From left, Jones; Frost; Taylor; Mansour; Gardner; Chelsea Parish 2L, ELPS President; and Everett.
Sylvia K. Novinsky Award: Corey Frost
Corey Frost is a graduating student who has shown an exemplary commitment to pro bono during his time at Carolina Law. From the beginning of his 1L year, he has been willing to address legal needs in multiple capacities, through initiatives sponsored by the program, such as Election Protection and Health Care Navigator. However, his work directly with legal service providers -- such as the Prison Policy Initiative or multiple Legal Aid offices and projects -- is even more striking in that it shows that his commitment to pro bono work goes beyond even the opportunities the program facilitates. As one supervisor put it, this student’s “kindness and dogged determination to fight for individuals in need,” is truly impressive.
3L Student of the Year: Nihad Mansour
Throughout the entirety of her time in law school, Nihad Mansour’s contributions to pro bono have been both impressive and significant. In her third year alone, Nihad has logged 112 hours and participated in seven projects, including Election Protection and the Expunction Project this spring. Her passion for giving back through pro bono service is contagious and her spirit for giving has been recognized by many of her peers. In all of her pro bono endeavors, Nihad always displays the highest level of professionalism, enthusiasm and diligence. One of her classmates says, “By sharing her experiences and fostering a warm, team-oriented environment during pro bono trips, Nihad has motivated her peers to get involved. [She] was extremely encouraging and supportive of my application for a spring break trip this year. Every time I speak with her, she is actively engaged in a new project. Her example inspired me to strive to reach 100 hours of pro bono service.” It has been a pleasure to see Nihad mentor 1L and 2L students this year, and continue to challenge herself to engage with the Pro Bono Program in new and exciting ways. She is a remarkable representative of the Pro Bono Program and Carolina Law.
2L Student of the Year: Kirstin Gardner
Kirstin Gardner balances her many commitments, including her commitment to the Broun National Trial Team, while continuing to engage with the Pro Bono Program in a significant and meaningful way. As a 2L, she is a model student in her upkeep of pro bono service despite all of the demands that 2L year can place upon a student. She has completed more than 208 hours in her time her at Carolina Law, and many of those hours were completed during her 2L year. Kirstin’s hours are spread across projects ranging from Legal Aid’s Second Chance over Fall Breakthrough to Health Care Navigator to an ongoing project at the Wake County Public Defender's Office. Kirstin is living proof that pro bono is more than just volunteering time, it is a way to gain practical legal skills and a way to stand out as a true leader in the community.
1L Student of the Year: Mark Taylor
Mark Taylor is one of the first-year students most dedicated to serving the public through pro bono work. Immediately after beginning his first year, Mark began volunteering at the Chatham County Public Defender’s Office every week, while also contributing his time to the North Carolina Teen Court Association. He also organizes others’ pro bono service through leadership in the Innocence Project and the Teen Court Assistance Program. With more than 200 hours of pro bono service, Mark is a public servant. His peers say "[he] has consistently impressed [them] in both personal and professional situations, often showing pure, true-hearted dedication to pro bono." We are confident that he will continue to champion Carolina Law’s commitment to pro bono work in his remaining two years at Carolina Law.
Alumna of the Year: Erika Jones '12
Erika Jones has made meaningful contributions in addressing the unmet legal needs of her community members, specifically those eligible to pursue legal relief from their prior criminal records. She played a key role in assisting Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) with large-scale community education events and mobile legal clinics for a program designed to reduce recidivism. The program assists clients with expunction efforts that ultimately lift barriers to sustainable employment and housing. Erika facilitated access to the courts for individuals in New Hanover County and Pender County where she serves as an Assistant District Attorney, and helped foster lasting relationships between the DA's office and the community.
Faculty Member of the Year: Lewis Moore "Luke" Everett '08, Clinical Associate Professor of Law
Professor Luke Everett has recently been recognized for his Pro Bono work on a case going before the Supreme Court in which he persuaded the Court to overrule North Carolina state court decisions holding that monitoring systems do not constitute a search. In doing so, this professor models the lifelong commitment component of the Pro Bono Program’s mission. His partnership with a UNC Law classmate shows graduating students that there is great work to be done by each of us and by all of us together.
Student Organization of the Year: Education Law and Policy Society
Through dedication of its members, the Education Law and Policy Society (ELPS) has successfully planned and implemented a student and parent "Know Your Rights" campaign. In conjunction with several organizations around the state, the members of this group created informational materials and presentations regarding student academic, due process, and privacy rights. Members of the Education Law and Policy Society were able to facilitate several presentations for groups of students and parents throughout North Carolina. The organization is a model in its ability to create a legacy of quality pro bono engagement that directly benefits North Carolina students and families.