Blog Archive: 2013

A 3L's Reflection on UNC Pro Bono Winter Break Projects

Before I started law school, everyone had hyped up how my first year of law school was going to be the worst year of my life. To say the least, I felt overwhelmed to the max. With this backdrop, I approached my first semester at UNC with trepidation and a healthy dose of caution: I didn't want to overextend myself too early. But since I have always considered myself a community-centric, volunteer-at-heart type of person, I struggled with focusing on schoolwork and holding back on jumping into a pro bono project. I kept waiting for that other shoe to drop and to start feeling like 1L year was the worst thing to ever happen to me—but that feeling never came.


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No Comments | Posted by Ramona H. McGee on Mon. October 7, 2013 9:39 AM
Categories: Winter Break Trip 2014

What is FALL BREAKthrough?

It was during a small discussion at our annual Board retreat that the idea of launching a new fall break pro bono project first took shape. Despite the Board’s success last year with Cancer Project, Election Protection, the creation of a new and improved Alumni Board, Winter Break Sign Ups and Winter Break Projects, and the Winter Break Trip to Cherokee, one constant criticism we heard from students was the lack of pro bono projects and events during fall break.

With no way of predicting what the project would look like or whether students would take to it, Saturday June 1 became the first day in what has become a true labor of love, in making this vaguely amorphous thing, this fall break pro bono project, a reality.

Since June 1, Dean Novinsky, the faculty advisor for the Pro Bono Board, James Jolley, Director of the Pro Bono Board, and I have been hard at work, thinking through what the project would look like, what our goals are, and what we want you, the students, to get out of it. We have spent time locating community partners, reserving rooms, locating panelists, making budgets and to do lists.

We are now a little over 2 weeks from the start of Fall Breakthrough and while there are still some details left to be nailed down, what we have we are really, really excited about.

Fall Breakthrough in many ways will be an encapsulation of what has been the organizing theme for this year’s Board, the idea that Pro Bono is everywhere and is for everyone. Fall Breakthrough will be open to all class years and will engage students in meaningful, impactful pro bono work. Students will help expunge the criminal records of clients, assist in domestic violence cases and aid clients signing up for health care insurance through the newly established health care exchanges.

In addition, students will have a chance to reflect on their experiences and participate in a panel discussion moderated by Professor Tamar Birckhead on unmet legal needs.

The word will get out. But, where will YOU be Thursday, October 17?

We hope it is with us.


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No Comments | Posted by Munashe Magarira on Wed. September 25, 2013 6:32 AM
Categories: Fall Break 2013

An Alumna's Perspective on UNC Pro Bono

Pro Bono really is for everyone!

Pro Bono work was and continues to be for me! In law school, it was one of the most important activities that kept me grounded. When I was drowning in Torts cases, RRWA assignments, and the Rule against Perpetuities, it was like coming up for air to apply legal learning to real world issues and help those who are not fortunate enough to be able to afford legal services while I was at it. UNC Law students are the most fortunate in the country with the most varied opportunities to get involved early and often. In my time there, I dabbled in student-run pro bono activities such as the Innocence Project, Community Legal Project, and DVAP's 50b project. I also completed pro bono projects submitted by attorneys through private firms and non-profits such as Glenn, Mills, Fisher, & Mahoney and Legal Aid of NC. Additionally, I loved helping other students reap the benefits of doing pro bono work, so I was lucky enough to serve on the Pro Bono Board as a class coordinator. In that role, I encouraged and facilitated pro bono work for my peers.


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No Comments | Posted by Caitlin M. Bernstein on Sat. September 14, 2013 7:21 PM
Categories: General

Welcome to Another Year of Great Pro Bono Work at UNC Law

The UNC Pro Bono Board is excited for the start of the 2013-2014 academic year. We’re excited to welcome back the Class of 2014, and we look forward to helping you think through what your commitment to pro bono looks like after you graduate. We’re excited to welcome back the Class of 2015, and we are eager to hear about the great work you did over the summer.

But more than anything, we’re excited to meet the Class of 2016—a class with diverse experiences and passions—and we look forward to introducing you to the UNC Pro Bono Program. It should be a great year!


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No Comments | Posted by James R. Jolley on Sun. August 25, 2013 11:19 PM
Categories: General

Beast of the East

This trip was eye opening and an all-around incredible experience. Every person who played a part in this trip genuinely wanted to help others, which made it not only rewarding but a lot of fun as well. We were given the opportunity to help some amazing people from across eastern North Carolina. Every client we helped touched us in a special way and I feel like we learned as much from them and benefited as much from our interactions with them as they did from us.


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No Comments | Posted by William T. Ellis on Sat. March 16, 2013 11:50 AM
Categories: Spring Break 2013 (Eastern, Wills)

Rachel Braden's Reflection

The setting: Room 401 of Halifax Community College, a large all-purpose room. The walls are made of cinderblocks and painted beige. On one wall, the phrase “Excellence through pursuit of knowledge” is written in blue block letters. Collapsible tables lined with blue plastic chairs are scattered throughout the room.

The scene: Against one wall, three women – two in their late 70s to mid-80s, the other in her mid-50s – are seated on matching blue plastic chairs. A paralegal with Legal Aid NC goes up to two of the women, speaks to them in a soft voice, and ushers them to a table where two law students are eagerly awaiting their first client. The students rise as their client arrives, introduce themselves, and shake her hand. The client, an 80 year-old woman with white permed hair, and her 55 year-old daughter, take their...


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No Comments | Posted by Rachel F. Braden on Fri. March 15, 2013 9:45 AM
Categories: Spring Break 2013 (Eastern, Wills)

The Town Wins!

After helping 22 clients create an amazing 57 legal documents today in the Avery County Senior Center, the Western Wills Trip enjoyed a fantastic early dinner at Dunn's Deli in Banner Elk. Despite numerous distractions (eagles, shaggy sheepdog, lost beagles, a GPS named Karen with a mind of her own) the three SUVs managed to make it back to the cabin. Not together, or following the same path, or necessarily using roads, but back!


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No Comments | Posted by Charlotte R. Stewart on Tue. March 12, 2013 11:16 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2013 (Western, Wills)

"Questions, Answers, and Wills"

It was obvious that Mrs. Bell was a pastor—her endless energy was only matched by her rhetorical cadence. “That’s right. Yep, you heard it. Come on, now. All right, where were we?”

Where we were was Lincoln Heights, a community of about four hundred people in rural Halifax County. The community is among the poorest in the state. As Mrs. Bell—a local pastor and unofficial mayor—toured us through the neighborhood, we encountered this poverty on nearly every street. Dilapidated homes, barely standing, remained on lots long ago abandoned. Trash lingered on the sides of the streets, the remnants of an old landfill, where a variety of waste had been dumped for years...


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No Comments | Posted by John E. Harris on Tue. March 12, 2013 4:37 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2013 (Eastern, Wills)

Why This Work is So Important

This is incredibly important work. While there are many drivers of structural poverty, one of the simplest ways to preserve existing wealth is to provide for orderly property transfer from one generation to the next...


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No Comments | Posted by Christopher S. Dwight on Tue. March 12, 2013 4:11 PM
Categories: Spring Break 2013 (Eastern, Wills)
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