Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter: Monday, November 28, 2011

About the Pro Bono Newsletter

The Office of Public Service Programs is here to serve students who are pursuing a career in public interest law and provide opportunities for all students to engage in the School of Law's tradition of public service. Look out for the Public Service Newsletter each Monday for information about public service career opportunities, events, resources, news, and more. View past newsletters.

This will be the final newsletter for the Fall 2011 Semester. Good luck on exams and enjoy a relaxing break over the holidays! See you in January!

Save the Date!

UNC Law 2012 Public Interest Retreat

Please save the date for UNC Law's 2012 Public Interest Retreat to be held on February 3 at the Law School starting at 3:00 p.m., followed by Happy Hour at Bailey's in Chapel Hill. A more detailed agenda will be available next semester, but you can look forward to networking opportunities with public interest alums, topical breakout sessions featuring local practitioners and professors, a session on affording life as a public interest attorney, and an inspiring keynote address. Registration information will be available soon. Questions? Want to help? Email Meghan Melloy or Shonaka Ellison.

Events at UNC Law

Why Marriage Matters: Center on Law & Government Debate with Evan Wolfson

Monday, November 28, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., 5042

The Center on Law and Government hosts Evan Wolfson, an American civil rights attorney and advocate, speaking on "Why Marriage Matters." Wolfson is founder and executive director of Freedom to Marry, which leads the campaign to overturn DOMA and is working across the country to educate the public about why marriage matters to same-sex couples and their families. Wolfson also wrote the book Why Marriage Matters: America, Equality, and Gay People's Right to Marry.

The People's Lawyer: A Course and Case Study on Community Lawyering

Thursday, December 1, 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Friday Center, UNC Center for School Leadership Development, Room 111AB

Join the UNC Center for Civil Rights and local practitioners at this course and CLE opportunity featuring the following two presentations:

Ethics of Representing Community Groups
Presenter: Peter Gilbert, Community Inclusion Attorney Fellow, UNC Center for Civil Rights

Explore the unique ethical questions that frequently occur when representing community groups, particularly those that are not legally incorporated. The rules of professional conduct generally envision a lawyer's duties to an individual client within the bounds of a formal lawyer-client relationship. Community lawyering often deviates from this norm. This CLE will primarily address ethical questions that arise when representing community groups. (Two (2) NC CLE ethics credits)

Desegregation Law with a Rural Case Study: Legal Implications of Maintaining Three Public School Districts in Halifax County, N.C.
Presenter: Taiyyaba Qureshi, Education Attorney Fellow, UNC Center for Civil Rights

Examine law and policy associated with public school segregation and education quality in North Carolina, with a case study of Halifax County, N.C. This CLE will present an overview of the tripartite education system in Halifax County, briefly discuss the spectrum of school resegregation across the state and the rights implicated for students, and examine litigation and non-litigation methods of addressing the issues. (One (1) NC CLE general credit)

Study Break hosted by Student Services!

Monday, December 5, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Rotunda

Join us in the Rotunda for a study break of FREE Bojangles' biscuits and coffee!

Funding Opportunities

New Community Engagement Fellowships for Graduate Students

The Carolina Center for Public Service is now accepting applications for the new Community Engagement Fellowship program. Up to five fellowships of up to $2,000 each will be awarded in the spring to develop and implement engagement or engaged scholarship projects that (1) employ innovative, sustainable approaches to complex social needs and (2) have an academic connection. Fellows are responsible for planning and implementing their projects, but work in collaboration with community partners and faculty mentors who are familiar with their topics or geographic areas. The fellowships run from March to October with seminar participation in the spring and fall, and project implementation during the summer. Returning, full-time graduate students (individuals or teams) at UNC-Chapel Hill are eligible to apply with preference given to interdisciplinary teams of students. Applications are due February 6 by 11:59 p.m. and can be found at For more information, visit the Center's website. For questions, contact

Other Public Interest Events

What about the Children? Symposium on Children of Incarcerated Parents

February 14, 2012, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friday Center, Chapel Hill, NC

Save the date for the Symposium on Children of Incarcerated Parents! More information will be available soon, but Continuing Education Units will be available. Call 919.843.2670 or email for more information.

Current Pro Bono Opportunities

Projects are posted on the Pro Bono Board near the mailboxes and are listed online at Students can sign up for projects on the Pro Bono Board or email

Career Corner

Check Symplicity over the holidays!

Don't forget to check Symplicity frequently for daily postings. Staff members in the Career Services Office will be working throughout the break while students are away, so you will continue to see postings added. As OCIs are scheduled, those postings will be added as well. If you have questions about using Symplicity, see someone in the Career Services Office before you leave town!

5 Networking Tips

As you start planning your summer or post-graduate job search in the public sector, don't forget the importance of networking. Opportunities to network abound - at your family or neighborhood holiday party, through formal informational interviews, at CLE events or job fairs, at community events, when catching up with an old colleague or boss.

The truth is, you never know when you could meet someone that is interested in an area of law you'd like to pursue or knows a friend or neighbor or colleague that you might like to meet. Unfortunately, unless you utilize the opportunity to talk about yourself, your accomplishments and interests, and how they might help you, the chance to put your name out there will be lost. Here are five networking tips from small biz expert Melinda Emerson writing for pbSmart Essentials.

  1. Be Early: The networking reception is the main event. Once you are seated or the program starts it is very difficult to keep talking with people without being rude. So have your business cards ready to share in one of your jacket pockets. (That way you don’t need to go digging in that bottomless purse, ladies.)
  2. Have a Plan: Learn as much as you can about who will be attending the event. Look online at the board list and pay close attention to the honorary chairs on the invitation. Make friends with the event planner when you call to confirm your attendance. If you are really nice, you’ll get even more details about who will be at the event.
  3. Use the Rule of Five: Your target should be to secure five quality contacts at any networking event. Aiming for any more and you’ll struggle to make a real connection. Don’t be the chicken with their head cut off doing drive-by networking. Spend the time to have a real conversation, even if the person really isn’t a good contact. You never know who their brother or sister-in-law is and how they could help you down the line. All contacts have some value, even if you don’t see it immediately. Be present while you are talking — that means don’t look over your new friend’s shoulder for a better connection.
  4. Take a Friend and Split Up: You can cover more ground with two people than one. Many people make the mistake of bringing a friend and then standing at the food table with that friend. Go for the connections, not the salad! You should eat at home before you come to the event anyway. You want the friend there so you can swap business cards and contacts later.
  5. The Fortune is in the Follow-Up: Write notes on the backs of business cards as they are given to you. Have a plan for how you will follow up with each new contact. You should reach out to all of the contact through LinkedIn first, then you should decide if they will get an email, call or handwritten note. Give yourself a 10-day window to follow up. The sooner a new contact hears from you the better.

To add items or provide feedback, please contact Sylvia Novinsky, Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs, or Mary Irvine, Public Service Fellow.

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