Blog Posts: Alumni Features

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.


Read More... (Alumna Feature: Emily Erixson, '10)
Posted by James G. Wudel on Tue. February 28, 2017 12:39 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumnus Feature: Deonte' Thomas '05

Deonte
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law:

Deonte’ L. Thomas, Class of 2005

Place of employment:

Wake County Public Defender’s Office

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Judicial Sentencing & Actual Innocence - Classes Ken Broun - Professor

Pro Bono experience in law school:

The Innocence Project/Law 4 Us/Orange County Public Defender's Office/Various Pro Bono Winter Projects

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

I have always felt the need to try and give back whenever possible. Without a few key decisions in my life, I could have easily been in the same position as my clients, so I have always wanted to try and “pay it forward” as much as I can.

Outside of my “normal” job serving indigent clients, I often attend community focused events that attempt to help my clients once they are outside of the judicial system. Recently I worked with a large pro bono community to help people expunge their records and restore their licenses. I have also been a speaker or a mentee for many youth focused non-profits here in Raleigh. My work with Big Brothers/Big Sisters has also been very fulfilling.

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 work I have met many different lawyers doing widely different segments of law, but with similar mindsets on life and the changes we would like to see in the world. Doing pro bono work reinvigorates me and reminds me of how there is a huge community of people that are working to make this world a better place and that is especially helpful when I become jaded or disenchanted with my “regular” work.


Read More... (Alumnus Feature: Deonte' Thomas '05)
Posted by James G. Wudel on Tue. December 27, 2016 4:31 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumnus Feature: Marty Rosenbluth '08

Marty Rosenbluth
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law:

Marty Rosenbluth, Class of 2008

Area of practice:

Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Toss up between RRWA I with Ruth McKinney and RRWA II with Jim Sheridan. I’m a law nerd. I can’t help it.

Pro Bono experience in law school:

My pro bono experience was pretty varied, including working on several immigrant rights related projects and being part of Amnesty International’s observer mission in Northern Israel during the war between Hezbollah and Israel.

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

I had been involved in various social justice issues for over two decades before attending law school. I went to law school to add more tools to my tool kit. It was super exciting to be able to put some of these tools to work through doing pro bono work while I was still in law school.

What does your current Pro Bono practice look like?

I recently spent one month volunteering in a family detention center in Texas, working with refugees from Central America, and five weeks in Greece working with refugees from Syria and other countries who were stranded in refugee camps on the island of Lesvos. In both places I was helping refugees, who were fleeing from extreme danger in their own countries, to seek safety and asylum for themselves and their families.


Read More... (Alumnus Feature: Marty Rosenbluth '08)
Posted by James G. Wudel on Wed. November 30, 2016 8:00 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: Rachel M. Blunk, '11

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.


Read More... (Alumna Feature: Rachel M. Blunk, '11)
Posted by James G. Wudel on Mon. October 3, 2016 3:49 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: Joan Shreffler Dinsmore '06

Joan Dinsmore, 2006
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law: Joan Shreffler Dinsmore, 2006

Place of employment: McGuireWoods LLP, Raleigh

Area of practice: Product & Consumer Litigation

Favorite class/professor in law school: Federal Jurisdiction with Professor Elizabeth Gibson

Pro Bono experience in law school: Unfortunately, not much. I worked all three years of law school, so I did not have much time for anything except my job and studying.

What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work? My first pro bono case fell into my lap by accident in 2007. I heard about the sister of a secretary at my former firm who was being treated horribly by the owner of the San Diego restaurant where she worked: she was being made to work for tips only (in violation of the law), he changed her name in the system so the checks she printed for customers included things like “Thanks from your lazy server,” and was forced to do personal errands for the owner. I waitressed for years in high school, college, and law school, and I knew how hard the job can be even in the best of circumstances. In her situation, it was made worse by her total lack of bargaining power. She was in her 40s with little education, and had a daughter to raise. In San Diego, jobs at the “better” restaurants went to young college students, so this woman was stuck. I felt like I had to take on the case, even knowing nothing about labor law in California. After several years of hard-fought litigation, I obtained a settlement that allowed the client to go to school. She got a bachelor’s and a master’s degree and now works as a counselor in Austin, Texas. I still keep up with her.


Read More... (Alumna Feature: Joan Shreffler Dinsmore '06)
Posted by James G. Wudel on Sun. August 28, 2016 10:28 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumnus Feature: Tod M. Leaven '10

Tod M. Leaven

Place of employment: Grimes Teich Anderson, LLP

Area of practice: Veterans Law

Favorite class/professor in law school: Congress and the Presidency/ Michael Gerhardt

Pro Bono experience in law school: NC Department of Agriculture, Wills and estate work for elderly, Assisted veterans with claims

What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work? I wanted to do pro-bono work long before I ever went to law school. Just a little free assistance can go a long way to those who need it the most, regardless if it is legal, medical, social, or occupational.

What does your current Pro Bono practice look like? I just completed the initial phase of a pro-bono clinic for homeless veterans. Assisted by two other attorneys and UNC Law’s VALOR student organization, I am working to upgrade less-than-honorable military discharges so homeless veterans can better access housing and employment. I also assist the local Veterans Treatment Court with any discharge upgrades needed and routinely assist veterans of low means better navigate the VA healthcare system and find employment.


Read More... (Alumnus Feature: Tod M. Leaven '10)
Posted by James G. Wudel on Mon. August 1, 2016 9:00 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: LeeAnne Quattrucci '06

LeeAnne Quattrucci
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law:

LeeAnne Quattrucci, 2006

Place of employment:

The Law Office of LeeAnne Quattrucci, PA

Area of practice:

Family and juvenile law

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Constitutional Law with Dean Boger

Pro Bono experience in law school:

My pro bono experiences in law school were vast and varied.

One of the most valuable and rewarding experiences was handling Domestic Violence Protective Order hearings during my 3L year. It was scary but very eye opening and extremely helpful in honing my litigation skills.

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

Simply stated: People, who cannot afford it, need legal help with real life, big time, serious issues.


Read More... (Alumna Feature: LeeAnne Quattrucci '06)
Posted by James G. Wudel on Thu. June 9, 2016 11:23 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: Nicole Quallen '10

Nicole Quallen, Class of 2010
Name and year of graduation from UNC Law:

Nicole Quallen, 2010

Place of employment:

Two Families Law

Area of practice:

Family law and domestic violence

Favorite class/professor in law school:

So tough! Probably Con Law with Michael Gerhardt.

Pro Bono experience in law school:

I didn’t do nearly enough pro bono in law school. I did my one project per year – some landlord tenant work and a trademark project. I don’t think I felt competent enough, or understood what I could do until I was practicing.

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

I remember a very inspiring “speech” that Chris Brook, my RRWA professor and now Legal Director of the NC ACLU chapter, gave on the last day of our class. He passionately talked about his view of the importance of using a law degree to help folks who need legal help, and implored us all to do whatever we could as pro bono work. He talked about the privilege of having a J.D. and the responsibility of pro bono that comes with the licensure. He believed it and practiced it and it spoke to me.

What does your current Pro Bono practice look like?

I provide family law or DV counsel to folks who can’t afford it. I try to work with 1-3 pro bono clients at any given time and help them with all sorts of issues – getting domestic violence protection orders, sorting out child custody, seeking child support, and terminating the parental rights of absent or abusive parents. Lots of it is advising, and then drafting documents or going to court when necessary.


Read More... (Alumna Feature: Nicole Quallen '10)
Posted by James G. Wudel on Sun. May 1, 2016 9:50 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: Nancy Ray '01

Nancy Ray
Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Nancy Ray, UNC Law Class of 2001

Place of employment:

State of North Carolina -- Magistrate; East Carolina University -- Instructor

Area of practice:

When I was in private practice, I handled criminal law, family law, and juvenile law matters.

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Family Law with Marion Crain

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

There are many children involved with our local juvenile court who do not qualify for representation by the Guardian Ad Litem program, because they are considered dependent children and not abused or neglected children. Dependent children come into the care of the Department of Social Services because they lack a parent who can provide care for them or who can make arrangements for their care. Most of the dependent children who do not have a GAL or GAL attorney are older children. Often, those children have some of the most urgent, unmet educational and social needs. I volunteered as a GAL attorney advocate in order to provide those children with representation in court. After I took a position as a magistrate, I could not actively practice law, but I could continue to volunteer as a GAL. I remain an active advocate for abused and neglected children in Pitt County. I also volunteer with our local Teen Court, which diverts children from juvenile delinquency court and allows them to have a sentencing hearing before a jury of their peers. It is important to me to empower young people by giving them a voice in the court system and encouraging their direct participation in court activity.

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

Helping these children navigate the DSS system has taught me much about the local resources that are available for young people, substance abusers, and the mentally ill. I have met and learned from so many professionals who care deeply for children and vulnerable adults. I am running for District Court judge in Pitt County, and the cases that I have handled as part of my pro bono work are sources of inspiration for me. I want to make sure that children and young people are treated fairly in the court system and that their best interest is the court’s main consideration.

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

The more people you meet, and the more diverse those people are, the broader your own perspective becomes. You become a better person and a better attorney. Pro bono work is a great way to serve others, to learn about other people’s life experiences, and to become a kinder and smarter person.


Read More... (Alumna Feature: Nancy Ray '01)
Posted by Jared S. Smith on Mon. February 29, 2016 7:41 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: Lindsey W. Spain '12

Lindsey W. Spain
Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Lindsey W. Spain, UNC Law Class of 2012

Place of employment:

Thomas, Ferguson & Mullins, LLP

Area of practice:

Criminal Defense

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Juvenile Justice Clinic with the accompanying Criminal Lawyering Process class taught by Professors Tamar Birckhead and Barb Fedders. I also enjoyed Trusts and Estates with Al Brophy and Business Associations with John Coyle.

Pro Bono experience in law school:

In law school, my first Pro Bono experience was over winter break of my 1L year when I volunteered to work at a local firm in Durham and created a trial digest notebook of a deposition. It was my first taste of doing actual legal work, and I was hooked. From there, I was fortunate enough to go on 2 Pro Bono trips: a trip to draft wills for low-income individuals in western North Carolina during my 1L year and a trip to assist in the Mecklenburg County Public Defender’s Office during my 3L year. I also regularly volunteered my time at the Orange County Public Defender’s Office during my third year of law school to gain more legal experience and help the local community.

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

I was first inspired to do Pro Bono work because I knew it would be a great way to get actual legal experience outside of the classroom. I continued to do Pro Bono work throughout law school and in my practice because it is extremely rewarding to be able to give back to the citizens of my home state. I enjoy meeting the people that I help and knowing that I’ve made even a small difference in their lives.

Read More...


Read More... (Alumna Feature: Lindsey W. Spain '12)
Posted by Jared S. Smith on Sat. January 30, 2016 1:44 PM
Categories: Alumni Features
1 2 3 4 

Administrator Login

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106


If you are seeing this, you are either using a non-graphical browser or Netscape 4.x (4.7, 4.8, etc.) and this page appears very plain. If you are using a 4.x version of Netscape, this site is fully functional but lacks styles and optimizations available in other browsers. For full functionality, please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer or Firefox.