Alumnus Feature: Clint Hannah '16

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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.

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

It keeps my fire burning; it makes me want to learn; it makes me want to pursue more. I have been an attorney for less than a year, but knowing that I have already been able to make a difference to some of my pro bono clients, means a ton to me in the day-to-day. In my non pro bono capacities, I don’t necessarily get as much time with the clients. Pro bono affords me that opportunity as well.

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

I have been an attorney for less than a year, and it can be daunting to be looked at from any client to have the answers. The number one thing I am aware of is first and foremost my own limitations. If I admit and am aware that I do not have all the answers, then it allows me to find people who do know the answers or work to research into finding what they might be.

Which Pro Bono experience gave you the most personal or professional pride?

This is a tough one. Working with so many passionate lawyers in working against the travel ban Executive Order made me professionally proud not of myself but of the vast network of lawyers across this country. Law is an incredibly powerful tool, and we have a responsibility in this profession. Seeing lawyers from all types of law firms standing next to public defenders standing next to various in-house attorneys showed me that no matter what path people might take in their legal career, anyone can use this profession to bring good to the world.

What is one new thing you learned from Pro Bono work that you would not have known otherwise?

People really look up to lawyers, and this profession comes with even more responsibility than I realized. People have incredibly complex problems and trust attorneys to help them.

What motivates you to continue doing Pro Bono work?

The law is an incredible sword and an incredible shield. People who can afford legal representation take advantage of that regularly; pro bono work provides necessary and incredible opportunities to those who might not get them otherwise; it provides help to those who might need the help most of all.

How do you find your Pro Bono projects?

My law firm has a large pro bono department that assists attorneys in finding pro bono work in their areas of interest as well as daily sends out available projects for people to assist. It is a pretty big emphasis.

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?

I have accepted some clients from the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in Manhattan. It is an organization I really agree with.

What is the single best reason you can give a law student to continue Pro Bono service in practice after graduation from law school?

Because people need your help. Because no matter what type of lawyer you want to be, you are a person first. Help those who need it. It is good for the world and better for you.

Do you have a project, need, or organization that you’d like to tell the UNC alumni network about?

No special projects or anything. I just ask that everyone continue to share their stories. Knowing I’m in an alumni network of amazing people doing amazing things is both inspiring and humbling. Keep it up Tar Heels!

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