Associates Reflect on Summer at LSSP

As our summer clerks and interns prepare to return to school, we asked them to share about their experiences with LSSP over the summer. We’re sad to see them go and are so grateful for the great work they did.

Daniel Betkoski Daniel Betkoski
Charlotte School of Law, Veterans Legal Services Clerk
Daniel enjoyed interacting with clients and learning about a new area of law. As someone who wishes to join the U.S. Army JAG Corps, he was happy to work on cases dealing with veteran issues. He is most proud of a case he has been working on for a while, for which he has done research, interviewed the client multiple times, and drafted an upgrade discharge request. LSSP has helped Daniel grow by helping him improve his research and writing skills, which he recognizes he will need to be a great attorney in the future.

“Everyone at LSSP has been extremely helpful and friendly, which has made me feel like an equal and not just an intern.”

Erin Daugherty
Notre Dame School of Law, Family Support & Health Care Clerk
Beyond relaErin Daughertytionship-building and learning about a new area of law, Erin says she has become more confident in her ability to communicate directly with clients while remaining cognizant of when seek for help. She appreciates the necessary balance between confidence and humility. Erin is most proud of her work on a case that provided Medicaid to a disabled man and on many cases that provided people the proper allotment of food stamps. In particular, Erin reflected on a case in which a woman’s food stamp allotment was increased by about $40 – a seemingly nominal amount, but for the woman, it was the difference between eating or being hungry for the week.

“I moved to Charlotte specifically to work at LSSP without any family or friends in the area,” Erin says. “At the beginning it was difficult being so far from those closest to me but everyone at LSSP was so welcoming and caring that it made my transition a wonderful experience. Overall, this experience has given me perspective into the life of others as well as my own.”

Josh Martinkovic
UNC School of Law, McMillan Fellow and Consumer Protection Clerk
Josh MartinkovicJosh says that LSSP has helped him grow as a writer and researcher. Some of the cases he worked on were complex and required him to be resourceful in finding answers. He recognizes that without LSSP attorneys, many people don’t have viable legal options, and he hopes that his work has made someone’s life a little easier. Josh shared that he is most proud of the feedback he has received from co-workers and clients on his client interaction. They have complimented him for treating clients with respect and for showing them how he and LSSP care about their problems, which he thinks is especially important for working with low-income clients.

“My favorite part of the experience was learning the mechanics of being an attorney. Law school teaches you how to think like an attorney, but we do not have many opportunities for gaining practical experience in a subject area that interests us.”

Savannah Peters
UNC Chapel Hill, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Nonprofit Intern
Savannah PetersSavannah has loved interning with LSSP. She plans to attend law school and has a special interest in non-profit work, so it has been the perfect opportunity. Savannah particularly enjoyed gaining exposure to a large variety of projects and activities – from planning a tour of appreciation at various law firms, to attending a Medicaid Expansion Advocacy Day event in Raleigh. She is probably most proud of having written her first-ever grant report. Savannah says LSSP has helped her improve her communication and research skills and gain experience interacting with the legal community.

“Everyone, especially the development team, at LSSP has given me the most welcoming and enriching summer experience. I’m happy to have given even a small amount to such an amazing organization, and I’m leaving with an even better knowledge of what my future entails.”

Shila Richard
Charlotte School of Law, McMillan Fellow and Family Support & Health Care Clerk
Shila RichardShila’s favorite part of working with LSSP this summer was working closely with her supervising attorney, Gretchen Caldwell, and having her own clients. She says Gretchen and her clients made her feel like her work ethic was appreciated – like she finally belonged and contributed to helping those in need. Shila shared that it was a challenge to learn about all of the Medicaid and Social Security rules, but the staff made it a great experience. Her proudest accomplishment was being able to represent her client at his Medicaid for Aged and Disabled state hearing after much preparation. She fondly remembers finding an encouraging sticky note at her desk after telling a fellow clerk that she was nervous about the hearing.

“LSSP has played a huge role in shaping my perspective, personal development, and future goals,” Shila says. “Being here has taught me that you can be the change, you can be someone’s voice, and you can be who you are while doing so. I have always been very passionate about public interest work and issues, but having the chance to really learn more and work with the clients was a major benefit.”

Nick Torres
Furman University, Courthouse Volunteer
Nick says he had no clue what to expect before beginning, since working in the court house every day is a job that you cannot study for. He expressed that Kathryn Coiner-Collier, his supervisor, provided care and support that have been a huge help, making the summer an incredible opportunity and experience that he would recommend a thousand times. Nick says he recognized how fortunate he is before the summer, but LSSP has shown him what an honor it is to serve others.

“I am very proud of the fact that for the first time respondents don’t feel like they are stepping into a trap, due to the caring and friendly face that Kat and I provide – they know that this is a safe space. The fear that people feel when they arrive to court is a fear that I hope many will never have to experience in their lives.”

LSSP was honored to have two James B. McMillan Legal fellows work join us this summer. Shila Richard, of Charlotte School of Law, served as a Family Support & Healthcare clerk, and Josh Martinkovic, of UNC School of Law, served as a Consumer Protection clerk. Established by the Mecklenburg County Bar in 1995 to honor the memory of U.S. District Judge James B. McMillan, the fund awards fellowships to law students who demonstrate a commitment to public interest service and seek career opportunities with nonprofit or governmental agencies in Mecklenburg County. LSSP is one of 16 agencies participating in the program.

Posted in News | Comments Off

Hola Noticias Promotes LSSP Navigator Outreach Event

This week’s edition of Holas Noticias highlights LSSP’s efforts to let local non-citizens learn abou072016 Holas Noticias Latino Outreach Screenshot (2)t benefits they can receive. The article promotes an out event Aug. 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Midwood International & Cultural Center Auditorium, where attendees can learn about accessing healthcare, food and income assistance. LSSP’s healthcare navigator team is hosting the event in partnership with Enroll America, International House, the City of Charlotte and the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services.

Read the article here

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

SHARE This Summer with LSSP

SummerSHARE lemonade logo size


Join LSSP July 11-22 in a Charlotte-wide initiative to help local nonprofits meet the needs of our community this summer

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont has partnered with Summer SHARE CLT with hopes of inspiring our neighbors to help address the needs of our community during a time of the year when demand for assistance increases for many nonprofits. While the needs of clients and programs may rise with temperatures in the summer, donations that supplement those needs are often down. Don’t take a vacation from giving!

The campaign lasts two weeks, running July 11-22.

You can participate by visiting  to purchase an item on LSSP’s  Amazon Wish List or by simply giving a monetary donation to support LSSP’s mission of ensuring a full measure of justice for those in need. Then pat yourself on the back and spread the word. Encourage friends, family, neighbors and coworkers to join you in supporting LSSP and Charlotte’s nonprofit community.

SummerSHARE 2016 Coloring Books Graphic 2

What does LSSP need this summer?

Don’t underestimate the power of a crayon. Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont is asking for a lot of great things to help us better serve our clients during the Summer SHARE CLT giving initiative, including coloring books! For many of our youngest clients, the trauma of leaving the poverty and violence of their home countries is often exacerbated by the confusing and stressful court proceedings they participate in once they arrive in Charlotte. Coloring gives these children an outlet for their apprehension and offers a therapeutic way to express their feelings as they spend hours in a court waiting room. Help LSSP encourage our youngest clients this summer by offering them a creative outlet during such a difficult time in their lives.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

LSSP Navigators on Estrella TV Charlotte


LSSP Health Insurance Navigators Julian Cernuda and Elizabeth Garcia are spreading the word about Special Enrollment Periods and coverage options in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Learn more in this Estrella TV Charlotte segment.

Read more on Special Enrollment Periods in this Hola Noticias article.




Posted in News | Comments Off

Welcome, 2016 Summer Clerks and Interns!

IMG_7861 Edit (Web)

Meet our 2016 summer clerks and interns!

From left to right:

Daniel Betkoski of Charlotte School of Law – Veterans Legal Services Clerk

Erin Daugherty of Notre Dame Law School – Family Support &
Health Care Clerk

Josh Martinkovic of University of North Carolina School of Law – Mecklenburg County Bar McMillan Fellow & Consumer Protection Clerk

Savannah Peters of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Nonprofit Intern

Shila Richard of Charlotte School of Law – Mecklenburg County Bar McMillan Fellow & Family Support & Health Care Clerk

Christopher Contreras of Charlotte School of Law – Immigrant Justice Clerk (not pictured)

Nicholas Torres of Furman University – Immigrant Justice Intern (not pictured)



Posted in News | Comments Off

LSSP to host NC Families Care Coalition meeting – RESCHEDULED

NC Families Care Coalition LogoLSSP New Square Logo (Blue)





LSSP and the NC Families Care Coalition invite you to attend a regional meeting being held in Charlotte on June 17 to discuss current coalition efforts around paid leave, paid sick days and living wages for North Carolina’s working people, and for non-member groups to learn more about joining the fight for family-friendly workplace policies.

What: Regional meeting of the NC Families Care Coalition

When: Rescheduled to Friday, June 17, from 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Lunch will be provided.

Where: Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, 1431 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC

Who: Existing coalition member organizations and groups interested in learning more about (and potentially joining in) the coalition’s work on paid medical leave, paid sick days and living wages.

RSVP here:



Posted in News | Comments Off

Congratulations to our 2015 Pro Bono Honor Roll honorees!


Meck A to J Pro Bono LogoOur 2015 Pro Bono Honor Roll is up! Congratulations and thank you to all of our dedicated pro bono attorneys! Each of you has played a key role in helping Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte provide access to justice for those in need in our community.

View the 2015 Pro Bono Honor Roll.



Posted in News | Comments Off

Thank you for attending the 2016 Justice for All Luncheon!

JFA 2016 PowerPoint Main Slide-01Thank you to all who attended our 2016 Justice for All Luncheon
where we shared our story of providing justice for those in need in our community on Tuesday, April 19, at The Westin Charlotte with more than 450 in attendance.

View photos from the event.

Watch the video we premiered at the luncheon.

Please consider helping us improve our event by giving us feedback through our very short online survey.

Thank you for supporting access to justice!

Thank you to our 2016 Justice for All
Luncheon sponsors:

BofA_enterprise_cmykBABC_Logo4CL- HIGH RESDuke-Energy-Logo-4cKLGLogo_Color_PrintUse High Res


Thank you to our table sponsors and hosts!


JFA 2016 Table Sponsors and Hosts-02

Posted in News | Comments Off

Health Coverage Gap Panel 3.16.16


Close the Gap NC



(CHARLOTTE, N.C. — March 9, 2016) To date, our state has failed to accept federal funds to expand health insurance coverage to more than 500,000 North Carolinians, forcing many families to go uninsured.

Four distinguished panelists will come together March 16 to educate their community about closing North Carolina’s Medicaid coverage gap.

The League of Women Voters of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, along with the NC Justice Center, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, NC Child, and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association are joining forces to educate the community about Medicaid expansion in North Carolina.

The panelists include:

Susan F. Shumaker, RN, MHA, FACHE, who serves as president of the Cone Health Foundation, will speak about the coverage gap’s effect on North Carolina and Charlotte’s economies.

Rob Luisana is a Managing Partner with Pilot Benefits and will explain the impact closing the coverage gap will have on North Carolina’s insurance market.

Fred Hargett is EVP and CFO of Novant Health and will speak about the financial impact of Medicaid expansion on hospitals.

Adam Linker, co-director of the Health Access Coalition at the NC Justice Center, will discuss the political dynamics of closing the Medicaid gap, and their implication for effective advocacy.

To learn more about closing the health insurance coverage gap in North Carolina, visit


About League of Women Voters of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan, grassroots political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government. A membership organization, the League presents unbiased information about voter issues and elections. The League of Women Voters is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation. Learn more at

About Legal Services of Southern Piedmont
Legal Services of Southern Piedmont’s mission is to ensure a full measure of justice for those in need, providing a wide range of civil legal assistance to eligible low-income persons in the Charlotte metropolitan area and West-Central N.C.

About NC Child
NC Child advances public policies that improve the lives of North Carolina’s children. We work statewide to ensure that all children are healthy, safe, well-educated, and economically secure by engaging communities, and informing and influencing decision-makers. Find out more at

About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the North Carolina Justice Center
The North Carolina Justice Center is the state’s preeminent voice for economic, social and political justice. As a leading progressive research and advocacy organization, our mission is to eliminate poverty in North Carolina by ensuring that every household in the state has access to the resources, services and fair treatment it needs to achieve economic security. Find out more at





Posted in News | Comments Off

Military Mondays Legal Clinics

Veterans Header 2

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont is making legal assistance more readily available for local veterans as part of the Starbucks Military Mondays program. Aiming to serve communities of veterans who may not live near a legal services provider, LSSP will assist veterans, service members and their families in Union and Cabarrus Counties by hosting free monthly legal clinics at several area Starbucks locations. The clinics will offer advice and referral information on a variety of civil legal issues impacting local veterans and military families, including disability compensation, survivors benefits, discharge upgrades, consumer law, tax issues and other non-criminal legal matters.

“It’s vital that we honor the service of veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our country. These clinics are a small but important way to give back,” Robert Davis, LSSP Attorney Project Coordinator, said. “We hope to reach veterans who are not aware that legal help and benefits are available by serving them close to home.”

Military Mondays Starbucks LSSP General Flyer 5.3.16-01

The Starbucks Military Mondays program is part of a national effort to support transitioning service men and women as well as their families while also strengthen ties between civilians and the military community. Military Mondays provides a venue where advocates and veterans can meet at Starbucks to address a variety of transition barriers. The program first launched in 2015 in partnership with William and Mary Law School in a Williamsburg, Virginia, store, and the company plans for a total of 20 such clinics in Starbucks stores across the country, largely made possible by local partners (employees) from its Armed Forces Network.

The clinics will recur each month at the following Starbucks locations:

  • Union County: Sun Valley Starbucks at 6701 Old Monroe Road, Indian Trail, N.C. – FIRST Monday of the month beginning at 1 p.m.
  • Cabarrus County: Concord Highway 29 Starbucks at 1490 U.S. Hwy 29, Concord, N.C. – THIRD Monday of the month beginning at 1 p.m.

Additional information about the clinics is available at or by calling 704.808.4144. Walk-ins are welcome as time and schedule permits, and appointments are also available by calling 704.808.4144.

Legal Services of Southern Piedmont’s mission is to ensure a full measure of justice for those in need, providing a wide range of civil legal assistance to eligible low-income persons in the Charlotte metropolitan area and West-Central N.C.

The Starbucks Armed Forces Network (AFN) was founded in 2007 to bring partners who served in the military together to bond over their shared experiences, to provide guidance for newly hired partners transitioning from military to civilian life and to create a veteran-friendly workforce. Learn more about the program here.

Posted in News | Comments Off