Author: Christian Galens

Kyle Coffino, Staff Attorney at Legal Aid of NC

BOONE, NC – Recently, 30 tenants of the Watauga Green Apartments were surprised with a sudden notice of eviction citing that they failed to submit their recertification paperwork. However, a majority of the tenants involved had already completed and submitted their paperwork within the last three months of the notice.

Legal Aid of North Carolina was contacted and began work on litigation, challenging whether summary ejectment was proper when the alleged breach of lease was due to mismanagement on the part of the landlord. The primary objective of the litigation was focused to prevent the evictions and preserve public housing eligibility for applicable tenants.

Kyle Coffino, a Legal Aid of NC staff attorney working on this litigation, gives us a look into how the litigation process works in relation to this event, “For summary ejectment cases, landlords must utilize the court process. A landlord cannot evict a tenant without filing a complaint in small claims court and cannot physically remove a tenant from the property without an order from a magistrate. However, if a magistrate enters an order siding with the landlord, there is a ten-day period from the date of judgment that a tenant can appeal the ruling to district court. If a tenant appeals, a new trial is held with the outcome decided by a district court judge.”

Legal Aid of NC has helped to advocate for several of the tenants, many of whom live on a limited income. In the most recent update, Coffino has reported that the cases that Legal Aid of NC assisted on have all been dismissed. As the litigation progresses, Legal Aid of NC hopes to protect the tenancy of those facing eviction at Watauga Green, preserve eligibility for housing assistance, and provide crucial support and advocacy to others in the High Country area facing civil legal issues.

Our team is always willing and prepared to step in and assist North Carolina’s most vulnerable population. We believe that these people are seen through our involvement and we hope to continue strengthening this relationship with our communities.

Coffino reflects, “In the nearly seven months I have been working for LANC, the tenants we helped from Watauga Green Apartments are especially noteworthy. Our office learned of a potential injustice and mobilized to provide assistance to as many as we could in a short period of time. I think these kinds of cases really demonstrate the commitment that our local office has in showing up for the communities we serve, however and whenever we can.”

For those facing similar challenges, we encourage you to reach out to Legal Aid of NC. We can advise you on how to prepare for small claims court, and in some cases provide representation on appeal, among other means of support.

Author: Christian Galens

RALEIGH, NC – September 25, 2023 – In response to the increase in domestic violence throughout the state, Legal Aid of North Carolina announced today the launch of its new Breaking the Silence: Abuse Affects Us All campaign. The campaign’s focus is amplifying survivor stories and increasing awareness of domestic violence resources available to survivors. During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the campaign will also focus on increasing awareness and education statewide.

“Domestic violence is on the rise throughout the state of North Carolina and this is a sensitive topic that impacts so many of us,” said TeAndra Miller, project manager of Legal Aid North Carolina’s Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. “We want to empower survivors with resources to break the silence surrounding domestic violence and encourage others to get involved through our pledge campaign.”

From 2019 to 2021, there were more than 138,300 reports of assaults committed by former intimate partners or family members, according to the Criminal Justice Analysis Center, North Carolina’s Statistical Analysis Center. Additionally, within the first six months of this year, 39 domestic violence homicides have been reported, according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence Fatality Report.

The Break the Silence: Abuse Affects Us All campaign includes:

  • An interactive website with resources for survivors
  • Compelling creative statewide outreach to increase awareness of services that are available through Legal Aid of North Carolina for survivors
  • A powerful documentary that provides an intimate look at stories of domestic violence survivors in North Carolina and a series of documentary screenings throughout the state to uplift and provide survivors with resources
  • A Break the Silence: Abuse Affects Us All pledge to engage and educate families, loved ones and allies

For more information, visit


About Legal Aid of North Carolina

Rooted in more than 40 years of experience, Legal Aid of North Carolina has provided legal assistance to any victim of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, regardless of income or immigration status. 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. Learn more at

Author: Christian Galens

Raleigh, N.C. – Legal Aid of North Carolina is excited to announce Atiya Mosley as the new managing attorney and co-director of The Child’s Advocate, a project of Legal Aid NC. Mosley will join co-director Suzanne Chester, who has successfully led the project for the past 10 years.

With 17 years of experience as a Legal Aid attorney and vast involvement in the legal community, Mosley is the ideal leader to fill this role.  In addition to bringing commitment, ability and passion to this position, Mosley participated in the advisory committee when Sally Scherer founded The Child’s Advocate.

Mosley expressed her enthusiasm in being selected as the co-director, stating, “I am grateful for the opportunity to co-lead a team that I have thoroughly enjoyed working with for the past 6 years.  I am honored to be stepping into this role with Suzanne Chester, who has long been a mentor and friend. The Child’s Advocate holds immense importance in advocating for the rights and well-being of some of the most vulnerable children in our community and I am excited to be leading its growth.”

Mosley’s legal journey began at George Washington University Law School and in 2005, she joined Legal Aid NC as a Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative attorney in the Raleigh office. Since 2017, she has been a vital part of The Child’s Advocate team, expanding the project to Durham County.

Ashley Campbell, CEO of Legal Aid NC, expressed her utmost excitement for Mosley, stating, “We are thrilled to have Atiya leading The Child’s Advocate. Her extensive experience, exceptional skills, and unwavering dedication make her the perfect fit for this role.”

Atiya has served in numerous leadership roles, including implementing Legal Aid NC’s strategic plan as Strategy Manager. She actively contributes to the Wake County Bar Association (WCBA) Foundation’s Steering Committee and has been involved in public relations efforts through the WCBA Professionalism Committee, recently writing a blog post on cultural competence. Mosley has also presented many Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs on topics like lawyer well-being, ethics, domestic violence and family law. Her outstanding work in the field has been recognized, earning her the prestigious Attorney Child Advocate of the Year award in 2003 and the distinction of being selected as the first Wake Woman of the Year by the Wake Women Attorneys in 2016.

Legal Aid NC is excited to promote Mosley to the position of managing attorney and co-director of The Child’s Advocate. In her new role, she will be dedicated to expanding the project and introducing it to other critical regional sites across the state.


Author: Christian Galens

Charlotte, NC — Larissa Mañón Mervin, Managing Attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Charlotte office, has been honored with a prestigious appointment by President-Elect Mary Smith of the American Bar Association (ABA) to serve a one-year term on the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.

The Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, a vital initiative of the ABA, aims to be a catalyst for promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession and the association as a whole. Its primary focus is to facilitate the entry, participation, and retention of diverse lawyers, contributing to a more equitable and representative legal community.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the appointment, Mervin said, “I’m honored and grateful to have received and accepted this presidential appointment by President-Elect Mary Smith of the American Bar Association. It is a privilege to serve on the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, and I look forward to working alongside esteemed colleagues in advancing diversity and inclusion within our profession.”

As the Managing Attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Charlotte office, Mervin has been a tireless advocate for justice and equality throughout her career. With a deep commitment to promoting access to legal services for underprivileged communities, Mervin has consistently demonstrated her dedication to improving the lives of those in need.

Mervin’s appointment to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession signifies her exceptional leadership and expertise in driving positive change. By actively contributing to the commission’s mission, she will play a significant role in fostering a more inclusive and diverse legal profession.

Mervin expressed her gratitude to ABA President-Elect Smith and the ABA Presidential Appointments Committee, saying, “I’m thrilled to serve in this way and grateful for the opportunity. I extend my sincere appreciation to President-Elect Smith and the ABA Presidential Appointments Committee for their trust in me to contribute to this essential work.”

Legal Aid of North Carolina, a non-profit organization committed to providing free civil legal services to low-income individuals, congratulates Mervin on her well-deserved appointment. The organization is confident that her presence on the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession will bring about meaningful advancements in diversity, equality, and justice within the legal community.


Author: Christian Galens

For over two decades, the Battered Immigrant Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina has provided critical legal assistance to immigrants suffering from domestic abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Now, the project team is excited to announce they have changed their name to Immigration Pathways for Victims, or IMMPAV.

Rona Karacaova, managing attorney at IMMPAV, says on the change, “When Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Battered Immigrant Project was created in 2002, due to federal restrictions, its focus was to assist immigrant victims of domestic violence. Since that time, the scope of the immigration services which Legal Aid of North Carolina provides has expanded to include services for victims of sexual assault and human trafficking due the federal government’s recognition that that immigrant victims of these crimes are especially vulnerable and need legal services. Thus, we are now changing our name to Immigration Pathways for Victims (IMMPAV) to accurately reflect the services we provide immigrant victims of crimes.”

IMMPAV will perform the same duties and responsibilities of the Battered Immigrant Project. With this name change, the team aims to continue handling the same category of cases with the same efficiency, efficacy, and empathy that they’ve regularly employed over the last twenty years.

Karacaova continues, “IMMPAV’s goal is to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking obtain the immigration benefits which Congress created for them. These benefits include employment authorization and legal status so that victims can emerge from the shadows, work, and support their family members without being tempted to return to abusive situations in order to provide shelter and food for their children and themselves. Immigration law is complex, and the process to apply for various benefits is confusing and can take years. Without our assistance, many victims and their family members would not be able to access the benefits to which they are entitled.”