Pro Bono Spotlight: Anabel Rosa

Anabel Rosa

Anabel Rosa

By Mary Irvine

Anabel Rosa has long held a commitment to giving back through service. “I know what it feels like to be the person who needs help,” describes Anabel. “I know what it feels like to not belong, to not have meaning, to not be able to speak with someone.” Anabel recalls a memory of sitting in the Hall of Languages at Syracuse University, where she completed her undergraduate degree, and looking at her homework, puzzled. Anabel could barely speak English when she came to the United States from Puerto Rico to attend college. She needed help, and someone helped her.

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Pro Bono Reporting Information

Sylvia NovinskyBy Sylvia Novinsky

Our Supreme Court notes “Equal Justice Under Law” on its building. Yet, access to this justice only truly exists when it is available to all members of our state, regardless of ability to pay. A failure to provide adequate legal services to those of modest means affects both the economic and social fabric of our society and does not adequately represent the principles of the profession to which we have been called.

Pro bono is one way for attorneys to help narrow the access to justice gap. We would like to capture your service and celebrate your pro bono work! We especially look forward to hearing about your pro bono legal services in 2021, including those provided through the North Carolina Bar Association and Foundation projects like Free Legal Answers, Wills for Heroes, and NC LEAP.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Rachel Royal

Rachel Royal

Rachel Royal

By Sarah Hill McIntyre

A North Carolina State Bar Certified Freelance Paralegal, Rachel Royal is the founder of Royal Touch Legal & Business Solutions. As a freelance paralegal, Rachel provides virtual paralegal services to personal injury, family law, and real estate firms while also serving as a Project Coordinator for the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center’s Driver’s License Restoration and Housing Stability Projects.

Despite her busy workload, Rachel is a leader in the North Carolina Bar Association, serving as the Secretary and Pro Bono Co-Chair for the Paralegal Division, the Co-Chair of the Survey Committee, and a member of the Awards Subcommittee of the Pro Bono Committee.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Salim Uqdah

Salim Uqdah

Salim Uqdah

By Sidney Thomas

Salim Uqdah is a dedicated volunteer who is focused on educating and providing his dispute resolution skills to the people of North Carolina. Salim is a North Carolina Certified paralegal, Arkfeld E-Discovery Specialist, and NCDRC Certified Mediator with an immense talent for bringing people to the table. Salim left the Mecklenburg Courthouse in June 2018 to find innovative ways to help people during the most difficult times in their lives. In 2018, Salim opened the doors of Uroboros Mediations, a dispute resolution company specializing in mediation, arbitration, and divorce coaching. He has served as a collaborative neutral facilitator, divorce coach, and a securities arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

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Celebrating National Pro Bono Week

By Manisha P. Patel

Members of the North Carolina access to justice community are putting the focus on pro bono as part of the National Pro Bono Week Celebration. The annual celebration has been celebrated in conjunction with the American Bar Association’s National Celebration of Pro Bono: Moving Forward in a Post-Pandemic World (this year’s theme) and is held from October 25 through October 31, 2021. The National Pro Bono Week Celebration focuses the nation’s attention on increased need for pro bono services and celebrates the outstanding work of lawyers who volunteer their services throughout the year.

During Pro Bono Week, North Carolina legal aid programs, bar associations, law firms, law schools, and others will celebrate pro bono by recognizing volunteers, offering training, providing pro bono legal services at clinics, hosting events to raise money for legal aid, and raising awareness of the need for pro bono. For more information about events in your area, visit https://www.probono.net/celebrateprobono/.

There are many ways to get involved in pro bono service in our state. North Carolina legal services organizations including Legal Aid of NC, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Pisgah Legal Services coordinate pro bono case referrals and provide volunteer training, support and malpractice insurance coverage for pro bono practice. The NC Bar Foundation and NC Pro Bono Resource Center both coordinate pro bono projects that engage attorneys, paralegals and law students in pro bono service. Sections, Divisions and Committees of the NC Bar Association coordinate pro bono initiatives that allow members to serve within their areas of practice. Find pro bono opportunities here: https://ncprobono.org/opportunities/.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: William Christy

By Karsin Williard

William (Bill) Christy is an outstanding volunteer attorney who has done extensive pro bono and community service to improve the lives of Western North Carolinians since moving back to the region in 1995 to practice law. Bill founded the firm Stone & Christy, PA in Black Mountain in that year and immediately began doing pro bono service through Pisgah Legal Services’ Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyer Program (MAVL). Through MAVL, Bill has handled at least 488 pro bono cases, contributing more than 1,500 hours of pro bono legal services. Bill has assisted low-income clients with consumer protection and debtor issues, housing problems, tax matters, end-of-life planning and probate, and immigration and family preparedness issues.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: UNC Law Students Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Law Students Against Sexual & Domestic Violence logoBy Karsin Williard

Law Students Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (LSASDV) is a university-recognized student organization at the UNC School of Law. In addition to sponsoring speakers and programs to educate law students and the university community about sexual and domestic violence, LSASDV provides pro bono opportunities for UNC law students to advocate for survivors through connections with local domestic violence service providers, rape crisis centers, and legal nonprofits. In light of growing awareness and concern about sexual violence, the UNC School of Law student leaders of LSASDV hope to ensure that students have the opportunity to advocate for sexual assault survivors. The organization’s goal is also to express to the entire community that UNC law students believe survivors and are dedicated to providing support to victims. The organization also works to educate the community on the disproportionate impact that sexual and domestic violence has on poor and minority women.

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Pro Bono Spotlight: Sarah Beth Withers

By Karsin Williard

Sarah Beth Withers is dedicated to bridging the justice gap in Eastern North Carolina. In 2017, She founded Inner Banks Legal Services, a non-profit law firm based in Historic Downtown Washington. Her goal was – and still is – to provide quality legal services for low-income and modest-means individuals and families who earn too much to qualify for Legal Aid of North Carolina’s services but may not earn enough to afford traditional legal fees. In just four years, she has helped over 400 families in Eastern North Carolina. Last year, Withers tracked over 225 pro bono hours locally. She is a committed servant leader, serving her team, her community, and her clients with compassion, professionalism, openness, and grace.

Over the last four years, Withers has worked diligently to connect with attorneys, agencies, churches, and businesses in the community; she understands the critical partnerships needed to care for her neighbors. These relationships, coupled with Withers’ financial savvy and business acumen, have led to consistent, steady growth ensuring Inner Banks Legal Services longevity in Eastern North Carolina. In 2018, Withers recognized a need for family law services, hired the team to address that need, and expanded the office footprint. In 2020, the firm was granted funding to expand its legal specialties once again in order to offer pro bono legal services to domestic violence survivors – 20 individuals and families fleeing domestic violence received pro bono family law and bankruptcy services in the program’s first quarter alone. Thank you, Sarah Beth Withers, for your continued dedication to serving North Carolinians through Pro Bono!

Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Karen Fisher Moskowitz

By Karsin Williard

Karen Fisher Moskowitz is the Director of the Consumer Protection Program at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and has dedicated her legal career to serving the most vulnerable members of her community. Moskowitz uses her expertise as an attorney to help her clients know safety and stability and has practiced for more than 25 years. She has said of her work that she is “proud to be a part of the Legal Services tradition and in the trenches day after day, fighting the good fight for the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Moskowitz and her team worked with the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s Pro Bono program coordinator to establish a monthly consumer relief clinic, in which attorneys from McGuireWoods meet with clients and take on their cases relating to automobile fraud along with other unfair and deceptive practices. Thanks to Moskowitz’s initiative to find a way instead of turning people in crisis away, Advocacy Center now serves an additional 50 to 60 clients each year in consumer protection cases.

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2021 Pro Bono Award Winners Recognized

The 2021 Pro Bono Award winners were recognized during the virtual NCBA Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 17. The recipients are:

  • Deborah Greenblatt Outstanding Legal Services Attorney Award: Dr. Johnnie C. Larrie – Legal Aid of North Carolina (Raleigh)
  • Law Firm Pro Bono Award: Robinson Bradshaw (Charlotte)
  • Law School Pro Bono Award: Elon University School of Law – People Not Property Project (Greensboro)
  • Outstanding Collaborative Pro Bono Award: Charles W. Williamson Bar Foundation (Henderson)
  • William Thorp Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Service Award: Sean Lew – Sean Lew, PLLC Attorney at Law (Winston-Salem)
  • Young Lawyers Division Pro Bono Service Award: John Noor – Roberts & Stevens (Asheville)

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