Blog Posts: 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.


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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.


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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.

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Posted by Jared S. Smith on Sat. January 30, 2016 1:44 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: Jenna Lyn Hoeler '12

Jenna Lyn Hoeler

Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Jenna Lyn Hoeler, UNC Law Class of 2012

Place of employment:

Ropes & Gray LLP

Area of practice:

Labor & Employment

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Labor Law, Professor Hirsch

Pro Bono experience in law school:

My absolute favorite pro bono experience in law school was traveling to New Orleans over December break to help write pro se divorce petitions. The work we did was fantastic, the people we met in New Orleans were an inspiration and there is absolutely no better way to get to know your classmates than to take part in a service trip like this.

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

When I was in law school, my motivation to do pro bono work was to get out into the world and see what it really meant to practice law. I had a hard time visualizing it based on what we were doing in class. I’ve continued to participate in pro bono work because it is simply the most rewarding aspect of my practice. We are all constantly surrounded by lawyers, so it is easy to forget that we have a skill that very few people possess and that even a small amount of our time can be very powerful for those who do not otherwise have access to legal help they can afford.

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Posted by Jared S. Smith on Sun. January 3, 2016 6:41 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: Meriwether Evans '13

Meriwether Evans

Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Meriwether Evans, UNC Law Class of 2013

Place of employment:

Vinson & Elkins, LLP, Dallas, TX

Area of practice:

Complex Commercial Litigation

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Professor Coyle’s Business Associations. Prof. Coyle teaches the class in a way that really helped me realize how fascinating the world of corporate law can be. (That sounds super nerdy, I know.) Good thing for me, because my practice is mainly securities litigation!

Pro Bono experience in law school:

You name it, I did it. As I 1L, I drafted wills and other end-of-life documents on my first fall break trip. As a 3L, went on the winter break trip to assist the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian with legal issues they face.  I was also heavily involved with the Pro Bono Program itself, which served as my anchor in the stormy seas of law school. I was 1L Class Coordinator, 2L Class Coordinator, and then Director my 3L year. Being a part of that group of students, either as a member of the board or by doing pro bono work, was truly one of my favorite aspects of law school.

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

I entered law school a little later in life and knew in my second try at a career that I wanted to have the skills and knowledge to make a difference. I saw my first chance to do that with the Pro Bono Program.


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Posted by Jared S. Smith on Mon. November 30, 2015 9:23 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumnus Feature: Joe Vossen '11

Joe Vossen

Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Joe Vossen, UNC Law Class of 2011

Place of employment:

United Educators Risk Retention Group in the Washington DC area.

Area of practice:

Higher Education, Risk Management, Insurance

Favorite class/professor in law school:

It’s a tie. The two classes I enjoyed most were Evidence with Professor Broun and Insurance with Professor Hornstein.

Pro Bono experience in law school:

Pro Bono Board Winter and Spring Break Co-Coordinator, 100 hours of pro bono service at graduation

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

In law school I sought pro bono opportunities to provide a more practical component to my legal education. I also believe that public institutions like Carolina Law have a responsibility to give back to the state and its citizens. Serving as the Winter and Spring Break Co-Coordinator with Emily Wallwork was an incredible opportunity to pair interested law students with deserving North Carolina communities. After graduation I continued to search for pro bono opportunities in Western North Carolina, where I practiced for two years, and then Washington, DC after I moved.


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Posted by Jared S. Smith on Mon. November 2, 2015 8:24 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumnus Feature: Jonathan Sasser '81

Jon Sasser

Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Jonathan Sasser, UNC Law Class of 1981

Place of employment:

Ellis & Winters

Area of practice: Business Litigation

Favorite class/professor in law school:

William Aycock

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

It was an honored tradition at my first law firm, Paul Weiss.

What does your current Pro Bono practice look like?

Representing NC families in the same-sex marriage case; many representations for the ACLU.


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Posted by Jared S. Smith on Thu. October 1, 2015 7:55 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumnus Feature: Will Corbett '03

Will Corbett

Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Will Corbett, UNC Law Class of 2003

Place of employment:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Area of practice: Regulatory/Policy

Favorite class/professor in law school:

If I have to pick just one, I'd say Professor Charles Daye - his Housing Law class continues to shape my approach to policy.

Pro Bono experience in law school:

I served on the Pro Bono Program Board all three years in law school, so I spent a lot of my time coordinating projects for other students. But I also did research for Legal Aid, and I worked with a group of law students to start the Street Law Project, which taught middle school students about the law and the constitution.

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

My first experience with pro bono work was before law school, working as a paralegal in San Francisco, through the Homeless Advocacy Project. I got a chance to help associates at my firm on their pro bono cases and work directly with clients. I saw how the plight of individuals could change dramatically once a lawyer was on their side. Later on, I served as a legal services attorney and then joined the Office of the Commissioner Of Banks, helping North Carolina respond to the foreclosure crisis. As a public servant, I've tried to facilitate greater access to legal resources through developing projects and training aspiring pro bono attorneys.


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Posted by Jared S. Smith on Mon. August 31, 2015 8:33 PM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumnus Feature: Dean Martin Brinkley '92

Dean Martin Brinkley

Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Martin Brinkley, UNC Law Class of 1992

The UNC Law Pro Bono Program is excited to welcome Dean Martin Brinkley home to Carolina Law and to recognize him as this month’s Pro Bono Featured Alumnus. Dean Brinkley comes to us from Smith Anderson in Raleigh where he worked as partner for twelve years, practicing in areas including corporate law, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and trade regulation, public finance, charitable foundations and nonprofit organizations, and appellate litigation. He also served as the 2011-2012 president of the 17,000-member North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA); in his inaugural address he shared: “[Pro Bono] work is one of the title deeds to which each of us took delivery when we applied for a license to practice law.”


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Posted by Jared S. Smith on Sun. August 2, 2015 8:44 AM
Categories: Alumni Features

Alumna Feature: Ashley Campbell '03

Ashley Campbell

Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Ashley Huffstetler Campbell, UNC Law Class of 2003

Place of employment:

Ragsdale Liggett PLLC, Raleigh

Area of practice:

Business Litigation with a focus on real estate litigation and professional malpractice matters, particularly accounting malpractice.

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Professor Robert Byrd who taught 1L torts. He was very “old school” in the vein of the Paper Chase. He was an excellent and exciting teacher who always kept us on our toes.

Pro Bono experience in law school:

I started a project called the HIV/AIDS Legal Assistance project that provided estate planning services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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

My parents taught me from an early age that we should serve those in need. I volunteered as a teenager in the first home for people living with AIDS in North Carolina, the House of Mercy in Belmont NC, and it inspired me to serve people living with the disease. In the 1990s and early 2000s, AIDS was still a death sentence for many people carrying the disease. Today, thankfully, many people live healthy, productive lives with AIDS.


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Posted by Jared S. Smith on Tue. June 30, 2015 12:00 PM
Categories: Alumni Features
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