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.
Which Pro Bono experience gave you the most personal or professional pride?
With the GAL work, resolving a case in a way that provides a child with permanence, when she may have been in limbo for several years, is a wonderful feeling.
What motivates you to continue doing Pro Bono work?
Carolina has such a stellar reputation for its pro bono work. As a Carolina graduate, I know that I have more opportunities than many to give back, however big or small the project. Every little bit helps.
How do you find your Pro Bono projects?
Ellis & Winters has an incredible network set up for pro bono opportunities. Everyone at the firm is encouraged to get involved with existing projects within the firm and to reach out into the community to find an area of law that strikes an interest.
Do you prefer to handle Pro Bono projects on your own or do you like to work with a non-profit or other partner organization? Why?
My pro bono work primarily has been through partnerships with the GAL program and Legal Aid of North Carolina. It is a privilege to work with those programs and to assist the people who give back to the North Carolina community every day.
What is the single best reason you can give a law student to continue Pro Bono service in practice after graduation from law school?
Doing pro bono work is one of the best ways to learn as young lawyer. Not only will you gain practical skills that will translate to the rest of your practice, you will meet incredible people along the way and you will feel a greater sense of community as you find opportunities to give back.
Posted by James G. Wudel on Tue. February 28, 2017 12:39 PM