By Caroline Trautman What makes practicing law more than just a job?
Many attributes come to mind. By its nature, the law is constantly changing, forcing attorneys to constantly learn, adapt, and improve in order to effectively advocate for their clients. Practicing law also requires a high level of attention to detail and client service, demanding that attorneys make their clients’ interests the top priority.
For Chad Archer, it’s the responsibility to give back through pro bono service. “Pro bono service is one of the hallmarks of the practice of law that elevates our work as attorneys to the status of a profession rather than a mere occupation,” Archer said.
Archer already maintains a busy caseload as a litigation associate at Blanco Tackabery & Matamoros, P.A. in Winston-Salem. His practice consists of title curative litigation, corporate and commercial disputes, landlord-tenant litigation, and appeals. But during the year 2020, he took his practice to the next level, maintaining a litigation caseload while handling two major pro bono matters. These were assigned to him through the North Carolina Appellate Pro Bono Program and the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina’s Pro Bono Program.
He represented an indigent prisoner in a federal lawsuit against four correctional officers accused of violating his civil and constitutional rights by subjecting him to excessive and unlawful force during his pretrial detainment. He and another litigator at his firm represented the client in both the original trial, and the retrial, of a § 1983 case. The original trial had ended in a hung jury.
In another case, Archer handled a child custody appeal before the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The client, an Indian national and lawful permanent resident of the United States, was a mother fighting to preserve a trial court decision granting her primary custody of her young son. The case was selected for oral argument by the presiding panel and culminated in a published opinion affirming the trial court’s custody decision in the mother’s favor. Archer says that helping her achieve this hard-fought victory was extremely rewarding and gave him insight into domestic law, an area previously outside of his practice. “I was very proud of the positive result I was able to achieve for her, and she was effusive in expressing her gratitude. As someone whose typical practice does not include domestic matters, I also had a newfound appreciation for my colleagues in the bar who do practice in that area, where the stakes could hardly be higher for the clients served.”
Pro bono service has been important to Archer for a long time. As a student at the Elon University School of Law, he received the Pro Bono Service Award for logging the most pro bono hours of any member of the class of 2015 during his academic career. Elon also awarded Archer the David Gergen Award for Leadership and Professionalism. This was based in part on Archer devoting hundreds of hours to providing low-income community members with pro bono tax-related assistance.
Archer also is a member of the NCBA Litigation Section. The NCBA Pro Bono Committee is appreciative of his hard work and hopes his achievements can inspire other litigators to consider handling a pro bono matter. For more information on pro bono opportunities, contact us at [email protected].