4ALL Statewide Service Day Is Huge Success
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
- Organization: NC Bar Association
With the flip of a switch at 7 a.m. on Friday morning, March 5, phone lines across the state began to buzz as the North Carolina Bar Association’s third annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day was up and running.
Twelve hours later, when the final nugget of legal information was passed along at no cost from a North Carolina lawyer to a grateful citizen of this state, another enormously successful public service event was in the books.
The record books, that is.
Operating from seven call centers stretching from the mountains to the coast, volunteer attorneys fielded 8,467 calls, eclipsing the previous mark by a considerable margin.
Of course, in the end, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about helping the people of North Carolina, who continue to make this event the worthwhile success that it has become by taking advantage of the opportunity to have their legal questions answered for free.
This year was much faster paced for some reason – shorter questions which often required shorter answers meaning a higher volume,” stated volunteer attorney Nan Hannah of Raleigh. “The calls were more varied, with the usual concentration on Family and Criminal Law issues.
“Every person I spoke with expressed gratitude and genuine appreciation for our offering this service.”
In addition to issues normally addressed, this call center also received a number of weather-related questions brought about by one of the harshest winters on record in western North Carolina.
”While many calls dealt with the economic problems (mortgage foreclosure, credit card debt, and taxes),” Robertson added, “we saw a lot of questions about who was responsible for the damage and clean up from the trees that had fallen from the neighbor’s property during the winter snow and ice storms.
“Attorneys from Franklin, Hendersonville, Boone, Black Mountain and Asheville staffed the phones in the western area call center. My sincere thanks go out to the volunteers for making the Asheville 2010 4ALL call center at WLOS a great success!”
It takes an army of volunteers to make it happen, from the attorneys who field the calls to the paralegals, law students and legal aid attorneys who provide support throughout the day. NCBA staff and employees of the call centers also play pivotal roles in bringing this event to fruition.
Jon Heyl and Kim Sieredzki served as co-chairs of the 4ALL Task Force and the Participate Working Group for 2009-10. Leading the way on behalf of the NCBA staff were Michelle Cofield, director of public service and pro bono activities who serves as staff liaison to the 4ALL Task Force, her administrative assistant, Kathy Jefferson, and Tom Purdy, IT director who coordinated technical issues and communication procedures with each of the seven call centers.
Here’s a breakdown of each of the seven call centers, including the names of call center chairs and associate chairs, along with those of key individuals who represented each of the call centers.
Western North Carolina and the Asheville area were served for the third year by WLOS News 13 in Asheville, with Sharon Robertson serving as the call center chair for the 4ALL Task Force. Providing support from WLOS were Jack Connors, Rollin Tompkins and Chris Blann. A total of 40 volunteers handled 811 calls utilizing eight phone lines.
The first 4ALL Spanish-language call center was hosted by ACS, Inc. of Cary, marking the second time ACS has hosted a call center. Milan Pham served as call center chair. Jay Hinckley and Debbie Smith led a team of ACS staff members that included Brian Gould who supported this call center, which utilized 30 volunteers in fielding 301 calls on 10 phone lines.
Charlotte/Mecklenburg and surrounding counties were served for the third year by WBTV News 3 in Charlotte. Amy Bokor served as the call center chair with support from associate chairs Trey Lindley and Danny Merlin. Shelly Hill Crawford, Don Shaw, Mike Guthrie, Alex Helms and Amanda Rick provided support on behalf of WBTV. A total of 69 volunteers handled 1,425 calls utilizing 15 phone lines.
Greensboro and the Triad area were served for the third year by WFMY News 2 in Greensboro, The Volunteer Center of Greensboro and United Way of Greater Greensboro. Parrish Lentz served as site chair with support from associate chairs Scott Adams and Stephanie Roberts. Host support for this site was provided by Hollie Rose and DeRee Burt of The Volunteer Center, Deborah Hooper of WFMY, and Robin Robertson and Lana Davidson of United Way. A total of 104 volunteers were used in fielding 2,190 calls with 22 phone lines.
Eastern North Carolina was served for the first time by WNCT-TV 9 in Greenville, a welcome addition to the 4ALL family of call center hosts. Mary Charles Wall served as the call center chair while Vickie Jones provided lead support for WNCT. A total of 1,019 calls were fielded by 38 volunteers using 10 phone lines.
Raleigh and the Triangle area were served for the second year by WRAL-TV 5 in Raleigh. Jason Pfister served as the call center chair while Monica Laliberte, Jeff Ritchie, Paulie Saville, Loretta Harper-Arnold and Lori Lair provided support on behalf of WRAL. A total of 1,933 calls were fielded by 108 volunteers utilizing up to 23 phone lines.
Wilmington and Southeastern North Carolina were served for the third year by the Wilmington offices of the Williams Mullen law firm, with WWAY-TV 3 providing promotional support throughout the day. Ryan Rhodenhiser served as the call center chair. Providing support on behalf of Williams Mullen were Mike Gray, Ken Shaw and James Williams, with Andy Combs and Carolyn Candebat leading WWAY’s efforts. The call center’s 35 volunteers fielded 788 calls utilizing nine phone lines.
One new wrinkle for this year’s 4ALL Statewide Service Day involved additional recognition for each of the call center hosts, not only for this year but for the previous two years as well. Each of the aforementioned site hosts received a plaque for each year they have provided support for this worthwhile endeavor.