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North Carolina Lawyers Serving the Public Interest.

Gaston County VLP recognizes 7 outstanding pro bono attorneys

Gaston County VLP 2008 pro bono honoreesSeven attorneys participating in the local Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) affiliated with the Legal Aid of North Carolina-Gastonia Office received outstanding service awards at their local bar meetings in Shelby on March 31 and in Gastonia on April 1. The awards were presented by VLP Coordinator, Becki Lowder. Jeannette R. Reeves (of Teddy and Meekins in Shelby) and Sonya C. McGraw (of Ferguson and McGraw in Gastonia) received the VLP Distinguished Service Awards; both attorneys provided more than 50 hours of service to their VLP clients during 2008, with Ms. Reeves providing the greatest number of attorney hours to clients in the three county service area of Gaston, Cleveland, and Lincoln counties. Both Reeves and McGraw have received VLP service awards in the past and continue to provide outstanding legal assistance to the pro bono clients routed to them through the VLP. James R. Martin (of Mullen Holland Cooper), R. Dennis Lorance (of Katzenstein and Lorance), Shantel Boone of (Mullen Holland Cooper), and Laura Crawford and Geoffrey A. Planer, both solo practitioners, received VLP Service Awards. All the recipients received awards in past years for their participation in the local program and their outstanding contributions to individual clients. The total contribution made by the group of award recipients exceeded 290 attorney hours, equaling a monetary contribution of approximately $58,000. Attorneys participating in the VLP agree to represent clients who have been screened for financial eligibility and type of case by the local Legal Aid office for no fee. The main types of cases coming through the program currently are unemployment benefits appeals cases, custody cases, and help with wills, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives. [Pictured above (l-r): Shantel Boone; Laura Crawford; James R. Martin; Sonya C. McGraw; and Jeannette R. Reeves. (Not pictured: Dennis Lorance; Geoffrey A. Planer.)]

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