Alumna Feature: Rachel M. Blunk, '11

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Rachel M. Blunk
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law: Rachel M. Blunk, 2011

Place of employment: Sharpless & Stavola, P.A., Greensboro, NC

Area of practice: Business Law - Commercial Litigation and Commercial Transactions

Favorite class/professor in law school: Favorite is a challenging word. There were several classes I really enjoyed for a variety of reasons. 1. I had a ton of fun in Copyright Law with Professor Deborah Gerhardt. 2. I was challenged by Antitrust with Professor Andrew Chin. 3. I found Bankruptcy with Professor Elizabeth Gibson and Insurance Law with Professor Donald Hornstein incredibly useful post-graduation.

Pro Bono experience in law school: My Pro Bono experience in law school was heavily focused on clinics with Lambda and other LGBTQ related work. I also had the opportunity to participate in the law school’s first divorce clinic, which was led by Professor Beth Posner.

What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work? I have always tried to be involved in my community in one way or another. After entering the profession it was a natural fit for me to use my new skills to assist members of the statewide and local community.

What does your current Pro Bono practice look like? Much of my Pro-Bono work is accomplished through partnering with a variety of organizations which provide clinics to different communities. I have worked with the American Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association, various law schools, the Campaign for Southern Equality, my local bar, and Legal Aid to provide a wide variety of services to communities across the state. At these clinics we have provided a wide range of services ranging from will drafting and health care power of attorney drafting to providing advice on expunctions. I also work with a variety of charitable boards and provide them with Pro Bono advice in my capacity as a board member.

How has your Pro Bono work benefited you? (ie. your career, business development if in private practice, professional development, networking, etc.)? Pro Bono work has benefited me in numerous ways. Through Pro Bono work I have gotten to know wonderful attorneys across the nation. These attorneys have become friends, referral sources, and the occasional answer to a quick question. Having these relationships with other attorneys (who are sometimes opposing counsel) is incredibly beneficial. Additionally, I find Pro Bono work to be an incredibly fulfilling part of my practice. There’s nothing quite like helping someone accomplish a goal or giving someone peace of mind and seeing the resulting look of joy (or relief) in his or her eyes.

What challenges do you face in completing Pro Bono work? What strategies do you employ to overcome those obstacles? Professional commitments and private practice/firm commitments can be difficult to balance with Pro Bono work. I have found that partnering through other organizations who already do great Pro Bono work helps with time management on my end and gives me support in learning law I might not already know!

Which Pro Bono experience gave you the most personal or professional pride? I have really enjoyed working with Campaign for Southern Equality to provide health care powers of attorney to a wide variety of people. At the first Salisbury Pride, we were able to provide almost one hundred people (most of whom lived in more rural communities) with health care powers of attorney.

What is one new thing you learned from Pro Bono work that you would not have known otherwise? I practice on the civil and business side of things, and don’t do any criminal law in my practice. In working with Legal Aid and NCCU on expunction clinics, I have learned criminal law I would have had no other reason to learn!

What motivates you to continue doing Pro Bono work? The joy of being able to use my legal skills to help others.

How do you find your Pro Bono projects? Being actively involved with the NCBA, ABA and my local bar is very helpful in finding projects.

What is the single best reason you can give a law student to continue Pro Bono service in practice after graduation from law school? Pro Bono work is often an opportunity to get to know other attorneys. This network of people is invaluable.

Posted by James G. Wudel on Mon. October 3, 2016 3:49 PM
Categories: Alumni Features
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