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NC Bar Association presents 2007 Pro bono Awards

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA), in conjunction with the NCBA Foundation's Public Service Advisory Committee, presented the 2007 Pro Bono Awards on June 22 during the 109th NCBA Annual Meeting at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.

Winston-Salem attorney Reid C. "Cal" Adams, of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PPLC, received the 2007 William L. Thorp Award, presented annually since 1984 by the NCBA. (Adams on left accepted the award from D. Clarke Smith, NCBA President.) 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. Adams has provided pro bono representation to clients who could not afford his services, as well as 9/11 victims before the federal Victim Compensation Fund. He has also spent several hours serving as a member and chair on the boards of Legal Aid of North Carolina and Legal Aid Society of Northwest North Carolina. In addition, Adams was recently named vice chair of the N.C. Equal Access to Justice Commission.Carolina Legal Assistance. Gottsegen has worked as a volunteer attorney for Central Carolina Legal Service, and now as a staff attorney for the Legal Society of Northwest North Carolina, Inc., handles cases ranging from consumer law to foreclosure law. She previously taught third-year law students in the Wake Forest University School of Law's clinical program, supervising 4-5 students each semester. In October 2001, Gottsegen accepted the position as the executive director for LASNNC. She has since returned to her practice and clients in the Fair Lending and Home Defense Program.

The law firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC, with offices in Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, received the 2007 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award for Large Firms. WCSR logged nearly 13,000 pro bono hours in 2006. (Murray C. "Tripp" Greason III who serves as the firm's pro bono director accepted the award from NCBA President D. Clark Smith.) In 2006, Womble Carlyle developed and implemented a pro bono response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Many within the firm participated in trips to triage and clean-up of certain towns in the affected region of the Gulf Coast. After teleconferences with the Louisiana legal service providers for which out-of-state lawyers could work under the Louisiana Rule, they found a good fit with New Orleans Legal Assistance/Southeast Louisiana Legal Services in New Orleans. Womble Carlyle provided assistance to New Orleans homeowners whose family homes were destroyed or damaged by Katrina. The firm is also a signatory to the ABA's Pro Bono Challenge, and continues to have a pro bono presence in North Carolina through the various legal services providers.

The 2007 Chief Justice Award was presented to the Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers Program (MAVLP), which handled 743 pro bono cases in 2006 in the counties surrounding Asheville. The award ecognizes bar associations that make extraordinary contributions in support of pro bono legal services. (NCBA President Clark Smith, right, presents award to the Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers Program. Accepting, from left, are Chris Callahan, Ward Scott, James Ellis, David Neumann, Bill Whalen, Mark Feagan and Jason Hayes.) MAVLP serves Buncombe County's 216,000 residents, as well as the surrounding counties in western North Carolina. Accepted 743 cases in 2006 compared to 605 in 2005. These cases included 231 Hotline cases. The number of pro bono hours contributed in cases closed in 2006 rose to 2,250 valued at $337,500 when conservatively calculated at $150 an hour.


Sean Perrin, of Womble CarlyleSandridge & Rice PLLC, received the 2007 YLD (Younger Lawyer Division) Younger Lawyer Pro Bono Award. During 2006, Perrin devoted pro bono hours to Legal Aid of North Carolina


The recepient of the 2007 Deborah Greenblatt Outstanding Legal Services Attorney Award was Susan W. Gottsegen, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Northwest
North Carolina in Winston-Salem. (Gottsegen on left accepted the award from NCBA President Clarke Smith.) The award is presented to an attorney employed by a legal services organization who provides exemplary legal service through an agency or other noprofit entity that serves low-income people in North Carolina. The award is named in memory of Greenblatt, an outstanding lifelong legal services attorney and a long-time executive director of

The Public Interest and Pro Bono Board of the Duke University School of Law received the Law Students Pro Bono Project Award. (NCBA President Clark Smith, right, presents award to the Public Interest and Pro Bono Board of the Duke University School of Law. (Accepting, from left, are Kim Burrucker, Carol Spruill and Matthew Wolfe.) This board consists of 50 student leaders that work with the Office of Public Interest and Pro Bono on a wide assortment of pro bono and public interest activities. Their efforts result in forming a very visible public interest community that attracts the vast majority of the Duke Law student body to participate in public service while in law school, and to prepare them for incorporating public service into their lives as lawyers.

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Kate Powers is an associate in the litigation department at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. She holds a J.D. from Cornell Law School where she served as a Notes Editor of the Cornell International Law Journal. She currently volunteers with Her Justice in New York. Read More

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