter supports our mission by providing current students with a comprehensive list of ways to get involved in Pro Bono work while still a student at UNC Law, as well as offering context for the good work our students do through news and information.

To add items or provide feedback, please contact Allison Standard, Director of Pro Bono Initiatives, or Kerry Dutra, Public Relations Coordinator.

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