The Pro Bono Program is administered by a 12-student board and one faculty supervisor who work throughout the year with community partners, legal aid offices, law school student groups, professors, alumni, private attorneys, and fellow students to facilitate individual pro bono projects, special clinics, and group trips in which students can participate. Each February, the director for the following academic year is chosen by interview process by the current board from those currently serving board members who apply for the position. Applications for open board positions are then solicited from the student body each March, and open positions are filled by interview process by the current board.
James Jolley, 3L
Office Hours: By appointment
James grew up in Lawndale, North Carolina, but has called Raleigh home for the past five years. He graduated in 2007 from UNC-Chapel Hill with majors in History and Political Science. After earning his Masters in Education from Wake Forest University in 2008, he taught high school social studies at East Wake High School in Wendell, North Carolina.
Making the transition from teacher to law student, James found that pro bono and service to others were common threads that could unite these vastly different experiences. Whether speaking with clients with the Legal Aid Lawyers on the Line Program or advocating on behalf of the incarcerated with N.C. Prisoner Legal Services, James has worked to meet the unmet legal needs of fellow North Carolinians. As Director, James looks forward to helping other students connect with the good work that lawyers are doing in North Carolina and around the country. Outside of the law school, James ran a marathon last year, plans to run another one this year, and has an awesome wife, Emily.
3L Class Coordinator
Joey Polonsky, 3L
Office Hours: Thursday, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Joey grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. After graduation, Joey led a group of volunteers to Honduras, where they educated middle and high school students about HIV/AIDS. Joey subsequently worked on NC Senate campaigns throughout the 2010 election cycle.
Joey was attracted to the Pro Bono Program because it allows all interested students to gain practical experience, while making a serious and lasting impact on local communities that are frequently under-served and overlooked by the legal system. In his free time, Joey can be found cooking, running 200-mile, 36-hour relay races and cheering on all things UNC with his wife and their two dogs.
2L Class Coordinator
Gabriel Kussin, 2L
Office Hours: TBD
Gabriel was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina, and graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Political Science. After graduation, Gabriel returned to North Carolina and worked in Charlotte and in Durham as an educator as well as for non-profit organizations focusing on Latino advocacy.
As 2L Class Coordinator, Gabriel is excited to connect his classmates to opportunities in the community and successfully represent the class of 2015 on the Pro Bono Board. Outside of law school, Gabriel is a diehard New York Giants, Yankees, and Carolina Hurricanes fan and enjoys playing basketball, cooking, and spending time with his friends and family.
1L Class Coordinator
Jared Smith, 1L
Office Hours: TBD
Jared grew up in Durham, North Carolina, and went to Davidson College. There he majored in both Music and English. As a student, he became very involved in community service grants and programming - which led him to stay at Davidson after graduation to work as a staff member in the college's Center for Civic Engagement. He also spent time grant writing and reviewing grants for a variety of community organizations.
Now that he is a proud member of Coates College here at UNC School of Law, Jared looks forward to continuing his community involvement in his new legal environment. He is excited to serve as the 1L Class Coordinator and connect with other first year students by encouraging them to participate in Pro Bono work. Outside of school, you can find Jared cooking away at his house in Durham or singing at University Presbyterian Church on Franklin Street.
Alumni Outreach Coordinator
Kelly Anderson, 3L
Office Hours: Tuesday, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Raised in a military family, Kelly grew up all over the world, but spent the majority of her childhood in Florida, North Carolina, Italy, and Japan. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011, with a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Energy. Kelly was drawn to UNC Law because of its prominent pro bono program, commitment to public service work, and strong sense of community. During law school, Kelly interned at the UNC Center for Civil Rights in Chapel Hill, and the Southern Environmental Law Center in Asheville.
After law school, Kelly hopes to pursue a career in environmental law or civil rights law, and has a particular interest in environmental justice issues. As the Alumni Outreach Coordinator, Kelly is excited about facilitating interactions between UNC Law alumni and current UNC Law students and helping alumni continue their commitment to pro bono. In her free time, Kelly enjoys hiking, traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends.
Attorney Projects Coordinator
Belal Elrahal, 3L
Office Hours: TBD
Belal is a North Carolina native who grew up in Pineville, just outside of Charlotte. He attended Davidson College where he majored in Philosophy and studied Arabic. After graduating, he spent a summer working and spending time with family in Charlotte before starting his 1L year at UNC-Chapel Hill.
While at Carolina, Belal has worked with Legal Aid of North Carolina, the Federal Public Defender's Office, and the Mecklenburg County Public Defender's Office in an effort to extend basic legal assistance to populations in need. He credits UNC's Pro Bono Program with providing both the opportunities and skills needed to serve these populations, and is looking forward to working with the Program to do the same for more students. Outside of law school, he can be found anywhere there's sunshine, from going on 40-mile bicycle rides to relaxing on a canoe at Cane Creek Reservoir.
Student Group Projects Coordinator
Sarah Colwell, 3L
Office Hours: Monday, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Sarah grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2011 with a double major in International Studies and Spanish and a minor in Women's Studies. During her undergraduate career, Sarah was fortunate to be able to spend a semester at the University of Havana in Cuba.
Since coming to UNC Law, Sarah has enjoyed the experience she has gained through the Pro Bono Program and has appreciated the opportunity to combine her passion for serving others with her interest in the legal system. She has spent her summers in Charlotte interning at International House; United Family Service's Legal Representation Project; Grier, Furr & Crisp; and Garfinkel Immigration. Sarah is looking forward to pursuing a career in immigration law after graduation. If you catch Sarah outside of the law school you’ll likely find her salsa dancing, baking, traveling, or obsessing over anything Carolina.
Public Relations Coordinator
Caitlin Bernstein, 2L
Office Hours: Wednesday, 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Caitlin grew up outside of Charlotte in Harrisburg, North Carolina, and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2012 with a B.A. in Psychology. During college, Caitlin worked with the UNC Mental Health Specialists Office in Chapel Hill, where she worked with psychiatrists to study the relationship between mental health patients and their medical providers. After law school, Caitlin hopes to combine her passion for psychology with her legal education to practice in the health care industry.
Caitlin was attracted to the Pro Bono Program because she is happiest when she is helping others. After her 1L year, she chose to begin her lifelong commitment to pro bono by joining the Pro Bono Board as the Public Relations Coordinator. Caitlin looks forward to playing an active role in the facilitation of pro bono work within UNC Law and the greater community. In her free time, Caitlin enjoys practicing hot yoga, creating cookie recipes, and spending time with her friends and family.
New Projects Development Coordinator
Munashe Magarira, 3L
Office Hours: TBD
Munashe grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, where he majored in Political Science and English. After graduation, Munashe worked as an Americorps VISTA at UNC-Wilmington. There, he worked with student leaders to create service programs benefiting Wilmington area residents.
Munashe was attracted to the Pro Bono Program because it allows law students to use their education to become active agents of change in the community. As New Projects Development Coordinator, Munashe brings together student groups, local attorneys, and community organizations to create new pro bono projects for students at UNC Law. In his free time, Munashe can be found watching Parks & Recreation, listening to “sick jams,” playing the acoustic guitar, watching and playing soccer, and performing stand up comedy.
Special Trips Coordinators
Kathleen Lockwood, 2L
Office Hours: TBD
Kathleen grew up in Welcome, North Carolina and attended UNC Chapel Hill where she studied Women and Gender Studies, English, and Creative Writing. After graduation, Kathleen interned at the Children's Law Center of Central North Carolina, volunteered as a guardian ad litem in Davidson County, and worked for Family Services of Davidson County. Kathleen continues to pursue interests in education law, child advocacy, immigration law, and domestic violence law.
Kathleen's passion for service and social justice led her to the Pro Bono Program. She is excited to use her position as Special Trips Coordinator to help other students recognize ways to address unmet legal needs both during law school and throughout their legal careers. When she's not at the law school, you can find Kathleen cooking, reading, and enjoying the great outdoors.
Samuel Williams, 2L
Office Hours: TBD
Sam grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.A. in Political Science and History. During his undergraduate years, Sam worked on connecting students to service opportunities with local non-profits and implementing alternative break trips.
Sam was originally drawn to the Pro Bono Program at UNC Law because of the opportunity to gain practical skills while working to improve the local community. Following his 1L year, Sam spent his summer at Pisgah Legal Services in Asheville where he worked and advocated for underserved populations in western North Carolina. You’ll normally find Sam at the law school while wishing he was hiking or fishing somewhere in the Appalachian mountains.
Winter & Spring Break Projects Coordinator
Ramona Baker, 3L
Office Hours: TBD
Ramona grew up in Alaska and graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2008 with a degree in Environmental Studies. Prior to law school, she worked with nonprofits in Oregon and North Carolina and on the 2008 presidential election. Ramona spent her 1L summer with the Environmental Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice, and this past summer she interned with the Southern Environmental Law Center.
Ramona is dedicated to pursuing a legal career serving the public interest and loves working with other students who share the same goals. She has completed multiple pro bono projects during her past two years of law school and looks forward to sharing her enthusiasm for pro bono work as a UNC Law Pro Bono Board member. In her free time, Ramona enjoys running, reading, and cooking.
Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs
In UNC Law's ongoing commitment to public service, Dean Boger appointed Sylvia Novinsky as the school's first Assistant Dean for Public Service Programs in 2007. She joined the law school in 1996 serving as the school’s first public interest career counselor and in 2000 as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
Dean Novinsky grew up in Queens, NY, and her family is from Argentina. She attended Cornell University graduating with a BS in Industrial & Labor Relations and then attended American University Washington College of Law. Following her law school graduation she was a legal research and writing instructor at DC School of Law. From there she served as a Legal Aid staff attorney for migrant farmworkers in Virginia and then as legal director for the Center for Immigrants Rights in New York City.
Outside of school, Dean Novinsky enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband as well as their two dogs. She also enjoys reading historical fiction and kettlebells.