From left: Colwell, Gardner, Kulp, Brophy, Kim and Bryan.
Sylvia K. Novinsky Award: Kirstin Gardner
In her time at UNC School of Law, Gardner has completed more than 320 hours of pro bono work. Since her 1L year, she has been willing to address legal needs in multiple capacities, 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. Her impact on the program and on others has grown and evolved each year. As a 1L, she cultivated her own knowledge through service work and completed 100+ hours of pro bono. As a 2L, she mentored other students and continued to serve through pro bono. As a 3L, she demonstrates that pro bono is a lifelong commitment that extends beyond her time at law school, and she is deeply committed to meeting the needs of indigent families. As she looks forward to graduation, her plans are to serve as next year’s fellow at the Legal Aid of N.C. office in Morganton.
3L Student of the Year: Josephine Kim
On top of all the responsibilities that go along with being a law student, a member of the National Negotiations Team, and the president of Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), Josephine Kim also found time to spend nearly 100 hours working directly with low and middle income clients in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area. She coordinated a team of law students, undergrads, a masters of accounting student, and a slew of volunteers. She also navigated the implementation of a new software platform. Through her leadership, VITA transitioned from holding clinics at the law school to the Kenan-Flagler Business School where they successfully completed 23 clinics over the course of just two months.
2L Student of the Year: Lauren Kulp
Lauren Kulp has been involved with pro bono since she arrived at Carolina Law. This year she has become a pro bono leader, serving as the pro bono coordinator for both Law Students Against Domestic Violence and the Veterans Advocacy Legal Organization. In these two roles, she has coordinated with community partners to plan clinics, train students to do pro bono work and connect them with supervising attorneys. Kulp has also committed more than 75 hours to the Wake County Family Court and been an active participant in the Cancer Project. In total, she has logged more than 150 pro bono hours this year. Outside of her pro bono work, she serves as the assistant attorney general for the UNC graduate school system and is completing a dual degree in the UNC School of Social Work.
1L Student of the Year: Florence Bryan
Florence Bryan was the first 1L to surpass 100 hours of pro bono. She got involved with a wide variety of projects immediately upon entering Carolina Law, including the Innocence Project, Election Protection, “A Child’s Day in Court” Mock Trial, and legal research on N.C. public housing for the N.C. Justice Center. Over her winter break, rather than taking the whole time off to relax, Bryan went on the Pro Bono Program’s Winter Break Trip to Cherokee, N.C., where she participated in three clinics, helping clients draft wills, determine eligibility for expunction and fill out paperwork for a simple divorce. She also took on a remote project to help create legal help brochures for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Legal Assistance Office.
Alumna of the Year: Sarah Colwell '14
Since graduating from UNC School of Law, Sarah Colwell’s commitment to pro bono work has not waned. She dedicates a lot of time outside her job at the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence volunteering with expungement projects, “Lawyer on the Line,” the Cancer Project, the N.C. Bar Association’s 4All Statewide Service Day, and attending CLEs and “Know Your Rights” workshops to become involved in serving immigrants. Colwell has also remained deeply engaged with Carolina Law through the pro bono program. Since 2015, Sarah has been an active member of the pro bono alumni board and will be the vice-chair of the board in 2017-18.
Faculty Member of the Year: Alfred Brophy, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law
Professor Al Brophy helps fulfill the Pro Bono Program’s two goals of meeting unmet legal needs and fostering a lifelong commitment to pro bono legal work among Carolina Law students. Throughout his career, Brophy has saved clients from impending homelessness by resolving landlord tenant issues, has given clients their homes back by resolving clouded titles that prevented them from repairing their homes after disasters struck and has empowered clients by giving them back control of their inherited property.
Student Organization of the Year: Black Law Students Association Wills Project
Through dedication of its members, the Black Law Students Association Wills Project has shown a tremendous commitment to pro bono work by successfully planning and implementing a wills clinic at the Jackson Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Working in partnership with the Capital City Lawyers Association, the members of the BLSA Wills Project trained 21 student volunteers to prepare wills for 12 clients. This student organization is a role model in its ability to create a legacy of quality pro bono engagement that directly benefits our local community.