CHARLOTTE · May 9, 2023 — Lawyers with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and Bank of America celebrated Financial Institution Pro Bono Day on April 27 by providing free legal advice to Legal Aid of North Carolina clients struggling with poor housing conditions. Bradley hosted the event in its Charlotte office, which is located across the street from Bank of America’s global headquarters.
During the event, lawyers from the firm and bank partnered up to provide free legal advice over the phone to our clients facing serious problems with their living conditions, everything from leaky ceilings to dangerous faulty wiring.
Leah Campbell, Counsel at Bradley, organized the event. When asked what inspires her to do pro bono work, she said, “Everybody deserves to be treated with dignity when they go into the court of justice. It can be very scary if you’re not familiar with it. That’s why it’s important for a lawyer to be there with them.”
She also praised her firm’s commitment to pro bono.
“One of the founding values of the firm is public service,” she said. “Both pro bono and community service in general. That commitment is demonstrated in part by the fact that attorneys can receive billable credit up to a certain amount of pro bono hours. We want to encourage people to do it.”
Megan Scholz, Associate General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Bank of America, spoke of the Bank’s commitment to pro bono. “Bank of America is very committed to pro bono, volunteer work and community engagement across the country and around the world. Attorneys are encouraged to use their skills to give back to their community and are able to do so during work hours to encourage participation.”
Nate Viebrock, Counsel at Bradley, helped a woman living with a leaky ceiling, rotted-out stairs and a broken kitchen appliance.
“We were able to get a hold of her landlord,” Viebrock said. “The landlord said they had her on their list for repairs and would call us back when the repairs were scheduled. It’s powerful when they hear their tenants have representation. That touches on why I choose to do pro bono. Our work sometimes takes months, years, to ever see any kind of result. Here we made a phone call and got a quick result for our client.”
Andria Patterson, Assistant General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Bank of America, had a client who was dealing with a bug infestation and faulty wiring on a kitchen appliance that could have caused a fire.
“I have a passion for helping people,” Patterson said. “That’s really why you become an attorney in the first place — you want to help people. Pro bono pulls on that passion. Especially when you see people who need legal help but can’t afford an attorney. You always want to step in and fill that gap.”
Amy Puckett, Senior Attorney at Bradley, who partnered with Patterson on the case, said, “It sounds trite, but I think it’s very important to give back and invest in the community. This is a skillset that I have and it’s nice to try to make the Charlotte community better, whether in a small way or a big way.”
Bob Roth, Associate General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Bank of America, who handled one of the more complex cases of the day — he was on the phone with his client for at least an hour — addressed the anxiety that some attorneys have about pro bono.
“You hear the acronym FOMO — fear of missing out. In pro bono there’s FOMU — fear of messing up. Part of overcoming that fear is realizing that there are resources to help you out. You’re not swimming alone. If you have that concern, you should try to dispel it as best you can and try something new.”
If you are an attorney who wants to try something new, visit the pro bono section of our website to learn about our programs and sign up to join us on our mission for justice. Go to legalaidnc.org/pro-bono.