Pro Bono Program Alumni Newsletter

Pro Bono Program Alumni Newsletter: Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Welcome to the Pro Bono Alumni Newsletter!

Greetings!

I'm Alexis Chappell, and I'm the Alumni Coordinator on the Pro Bono Board at Carolina Law. You have received this email because you showed interest in pro bono service while you were in law school at UNC, and we thought you would be interested in reconnecting with what's going on with the Pro Bono Program now. I will send you an email only once a month with an update about what we're doing and how you can get involved. Please feel free to email me at probonoalumni@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments.

Also, it was great to meet so many of you at Alumni Weekend. Thank you for stopping by the Pro Bono Board's table!

In This Issue

  • Learn about the 2009 Celebration of Pro Bono at Carolina Law
  • Fall break pro bono trip to Eastern NC and the upcoming New Orleans trip
  • Spotlight on Jabeen Ahmed '11, Pro Bono Student of the Month
  • Discover the many ways you can support pro bono at Carolina Law

Alumni News You Can Use

The Pro Bono Board has been incredibly busy with our 2009 Celebration of Pro Bono! We kicked off the celebration last week by honoring students who have done pro bono by putting magnets on their lockers and giving them a treat. Class coordinators also tabled in the Rotunda to log hours for students so they could get credit for their pro bono work.

Students logging hours in the Rotunda

Last Wednesday, we held a panel entitled, "Lawyering Through Difference: Serving Clients Across Race, Culture, and Class." Alumni Mark Dorosin ('94) and Milan Pham ('99) were on the panel and spoke about their experiences, as did Professor Tamar Birckhead. Over 80 students packed into the classroom to hear about lawyer-client and lawyer-colleague interactions and the issues that arise when the individuals involved are of a different cultural background from one another.

3L Coordinator Vivian Intermont, attorney Mark Dorosin ('94), attorney Milan Pham ('99), Prof. Tamar Birckhead, and 2L Coordinator Shelly Anand

On Thursday evening, we held a fundraiser at a local bar to raise money for the New Orleans pro bono trip in January. See below for more info on how YOU can support this trip!

This week, we had the pleasure of having Martin Eakes, the CEO of Self-Help/Center for Responsible Lending. Mr. Eakes founded Self-Help, a community development lender, in 1980, and the organization now includes attorneys, researchers, and policy analysts in North Carolina, Washington, D.C., and Oakland, CA, who study and report on predatory lending matters and monitor legislative and regulatory activity in state capitols and in Congress. In his inspiring presentation, Mr. Eakes emphasized the importance of a legal education to help those in need. You can listen to a podcast of his presentation online.

Finally, this Thursday is our annual sign-up for winter break pro bono projects! Our Winter Break Coordinators have been working hard to secure over 80 pro bono projects for students to work on over their winter break. The sign-up is first come, first serve, and since the sign-up begins at 7 am, many students arrive much earlier (some have even spent the night in the law school to get their desired pro bono project!). Students who are going on the New Orleans pro bono trip sell coffee and breakfast as a fundraiser.

The alumni support and participation made our 2009 Celebration of Pro Bono a tremendous success!

Pro Bono Trips: Experiencing Our Education

Students helping clients create advanced directives

The first fall break pro bono trip was a huge success! Twenty-six law students spent the first two days of fall break in eastern North Carolina to assist low-income people complete advanced directives. The students collaborated with a local Legal Aid office and were also supervised by 4 non-Legal Aid attorneys. In total, the students helped 25 clients construct 76 advanced directives.

The students who will attend the New Orleans pro bono trip have been picked, and now they are working hard at raising enough money for their travel and expenses. Students going to New Orleans fundraise during the fall semester to ensure that everyone in the group can attend, regardless of personal income. Alumni support is key to the continuation of this fine tradition, and any donation would be greatly supported!

Pro Bono In Action

Jabeen Ahmad ('11), Pro Bono Student of the Month

Jabeen Ahmad ('11), Pro Bono Student of the Month

Jabeen started doing pro bono in September of her 1L year working with the Innocence Project. She worked with Judge James A. Wynn in the fall of her 1L year, completing 32 hours of pro bono service. Jabeen also completed a winter break project with the NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

In the spring of her 1L year, she participated in LAMBDA's power of attorney clinic, and she also volunteered at the 4ALL Service Day doing research and translations.

This past summer she dedicated 24 additional hours to her internship with the Durham Public Defender's office, and she has completed over 80 hours of pro bono service while a student at Carolina Law. Congratulations, Jabeen!

How You Can Support Pro Bono at UNC Law

The Pro Bono Program has come so far in a few short years, but we need your support to continue our mission. There are three ways that you can support the pro bono program at Carolina Law:

  1. Submit a project: Law students can help you with everything from research and writing to interviewing clients. When you submit a project, you can specify if you prefer a 2L or 3L to work, the time commitment, any specific skills required, etc. You can even submit a project online. Students can do projects both during the school year and over winter and spring breaks. If you have any questions, please email Lauren Felter, the Attorney Projects Coordinator, at uncprobonoprojects@gmail.com or consult our FAQ webpage.
  2. Supervise a student: Our trips to eastern North Carolina need attorneys to supervise law students' work; also, student organizations that do pro bono projects would love to connect with an attorney interested in providing assistance. Please contact Julie Zibulsky, the Group Projects Coordinator, at jzibulsky@gmail.com, if you're interested.
  3. Provide financial support: Finally, your financial support is incredibly beneficial to us. The support of our donors help us continue to allow students to come on pro bono trips at a very low cost to themselves, thus helping ensure that personal finance is no barrier to doing pro bono work. You can donate online (please select "Pro Bono Program").

It was great to see everyone at Alumni Weekend! Please consider supporting the Pro Bono Program in any way that you can, and please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions.

Go Heels,

Alexis Chappell
Alumni Coordinator
UNC Law Pro Bono Program
Students and Lawyers Making a Difference
http://www.law.unc.edu/studentlife/probono/