Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Student Newsletter: Monday, September 1, 2014

About the Pro Bono Newsletter

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. Look for the Pro Bono Newsletter in your inbox every Monday at noon!

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 Samuel Williams, Attorney Projects Coordinator, at

Develop Materials for Forensic Website

Indigent Defense Services – Forensic Resource Counsel
20 Hours
Due Date: 12/19/2014
Criminal Law

Develop content for a webpage on gun shot residue testing, hair comparisons, or mental health defenses for the NC IDS forensic website:
Research the Ability to Subpoena Staff of Supervised Visitation and Sexual Assault Counseling Programs

Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont

20 Hours
Due Date: 12/12/2014
Children’s Issues/Family Law

Research on the appropriate use of and limitation on subpoenas by parties in family law cases directed to staff of (1) supervised visitation and exchange center and (2) sexual assault counseling programs.

Various Research Projects

Guardian ad Litem Services Division
5 Hours Minimum
Due Date: 12/31/2015
3L Restrictions
Children’s Issues
Juvenile Justice

  1. Research and maintain list of new abuse, neglect, dependency case law
  2. Research specific issues for appellate briefs.

Prosecuting Elder Abuse

15 Hours
Due Date: 10/31/2014
Criminal Law
Domestic Violence
Elder Issues

AEquitas is looking for a student to assist with compiling statutes related the perpetration of abuse against vulnerable and elder adults. The prosecution of crimes of elder abuse is unique and requires an understanding of the available and specific charges to hold offenders accountable. This compilation will include an introduction to the issue, full text of specific criminal charges related to elder abuse, related charges, and any necessary analysis for the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, federal, and military law.

Asylum Agency Appeal Briefs

NC Immigrant Rights Project
10 Hours
Due Date: 12/1/2014 

NC-IRP has 4 gang-based asylum cases (persecution/torture by gangs and cartels in Central America and Mexico) going before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), the agency-level appeal for immigration cases. Students will help develop appellate strategies, research, draft research memos, and assist with drafting and blue-booking of appellate briefs. Students may also assist with preparation for oral arguments if scheduled by the Board. Research assignments may also be used to provide support to organizations and pro bono attorney’s representing unaccompanied children and other asylum seekers fleeing violence in Central America and Mexico.

Voting Rights Researcher

Southern Coalition for Social Justice
5-10 Hour Per Week
Civil Rights

Assist with performing legal research and data analysis related to voter protection litigation in North Carolina.

Family Law Case Work

The Law Offices of Patrick Morgan, PLLC
40 Hours
Due Date: 10/31/2014
Family Law
3L Restriction

Student(s) will work on family law cases (divorce, custody) for clients with limited financial resources. Student work will not be charged to the clients, which will permit Attorney Morgan to provide representation for a reduced total cost. Student(s) will research statutes and caselaw relevant to the issues in each case, prepare memorandum, and, if eligible, prepare court documents and make arguments in court on behalf of the client. Work will include interacting with clients (onsite), as well as research and document preparation (in office or offsite).

Microscopic Hair Comparison Research

NC Center on Actual Innocence
12 Hours
Due Date: 12/1/2014
Criminal Law

In recent years, advances in forensic science have called into question the reliability of some criminal justice investigative tools used to identify suspects and convict them of serious crimes. One such tool is microscopic hair comparison, which investigators use to illustrate an association between a suspect and a crime scene or an association between a suspect and a victim. The objective of this research project is to review all North Carolina cases where microscopic hair comparison was used by the State Lab to identify and convict a suspect without the benefit of confirmatory DNA testing or other credible and reliable evidence. This is just the first step of our process of pursuing credible claims of innocence.

Student Group-Sponsored Projects

If you would like your project to appear below, please contact Nicole Daniels, Group Projects Coordinator, at

Domestic Violence Action Project - Ex Parte Pro Bono Project

Project Training, Sept 16 and 17
6:00-8:00 p.m., Room 5046

Volunteers will help local victim services coordinators file ex parte orders for domestic violence survivors. Participants can volunteer at either the Orange County Sheriff's Office or at the Durham Crisis Response Center.

Contact: Lindsey Brown, or Caline Hou,

Women In Law - Girls Scout Mock Trial Project

Info Session, TBD
Event, October 11

The Girl Scout Mock Trial is an annual event that WIL hosts. The event consists of three activities, including a mock trial that the Girl Scouts will take part in, geared at teaching young girls about the law and law school in general. An informational session will be soon to come to get volunteers to be a part of the planning committee and for the day of the event.

Contact: Felicia Hyde,

Veterans and Military Advocacy Student Organization (VMASO)- Pro Bono Projects

Info Session, September 3
12:00 p.m., Room 3025

The Veterans and Military Advocacy Student Organization (VMASO) is having its first meeting of the year in Room 3025 (in the library) on Wednesday, September 3 at Noon (FREE PIZZA!). We have a lot of big things planned for this upcoming year. One of our biggest focuses this year is on getting more people involved, so we are expanding our pro bono opportunities. No matter what kind of law you are interested in practicing, we have a volunteering opportunity for you: (1) Fall Break Trip to help veterans with unmet legal needs in Asheville, NC and/or Raleigh, NC. (Wills, Trusts, and Estates); (2) Monthly Pro Bono veterans clinic at the VA Hospital in Durham. (Criminal, Civil, and Family Law); (3)A collaborative Pro Bono project with the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), which focuses on getting visas for Iraqi and Afghan Translators who worked with U.S. military forces. (International Law and Immigration Law).

Contact: Cameron Neal,

Consumer and Commercial Law Society - Fraud Fighters Pro Bono Project

Training Session, September 15
12:00 p.m., Room 4051

Come join the CCLS for a Fraud Fighters training session led by Caroline Farmer, the Deputy Director of the North Carolina Attorney General's office! Learn about fraud and identity theft avoidance so you can make presentations at local retirement homes and community centers to help seniors protect themselves. A great way to serve our community, and to practice your public speaking skills.

Contact: Claire O'Brien,

Pro Bono Program Initiatives

The Pro Bono Program maintains a variety of initiatives throughout the school year in a variety of subject areas. For more information about any of these initiatives please contact Kathleen Lockwood, Program Director, at, or Sylvia Novinsky, Assistant Dean of Public Service Programs, at

UNC Cancer Pro Bono Project

Info Session, September 8, 2014
12:00 p.m., Room 5042

This project offers free legal aid to patients and their families at UNC Cancer Hospital. Work with local attorneys, and Legal Aid of North Carolina drafting Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Proxies, and Living Wills. Very satisfying hands-on experience. Open to 1Ls, 2Ls, and 3Ls!

Contact: Kristi Nickodem

UNC Expunction Project

Kickoff Event, September 11, 2014
12:00 p.m., Room 5046

Come join members of the Pro Bono Program, Legal Aid of North Carolina, and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice for our kick-off for our year round Expunction Program! You'll learn about what an expunction really is, hear about the opportunities to screen potential clients and participate in expunction clinics around the state, and most importantly, get all of the information about the Pro Bono Program's Fall Break Trip to Wilmington, NC for a two day Expunction Clinic with Legal Aid on October 16 and 17. Don't miss this incredible opportunity!

Contact: Gabriel Kussin,

News and Special Events

New Pro Bono Global Index

According to the ABA, the Thomson Reuters Foundation recently launched a global index of pro bono work.  The index, based on data from over 100 firms, representing 36,000 lawyers in 69 countries, showed they donated 1.55 million hours of free legal support last year, worth $388 million. Read more.

To add items or provide feedback, please contact Sylvia Novinsky, Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs, or Jared Smith, Research Assistant for Public Service Programs.

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