Local pro bono attorneys, advocates recognized by nonprofits at 2012 Pro Bono Awards Sept. 11
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – As the need for legal services for low-income families grows each year, more local attorneys are stepping outside of their private practices to volunteer with legal aid organizations to help eliminate the financial obstacles to accessing justice. This year, the area’s largest recipients of pro bono services, Council for Children’s Rights, Legal Aid of North Carolina and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, hosted their first annual Pro Bono Awards Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the Charlotte City Club to honor the attorneys who have generously given their time and expertise to local indigent families.
In 2011, approximately 300 attorneys and advocates gave more than 5,500 pro bono hours to CFCR, LANC and LSSP, serving upwards of 450 local families and individuals in need, and donating an equivalent of almost $1.4 million in legal services. The local firms, attorneys and advocates recognized and honored at the event made considerable pro bono contributions toward the community’s access to vital legal services and transformed the lives of hundreds of area residents.
George V. Hanna III of Moore & Van Allen received the Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award, a lifetime achievement honor recognizing an individual whose longstanding and exceptional dedication to pro bono legal service has made a meaningful impact on access to justice in the community and state.
“Participating in and supporting pro bono efforts is not merely a benefit for the client; it is a rewarding and enriching endeavor as counsel,” Hanna said. “We as lawyers have the unique and privileged opportunity to increase access to counsel and legal assistance for those in need. In doing so, we help the justice system deliver outcomes that are fair and accessible to all.”
The Outstanding Firm Service Award, recognizing firms whose longtime partnerships and creative contributions have increased the capacities of CFCR, LANC and LSSP in serving local individuals, families and children in need, was awarded to:
- ·Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo, LLP;
- ·Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.; and
- ·Mitchell & Culp, PLLC.
The Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award, honoring attorneys who have contributed a considerable amount of pro bono hours and given local nonprofits the ability to serve more clients and initiate new projects, was awarded to:
- ·John P. Zimmer of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP;
- ·Kate E. Payerle of Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.;
- ·Deborah L. Edney of Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP; and
- ·Jami J. Farris of Parker Poe Adams & Berstein LLP.
The Outstanding Volunteer Service Award was given to Lesley L. Garafola, a legal manager at Wells Fargo & Company who has volunteered her time as a custody advocate for CFCR for the past 11 years.
This year’s Pro Bono Awards was sponsored by Lawyers Weekly and Bank of America and drew a crowd of more than 200 attorneys, judges, advocates and community members.
Council for Children’s Rights leads the community to stand up for every child’s right to be safe, healthy and educated. The nonprofit serves over 2,500 children annually with expert legal representation and holistic advocacy. CFCR provides intervention for protection of individual rights and expert research, policy and community planning to improve the lives of all children.
Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity.
Legal Services of Southern Piedmont’s mission is to assure a full measure of justice for those in need. LSSP provides a wide range of civil legal assistance to eligible low-income persons in the Charlotte metropolitan area and west-central NC.