About the Office
The Office of Public Service Programs serves as the hub of public interest career-related services and programming as well as pro bono activites. Examples of annual programs include workshops on public interest job searching skills, the Public Interest Peer Mentor Program and the Public Interest Retreat. The Pro Bono Program is also housed in the Office of Public Service Programs and provides numerous opportunities for students to perform pro bono service throughout the school year.
Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs
5023 Van Hecke-Wettach Hall
In its ongoing commitment to public service, Dean Boger has appointed Sylvia Novinsky as the school's first assistant dean for public service programs. Novinsky has been with the School of Law since 1996, after practicing public interest law representing migrant farm workers and immigrant workers in Virginia and New York. She served as the school's first public interest career counselor and in 2000, became the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. In her new role, she will combine these varied experiences to counsel, advise and support students interested in public service and public interest law, as well as continuing to foster the school's pro bono activities.
"As a great public law school, our tradition of public service is deep-rooted and core to our mission," noted Dean Novinsky. Upon graduation, approximately 20% of the class goes on to pursue careers in the public sector. While in school, approximately 50% of the student body performs pro bono service. Still, there are challenges for students and graduates who want to do public service, particularly as debt burdens at all law schools increase. "Helping students identify avenues for pursuing their commitments to pro bono and public service, and supporting them while they are doing so, is crucial," said Dean Novinsky. "Our students are following in the footsteps of many great Carolina Law alumni who have gone on to serve our state and the nation and we want to make sure we support them as they incorporate these values of serving the public in their own educational pursuits and legal careers."
Interim Student Services Coordinator
5022 Van Hecke-Wettach Hall
Meriwether Evans '13
Director of the Pro Bono Program Board
Meriwether grew up in a small town west of Fort Worth, Texas and graduated from Emory University in 2005 with a B.A. in English and Anthropology and an M.A. in English. After graduating, she worked in the entertainment industry. During her three-year adventure of living in Los Angeles she had the opportunity to work in every facet of film production, from story development to premiere.
In 2008, her interest began to shift toward social justice and law. Participating in the Pro Bono Wills Trip in Moore and Richmond Counties was an amazing start to her law school career, which reaffirmed her dedication to helping her fellow students find rewarding pro bono projects. Meriwether is inspired by great movies, moving books, horses, delicious food, her wonderful husband, and her dedicated colleagues and professors here at UNC Law.
Ashley McAlarney '14
Public Service Fellow
Ashley McAlarney graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011 with a degree in History and Political Science and a minor in Dramaturgy. Last summer she was a research assistant for the NC Coastal Resources Law, Planning, and Policy Center. Ashley is primarily interested in education law and environmental law and loves supporting future public interest lawyers through work with the Carolina Public Interest Law Organization. In her spare time she enjoys reading, apartment decorating, and cheering on the Tar Heels!