Rona Karacaova Receives Greenblatt Outstanding Legal Services Attorney Award

Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) is proud to announce that Rona Karacaova, Managing Attorney of its Immigrant Pathways for Victims (IMMPAV) project, has been honored with the North Carolina Bar Association’s Greenblatt Outstanding Legal Services Attorney Award. This award recognizes a full-time attorney employed by a legal services program in North Carolina who has made exemplary contributions to providing legal assistance to meet the needs of the state’s impoverished population.

The award is named in honor of Deborah Greenblatt, an advocate who served as the executive director of Carolina Legal Assistance for over two decades, championing the rights of individuals and children with disabilities.

For over 20 years, Karacaova has led IMMPAV, a project that fiercely advocates for the rights of abused and trafficked immigrant victims. She was the first legal services attorney in North Carolina to represent victims under the U nonimmigrant status (U visa), a remedy for victims of crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse. For many years, she and her staff were the sole free legal services providers representing victims eligible for U Visa status. Today, she leads an 11-person team managing over 1,400 open cases, referred by law enforcement agencies including the FBI, immigration judges, the Department of Social Services, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Before her tenure at LANC, Karacaova worked with Connecticut Legal Services and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont. She earned her B.A. in International Relations from Tufts University in 1993 and her J.D. from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law in 1998. Her early career included international experience with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Ankara, Turkey, where she interviewed Iranian and Iraqi asylum seekers, and served as the Assistant Director of a Bosnian refugee camp on the Bulgarian border of Turkey.

“Rona is leading a team that does life-changing work. She empowers some of the most vulnerable people in our society,” said Ashley Campbell, CEO of LANC. “We are so proud to call Rona our colleague. She inspires us all.”