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North Carolina Lawyers Serving the Public Interest.

Pro Bono Award Winners Set For NCBA Annual Meeting

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The North Carolina Bar Association, in conjunction with the NCBA Foundation’s Public Service Advisory Committee, will present the 2010 Pro Bono Service Awards during the 112th NCBA Annual Meeting, scheduled June 24-27 at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside.

The awards will be presented on Friday, June 25, during the President’s Luncheon.

Cynthia Alleman of Asheville is the 2010 recipient of the William L. Thorp Award, presented annually since 1984 by the NCBA. The award recognizes the Pro Bono Attorney of the Year and was named in memory of Bill Thorp, a founder of Legal Services of North Carolina, in 2002.

The 2010 recipient of the Deborah Greenblatt Outstanding Legal Services Attorney Award is Linda S. Johnson of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Charlotte office.

The Larger Law Firm Pro Bono Award recipient is Robinson Bradshaw and Hinson while the Hatcher Law Group will receive the Smaller Law Firm Pro Bono Award. Both firms are based in Charlotte.

The 28th Judicial District Bar of Buncombe County will receive the Chief Justice Award and the Wills Project at University of North Carolina School of Law will receive the Law Student Group Pro Bono Award.

Read further for additional information on each award and honoree.

William L. Thorp Pro Bono Service Award

Cynthia Alleman will receive the William Thorp Pro Bono Service Award, recognizing her outstanding service and dedication to providing pro bono legal services as a private attorney. Alleman has been a member of the Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers panel since 1994 helping as a hotline volunteer, financial supporter, volunteer for guardianship cases and immigration matters. She has rendered approximately 245 pro bono hours. She assists people in Buncombe and Henderson counties. Alleman is a solo practitioner in Asheville.

Deborah Greenblatt Outstanding Legal Services Attorney Award

Linda S. Johnson is an unsung, tireless advocate for her clients with housing and employment related issues. Because of this, she will be awarded the Deborah Greenblatt Outstanding Legal Services Attorney Award.  This award was named in memory of an outstanding legal services attorney, Deborah Greenblatt. Johnson is employed by Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Charlotte office. For more than 15 years, her quiet dedication has helped hundreds of clients. For years, her case, Charlotte Housing Authority v. Patterson (N.C. Court of Appeals) was the authority that protected innocent victims from eviction.  For more than a decade she has represented the Residents Advisory Council to the Charlotte Housing Authority. Johnson is legal services stalwart and resource for other colleagues in that community.

Larger Law Firm Pro Bono Service Award

Robinson Bradshaw and Hinson will receive this year’s Large Law Firm Pro Bono Service Award in recognition of the firm’s healthy pro bono culture.   In 2009, the firm provided 449 hours of pro bono service to LANC-Charlotte office, 100 more hours than the firm with the next highest pro bono hours donated.  A team of 15 attorneys donated more than 150 hours assisting 21 homeless families worked together to assist 50 homeless families who had only six months to stabilize themselves and to find housing during the winter of 2009.  These endeavors highlight their dedication to pro bono services to Legal Aid of North Carolina and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, both in Charlotte.

Smaller Law Firm Pro Bono Service Award

The Hatcher Law Group will receive this year’s Smaller Law Firm Pro Bono Service Award for its dedication to handling domestic matters in the Charlotte area.  Recently, the firm entered into a strategic partnership with Victim’s Assistance in Charlotte, committing to taking on at least one domestic violence case per week pro bono.  In 2008, the firm handled 25 domestic violence cases, providing 335 hours of pro bono assistance. In 2009, the firm dedicated more than 570 hours toward these pro bono activities.  The Hatcher Law Group of Charlotte is a small law firm of eight lawyers exclusively handling domestic law matters.

Chief Justice Award

The 28th Judicial District Bar (Buncombe County).  In 2009, bar leaders issued a Recession Response challenge to the members of this bar asking them to increase pro bono participation in the areas of greatest need due to the economic downturn.  As a result, pro bono hours increased by 38% (from 1708.97 in 2008 to 2356.65 in 2009) overall and the Hotline Advice program saw a 44% increase in closed cases and a 92% increase in pro bono hours (647.67 pro bono hours, 227 cases closed and 119 cases referred in 2009).  These efforts contributed to the Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers Program which is a program of Pisgah Legal Services in Asheville.

Law Student Group Pro Bono Award

More than 40 law students spent their fall and spring breaks in eastern North Carolina in conjunction with the UNC School of Law’s Wills Project. This group partnered with the UNC Center for Civil Rights and Legal Aid of North Carolina to help give landowners in eastern North Carolina the opportunity to decide how their property will be distributed.  These students assisted lawyers from Legal Aid of North Carolina in the preparation of wills and advanced directives by interviewing clients, collecting information, reviewing documents and helping execute documents, all under the watchful eyes of supervising attorneys.  More than 100 documents were prepared.

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ALSO SEE: 
- "UNC Law School Pro Bono Program to receive Award"

- "Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson honored for pro-bono work"  [05/24/10 Charlotte Business Journal article]

 

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