Blog Archive: 2017

Alumna Feature: Bridget Warren, '14

Bridget Warren
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law: Bridget Warren, 2014

Place of employment: Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP

Area of practice: Litigation, specifically commercial litigation

Favorite class/professor in law school: Employment law and employment discrimination, both with Associate Dean Hirsch

Pro Bono experience in law school:

While in law school, I did pro bono work at Patterson Harkavy, Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, and the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, including interviewing witnesses, and conducting legal research and writing related memoranda. I also participated in UNC’s divorce pro bono project where we helped low-income couples get divorced, and in UNC’s expunction clinic where we assisted individuals in evaluating whether they were eligible for expunctions and, if so, helped them apply for one.

What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work?

My parents raised my three siblings and me to always help others who did not have the means and resources to get the assistance they needed. This way of thinking was instilled in us at a very early age, and it has continued to be an important pillar in my life. Throughout high school and college, I volunteered in different organizations that helped children learn to read and immigrants learn English. I chose UNC Law in large part because of its robust Pro Bono program, and when I got to UNC I took advantage of the opportunities the program offered. Now that I am a practicing attorney, it is extremely important to me that I help others who cannot pay to hire a lawyer but who, nonetheless, have been wronged. Through various organizations, mainly Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Council for Children’s Rights, I am able to continue serving others, helping them by removing some legal barriers, however small.


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Posted by James G. Wudel on Tue. May 2, 2017 9:50 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumnus Feature: Clint Hannah '16

Clint Hannah, 16
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law: Clint Hannah, Class of 2016

Place of employment: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in New York, New York

Area of practice: Complex Litigation and Trials

Favorite class/professor in law school: Art Law with Deborah Gerhardt OR First Amendment with Bill Marshall

Pro Bono experience in law school:

Worked on a winter project 1L year as well as a trip to Cherokee, NC during my 2L winter break.

What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work?

My immigration work started with a simple email from my firm asking who would want to sign up to go to JFK to help assist a team of lawyers working to combat the various problems associated with the travel ban Executive Order. It was something in which I had absolutely zero experience, but in my heart, I had no choice. My other pro bono work all comes out of a life long passion for the arts and wanting to help those that create.

What does your current Pro Bono practice look like?

Though I’m early in my career, I’ve been pretty fortunate that my pro bono experience has been with a variety of different clients in different fields. I have worked on various immigration issues, including going to JFK Airport following President Trump’s controversial Executive Order. On the other hand, I’ve worked with small arts clients incorporating as New York nonprofits and protecting various intellectual property. I have an upcoming immigration hotline assisting people with any types of immigration questions and making sure they get the appropriate resources necessary.


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Posted by James G. Wudel on Mon. April 3, 2017 10:00 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Lumberton Spring Break Trip- Clinics and Dinner with Alumni

My final trip experience didn’t disappoint. Whether it was the incredible group of students that accompanied me on the trip, the clients who were so appreciative, or the attorneys that were more than grateful, I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to participate in something that I find to be so important. Pro bono has been and continues to be a very important part of my life, and I’m glad to have been able to spend part of my spring break helping people in need.
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Posted by Allison Carole Standard on Tue. March 28, 2017 9:50 AM
Categories: Spring Break 2017

Lumberton Spring Break Trip- Cultural Learning and Experiences

On a cold and rainy spring break morning, 11 students from UNC School of Law departed from our home on the hill and caravanned south to the town of Lumberton, North Carolina.
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Posted by Allison Carole Standard on Tue. March 28, 2017 9:43 AM
Categories: General, Spring Break 2017

Alumna Feature: Emily Erixson, '10

Emily Erixson,
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law: Emily E. Erixson, Class of 2010

Place of employment: Ellis & Winters LLP, Raleigh, NC

Area of practice: Complex commercial litigation, contract disputes, products liability, and pharmaceutical/medical device defense.

Favorite class/professor in law school: Criminal Law with Richard Rosen

Pro Bono experience in law school: Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program; projects with the Death Penalty Program

What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work?

I have always tried to incorporate service of some kind into my life. The ability to use my Carolina degree to do pro bono work has been a very welcome addition to that practice.

What does your current Pro Bono practice look like?

I regularly work as a Guardian ad Litem appellate attorney in matters before the North Carolina Court of Appeals. In that role, I represent the interests of minor children following the termination of parental rights based on abuse, neglect, or abandonment. The work done by attorneys across North Carolina through the Guardian ad Litem program is exceptional. I am honored to be able contribute to that effort in any way that I can.

How has your Pro Bono work benefited you? (ie. your career, business development if in private practice, professional development, networking, etc.)?

Through my pro bono practice, I have had the opportunity to take ownership over cases from start to finish. Learning how to manage a case at every level has been an invaluable experience as a young lawyer.

What challenges do you face in completing Pro Bono work? What strategies do you employ to overcome those obstacles?

Making time to balance pro bono work with other day-to-day work obligations is always a challenge. Fortunately, I know that I am supported and encouraged by my firm to continue pro bono whenever possible, which makes the balance a bit easier.


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Posted by James G. Wudel on Tue. February 28, 2017 12:39 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

“We don’t learn from talking; we learn from listening.”

The trip to Cherokee did not disappoint. It was everything that I expected plus more. Not only did I learn a lot about client interaction but I also took away some general life lessons. On the second day of the Cherokee trip, we held a Wills Clinic at Tsali Manor. Here, we would assist Cherokee residents in drafting wills, power of attorney documents, and advance directives. Initially, I was very nervous. I am a 1L and I had never drafted a legal document nor had I interacted with a client. I was also very uncomfortable speaking about one’s last wishes before death. From personal experience, I knew this could be an emotional topic for families, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take on such a difficult task.

 

As the day went by, my partner and I patiently waited for our first client. Our first two clients did not need any documents drafted that day; however, we were able to provide them with information and send them off knowing how to draft a will when they were ready. Although we had not actually drafted any documents yet, it was gratifying to empower someone with knowledge. Towards the end of the day, we had our last client. They were a couple from Cherokee looking to draft a will. At this point, my partner and I were ready to get to work. We had been reviewing the documents all day, and we were confident that this would be a smooth and quick process. However, we were in for a big surprise!

 

Our case turned out not to be simple. It was far from the “cookie-cutter” scenario that we had prepared for! The couple had some family issues and wanted to ensure that one family member did not get any of their estate. It was during the discussion of this matter that I really connected with our clients. We had something in common that was normally difficult for me to talk about, but I could tell that our clients needed some comfort and reassurance. Once I shared my similar life experience, their eyes up and we both loosened up. It was then that I realized that I wanted to create this rapport and bond with every client that I ever interact with. It makes the experience so much more meaningful.


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No Comments | Posted by Joscelyn Solomon on Thu. January 5, 2017 2:00 PM
Categories: Winter Break Trip 2016

If There's A Will, There's A Way!

Tucked away in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, 22 UNC law students crawled out of bed to venture out onto the Reservation of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians to host a wills clinic with Legal Aid of North Carolina at a senior citizens center in the community. Exhausted from a long day of travel and training yesterday, we retired early to our hotel rooms and then we made sure to eat a hearty breakfast and to drink a full cup of coffee before heading out this morning.

 

The senior center, full of Christmas decorations and holiday cheer, welcomed us and made plenty of room for us to spred our wills documents out and to charge our laptops. The morning crowd was slow, but as soon as lunchtime rolled around and bellies began to fill, many more people began making appointments to have last will and testament, advanced directive, power of attorney, and health care power of attorney documents executed. We were put in pairs of two or three to work together to help each client with their specific needs. Every group was able to meet with clients, and we ended the day with 18 clients served and over 20 documents executed. Each client left the building feeling both relieved and happy that such important documents could now be checked off of their to-do lists.


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No Comments | Posted by Miranda A. Wodarski on Wed. January 4, 2017 2:00 PM
Categories: Winter Break Trip 2016

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