Author: Helen Hobson

“LANC Innovation Lab Presents – Introduction to Privacy Protection and AI in the US”

Wednesday December 13th, 2023

12:00pm – 1:00pm EDT

1 hour of Ethics CLE credit

1 hour of Tech CLE Credit

Cost: $65

Register here:

Program Overview:

This CLE will be a great introduction to Data Privacy Laws and AI. This presentation will introduce the audience to general concepts about privacy protection, such as (1) the risks of misusing personal information (PI), (2) the different classes of privacy, (3) the processing of personal information, and (4) legal sources of privacy protection laws. The CLE will also discuss the use of AI in the Legal Services field. Ethical rules that will be referenced are Rule(s) 1.15 – 1(d), 1.1, 1.4, 1.6, 5.3, and 5.5.


Cedric Pickett is an attorney, Tech Law Fellow, and Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP) Trainer at the North Carolina Central University (NCCU) Technology Law and Policy Center. He holds CIPP certifications for the United States (CIPP/US) and Europe (CIPP/E). Attorney Pickett’s interests include data privacy laws, cybersecurity best practices, and privacy issues related to artificial intelligence. Attorney Pickett spearheads the Data Privacy Specialization for the NCCU Technology Law and Policy Center. The Data Privacy Specialization offers students classes, resources, and networking opportunities to prepare them for the evolving legal challenges of cybersecurity and emerging technologies. Under his leadership, he created and curated resources for law students and professionals to advance their careers in the data privacy industry. These resources include teaching two-credit hour courses that focus on data privacy laws and preparing students to pass the CIPP/US and CIPP/E exams, collaborating with the International Association of Privacy Professional’s (IAPP) Higher Education Program to offer self-study resources for data privacy students at an eighty-percent discount, identifying scholarships and conferences for students interested in data privacy, and establishing networking events such as an IAPP KnowledgeNet forum on NCCU’s campus. Attending law school, Attorney Pickett accumulated over a decade of experience in various capacities addressing emerging technology at NC State University, Schwab Performance Technologies, and KPIT (formally known as i-Cubed). Attorney Pickett received his undergraduate degree in Technology Education from NC State University. Attorney Pickett earned his MBA and JD from North Carolina Central University. 

Warren Savage joined Lawyers Mutual in 2005 where he is a Sr. Claims Counsel. He focuses on litigation, insurance law, appellate advocacy, criminal matters and professional responsibility in his work with Lawyers Mutual. A former partner with the law firm of Bailey & Dixon in Raleigh, Warren graduated from the University of Virginia and earned a Master of Arts in Teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before graduating from Campbell University School of Law. He spent several years as a high school English teacher before entering the legal profession.  Warren currently serves as a Councilor from the 10th Judicial District on the North Carolina State Bar. Warren has served on the State Bar Ethics Committee for many years, and he speaks frequently at CLEs around the state about professional responsibility and malpractice claims avoidance. 

Author: Helen Hobson

An Introduction to Mortgages and Foreclosures

Thursday November 30th, 2023

12:00pm – 1:00pm EDT

1 hour of General CLE Credit

Cost: $65

Register here:

Program Overview:

This CLE will serve as an introduction for the beginner and a refresher for the seasoned on mortgages and foreclosures in North Carolina. This CLE will be beneficial for legal services attorneys, volunteer attorneys involved in Legal Aid’s pro bono program, and attorneys in private practice whose practice includes mortgage and foreclosure issues.


Jack Lloyd is a supervising attorney with Legal Aid’s Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Project/Economic Justice Initiative. He has been practicing law for 24 years, half of which was spent doing corporate defense litigation before joining Legal Aid. He serves as an Advisory Member to the North Carolina State Bar Ethics Committee. 

Author: Helen Hobson

Thursday December 7th, 2023

10:00am – 4:00pm EDT

3 hours of General CLE credit 

1 hour of Ethics CLE Credit

Cost: $65

Register here:

Program Overview:

This CLE will focus on creating an understanding of heirs’ property, North Carolina rules of intestacy, clearing title, succession planning and ethical issues that arise in heirs’ property registration. The ethics session will be a panel discussion of hypotheticals. Ethical rules that will be referenced are Rule(s) 1.1, 1.2(c), 1.4(b), 1.7, 1.8(f) and 7.1.


Mavis Gragg is a seasoned attorney and conservation professional with nearly two decades of experience in real estate, conflict resolution, estate planning and probate. Mavis serves as the director of the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Project at the American Forest Foundation.

Prior to this role, Mavis founded the Gragg Law Firm, PLLC, where she assisted her clients in estate planning, estate administration and heirs’ property matters. In 2020, Mavis launched HeirShares, a tech start-up providing solutions for heirs’ property owners. Mavis serves as the chair of the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Authority. She is the former chair and current board member of the Triangle Land Conservancy. With her sister, Mavis co-founded Black Women Drone and the Gragg Family Fund.

A native of Black Mountain, North Carolina, Mavis is an alumna of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (B.A., Industrial Relations) and Pepperdine University School of Law (Juris Doctor and Master of Dispute Resolution).

Crystal Richardson is a 2011 graduate of Charlotte School of Law where she graduated with pro bono honors. She is passionate about estate planning and administration. She is a zealous advocate for her clients’ right to self-determine their wishes, encouraging and preserving their family’s intergenerational wealth. In her personal life, she enjoys yoga, running and West African dance.

Pamela Harrigan-Young is an estate planning attorney and certified public accountant. Pamela received her law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a J. Nelson Tax Scholarship recipient. She graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina A&T State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting.

Jesse Williams is a Law Fellow with the Environment Law & Policy Clinic at Wake Forest School of Law. Jesse is a member of the North Carolina State Bar and a 2020 graduate of Yale Law School. Before joining Wake Forest, he was a Skadden Fellow at Legal Aid of North Carolina where his work focused on heirs’ property in rural easter North Carolina. Before law school, Jesse spent two years advising NGOs and governments with the Boston Consulting Group. He left that position to co-found Scalawag, a nonprofit media outlet dedicated to truth-telling in and for the American South.

Author: Helen Hobson

← Back to Family Law

When I started this project, I didn’t know what to expect. It’s not always easy to get people to share their stories, let alone such raw stories of fear and survival. To my surprise, we found three powerful, strong women who agreed to speak with me and did the strongest thing they could – share their stories.

‘Beyond Fear,’ a documentary that seeks to shed light on the stories of domestic violence survivors, came into being one morning in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. As a first-time filmmaker, I embarked on this journey alongside a dedicated team of videographers, not knowing just how profoundly it would impact my life.

Our initial meeting was with Amy, the ultimate star of the film. She courageously welcomed us into her home, meeting us with love and openness that instantly put us at ease. Little did we know that this would be the beginning of an unforgettable journey.

As we spent time with Amy, we laughed together, cried together, and shared experiences that transcended mere words. Her warmth and resilience were palpable, and her willingness to relive painful memories for the sake of helping others was nothing short of inspirational. Amy’s story was one of survival, of breaking free from the clutches of an abusive relationship, and ultimately finding her strength. She was, and remains, a beacon of hope.

But Amy was just the beginning. After her, we had the privilege of meeting Aracely and Gina, two more incredible women who shared their stories with us. Like Amy, they opened their hearts and homes to a group of strangers, and their courage left an indelible mark on us.

What united these three remarkable women was not only their survival but also the vital role that Legal Aid of North Carolina played in helping them escape their painful situations. It was through the dedicated efforts of our domestic violence advocates that Amy, Aracely, and Gina found the legal support they needed to break free from their abusers and start anew.

As we delved deeper into their stories, it became evident that ‘Beyond Fear’ was not just a documentary but a powerful testament to the strength of survivors and the importance of organizations like ours. It highlighted the crucial role played by advocates and lawyers in helping survivors navigate the complex legal system and find their path to safety and healing.

I want to take a moment to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Amy, Aracely, and Gina. Your willingness to share your stories with us, to relive those painful moments, and to open your hearts and homes to our team was an act of immense courage and selflessness. You are the heart and soul of ‘Beyond Fear,’ and your strength will undoubtedly inspire countless others who watch your journey.

Written by Helen Hobson, Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Chief Communications Officer

Watch the documentary here:

Author: Helen Hobson

Organization received $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission

RALEIGH, NC – August 17 2023 – Today, Legal Aid of North Carolina announced it has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission, the chief advisory body on crime and justice issues to North Carolina’s Governor and Secretary of Public Safety, to support survivors of domestic violence, while also increasing awareness and education statewide.

Domestic violence related homicides in 2023 have also been increasing. Within the first six months of the year, 39 homicides have been reported, according to the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence Fatality Report.  In addition, 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.

“With the support of the Governor’s Crime Commission, we launched and will continue to come alongside survivors of domestic violence to empower and support them with services that can help them achieve stability and a path to independence,” said TeAndra Miller, project manager of Legal Aid North Carolina’s Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. “This grant will also allow us to focus on educating and engaging residents throughout North Carolina about legal services and the resources that are available.”

The Governor’s Crime Commission (GCC) annually awards state and federal grants to North Carolina law enforcement, governmental bodies and related non-profit agencies.

Legal Aid of North Carolina will direct efforts towards launching an integrated domestic violence awareness campaign runs through National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. The campaign will include:

  • An interactive website, which will include resources for survivors
  • Compelling creative statewide outreach and events 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

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: Helen Hobson

Innovations in the Legal Field and Launch of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s New Innovation Lab Discussed on “Talk Justice” a Legal Services Corporation podcast

Raleigh, NC – Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Chief Innovation Officer, Scheree Gilchrist, was recently featured on Legal Services Corporation’s Podcast “Talk Justice” in an episode titled “The First Legal Aid Innovation Lab.”

During the episode, Scheree Gilchrist joined host Cat Moon, Director of Innovation Design for the Program on Law and Innovation, to discuss groundbreaking innovations within the legal sector. A key focus of the conversation was the inauguration of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Innovation Lab, an initiative aimed at driving transformative change in the delivery of legal services.

The podcast episode also highlighted guests Ashley Campbell, CEO of Legal Aid of North Carolina, and Jeff Kelly, partner at Nelson Mullins and chair of the advisory board for the Innovation Lab. The conversation revolved around the significance of innovation in fostering broader access to justice and addressing disparities in legal service delivery, particularly in rural areas.

Scheree Gilchrist highlighted the pivotal role of the Innovation Lab in shaping the future of legal aid, saying, “The Lab for us is really the vehicle by which we believe we will be able to fulfill and sustain the vision we have of being an innovative, efficient, and inclusive legal services provider.”

The mission of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Innovation Lab is to revolutionize the legal landscape by enhancing the delivery of legal services, expanding access to justice, and combating inequities in underserved rural communities. By fostering collaboration, technological advancements, and fresh approaches, the Innovation Lab aims to make a lasting impact on individuals and communities that often face barriers in accessing legal assistance.

Ashley Campbell expressed the importance of the Innovation Lab, saying, “We know that innovation is needed and necessary for us to provide access to justice to all the folks that need it.”

Legal Aid of North Carolina is dedicated to enhancing the quality and accessibility of legal services for all North Carolinians. The “Talk Justice” podcast episode is a testament to the organization’s commitment to innovation and its proactive approach in reshaping the legal landscape.

For more information about Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Innovation Lab, please visit

Author: Helen Hobson

← Back to Farmworker, represented by Legal Aid of North Carolina and Farmworker Justice, Files Unpaid Wages and Human Trafficking Suit Against Eastern North Carolina Employers

Lamm Farms, others violated rights of H-2A farmworker

en español abajo

Raleigh, N.C. – On July 28, 2023, a North Carolina farmworker, represented by the Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Farmworker Unit (“FWU”) and Farmworker Justice (“FJ”) filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District of North Carolina [] against Lamm Farms, LLC, Alvarado’s Harvesting, LLC, and other defendants for human trafficking and state and federal minimum and overtime wage violations. The complaint also states causes of action for Defendants’ fraudulent inducement of employment, breach of contract, and unlawful retaliation. Plaintiff seeks actual and punitive damages for Defendants’ violations of law.

In 2022, Plaintiff Axel Campos Arroyo was recruited by Lamm Farms and their farm labor contractor, Alvarado’s Harvesting, LLC, to perform agricultural work in Bailey, NC on an H-2A temporary work visa. However, according to Mr. Campos Arroyo, when he arrived to North Carolina, he and his co-workers were subjected to horrific working conditions, where they worked upwards of 60 hours a week under constant threat of deportation and harm to their family members. Plaintiff alleges that he and his coworkers never received the wages Defendants promised to them and were required to be paid subject to the United States Department of Labor’s H-2A visa regulations. In addition, Plaintiff was forced to pay off to the recruiter and supervisor hired by Lamm Farms debts imposed upon him for his travel to North Carolina as part of the trafficking scheme. Despite the fact that Defendants were limited under the H-2A program to employing Plaintiff and his coworkers to perform only agricultural work, Defendants conspired with other employers to employ Plaintiff and his coworkers in construction work, where Plaintiff again worked more than 60 hours a week without overtime pay.

The complaint states that Lamm Farms and other Defendants confiscated Plaintiff’s and the other workers’ passports upon their arrival to North Carolina and did not provide them with details on the locations or farms where they would be working.

After Plaintiff escaped his employer-controlled housing in the middle of the night, Defendants repeatedly called and texted Plaintiff, threatening to have him arrested and deported to Mexico.

Labor traffickers frequently utilize recruitment practices that involve deception and illegal fees, trapping workers into debt, and threats related to immigration status to coerce workers to endure intolerable conditions. Both Farmworker Justice and FWU have seen a rise in the trafficking of agricultural workers in the past decade. In this case, Plaintiff alleges that Lamm Farms and the other defendants utilized similar methods to obtain workers to pick and harvest their crops and to maintain control over them and exploit their labor by forcing them to work long hours at poverty wages.

“Quite often farm owners delegate the role of worker recruitment to farm labor contractors, but this should not shield them from liability when these contractors violate the law by trafficking workers,” stated Trent Taylor, Staff Attorney for Farmworker Justice. “No one, regardless of where they’re from or the work they perform, should be forced to work under threat from their employer.”

“When the plaintiff lawfully arrived to the United States to perform work for Lamm Farms, he expected to be treated humanely and to be fairly compensated for his work. The defendants failed to pay him his promised and legally required wages, subjected him to the threats of retaliation if he complained or spoke up about their violations of law, and deprived him of the reimbursement of travel expenses they certified to the United States government that they would pay,” added Taylor.  


Legal Aid of North Carolina’s FWU focuses on representing H-2A and other farmworkers with employment and civil rights matters. 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 Farmworkers that have experienced issues in North Carolina and who have questions about their rights can call FWU’s confidential hotline at (919) 856-2180.

Farmworker Justice is a national non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that aims to empower farmworkers and their families to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice. FJ engages in policy advocacy, litigation, and capacity-building. Learn more at  


Trabajador agrícola, representado por Ayuda Legal de Carolina del Norte y Justicia Campesina, presentan una demanda por salarios no pagados y trata de personas contra empleadores del este de Carolina del Norte

Lamm Farms, y otros violaron los derechos de un trabajador agrícola H-2A

RALEIGH, NC – El 28 de julio de 2023, un trabajador agrícola de Carolina del Norte, representado por la División de los Trabajadores Agrícolas de Ayuda Legal de Carolina (“FWU” por sus siglas en inglés) y Justicia Campesina (“FJ” por sus siglas en inglés) presentó una demanda en el Distrito Este de Carolina del Norte [] contra Lamm Farms, LLC, Alvarado’s Harvesting, LLC y otros acusados por trata de personas y violaciones del salario mínimo estatal y federal y horas extras. La demanda también establece las causas de acción por: incentivo fraudulento de empleo, el incumplimiento del contrato, y por represalias ilegales de los Demandados. El Demandante busca daños reales y punitivos por las violaciones de la ley de los Demandados.

En el 2022, el Demandante Axel Campos Arroyo fue reclutado por Lamm Farms y su contratista de mano de obra agrícola, Alvarado’s Harvesting, LLC, para realizar trabajos agrícolas en Bailey, Carolina del Norte con una visa de trabajo temporal H-2A. Sin embargo, según el Sr. Campos Arroyo, cuando llegó a Carolina del Norte, él y sus compañeros de trabajo fueron sometidos a condiciones de trabajo horribles, donde trabajaban más de 60 horas a la semana bajo amenazas constantes de deportación y de daños a familiares. El Demandante alega que él y sus compañeros de trabajo nunca recibieron los salarios que los Demandados les prometieron y que son requeridos bajo las regulaciones de la visa H-2A del Departamento del Trabajo de los Estados Unidos. Además, el Demandante se vio obligado a pagar al reclutador, y a un supervisor contratado por Lamm Farms, las deudas que se le impusieron por su viaje a Carolina del Norte, como parte de un esquema de trata de personas. A pesar de que los Demandados estaban limitados bajo el programa H-2A, a emplear al Demandante y a sus compañeros de trabajo para realizar únicamente trabajos agrícolas, los Demandados conspiraron con otros empleadores para emplear al Demandante y sus compañeros de trabajo en trabajos de construcción, donde el Demandante de nuevo trabajó más de 60 horas a la semana sin recibir pago por horas extras.

La demanda establece que Lamm Farms y otros Demandados confiscaron los pasaportes del Demandado y de los demás trabajadores a su llegada a Carolina del Norte, y no les proporcionaron detalles sobre las ubicaciones o las granjas en donde trabajarían.

Después de que el Demandante escapó de la vivienda controlada por su empleador en medio de la noche, los Demandados llamaron y enviaron mensajes de texto repetidamente al Demandante, y amenazándole con hacer que lo arrestaran y deportaran a México.

Los traficantes de mano de obra frecuentemente utilizan prácticas de contratación que incluyen engaño y tarifas ilegales, atrapando a los trabajadores en deudas, y también amenazas relacionadas a su estado migratorio, para obligar a los trabajadores a permanecer bajo condiciones intolerables. Tanto Justicia Campesina como FWU han visto un aumento en la trata de personas de trabajadores agrícolas en la última década. En este caso, el Demandante alega que Lamm Farms y los otros Demandados utilizaron métodos similares para obtener trabajadores para recoger y cosechar sus cultivos y para mantener control sobre ellos y explotar su mano de obra obligándoles a trabajar muchas horas con salarios de pobreza.

“Muy a menudo, los propietarios de granjas delegan la función de reclutamiento de trabajadores a contratistas de mano de obra agrícola, pero esto no debería protegerlos de la responsabilidad cuando estos contratistas violan la ley al traficar con trabajadores,” declaró Trent Taylor, Abogado de plantilla de Justicia Campesina. “Nadie, sin importar de donde vengan, o del trabajo que realicen, debería ser obligado a trabajar bajo amenaza por parte de su empleador.”

“Cuando el Demandante llegó legalmente a los Estados Unidos para realizar un trabajo para Lamm Farms, esperaba recibir un trato humano y una compensación justa por su trabajo. Los Demandados dejaron de pagarle el salario prometido, y exigido legalmente, lo sometieron a amenazas de represalias si se quejaba o hablaba sobre sus violaciones de la ley, y le privaron del reembolso de sus gastos de viaje que ellos aseguraron que pagarían al gobierno de los Estados Unidos,” añadió Taylor.


La División para los Trabajadores Agrícolas de Ayuda Legal de Carolina del Norte se enfoca en representar a H-2A y otros trabajadores agrícolas en asuntos laborales y de derechos civiles. Ayuda Legal de Carolina del Norte es una firma de abogados sin fines de lucro en todo el estado que brinda servicios legales gratuitos en asuntos civiles a personas de bajos ingresos para garantizar la igualdad de acceso a la justicia y eliminar las barreras legales a las oportunidades económicas. Obtenga más información en Los trabajadores agrícolas que han experimentado problemas en Carolina del Norte y que tienen preguntas sobre sus derechos pueden llamar a la línea directa confidencial de FWU al (919) 856-2180.

Justicia Campesina es una organización nacional sin fines de lucro con sede en Washington, D.C. que tiene como objetivo empoderar a los trabajadores agrícolas y sus familias para mejorar sus condiciones de vida y de trabajo, estado migratorio, salud, seguridad ocupacional y acceso a la justicia. FJ se dedica a la promoción de políticas, litigios y desarrollo de capacidades. Obtenga más información en

Author: Helen Hobson

GREENSBORO, NC – Legal Aid of North Carolina is proud to announce the appointment of Lenneka (“Nikki”) Feliciano as the new Chair of the Board. With her exceptional dedication and unwavering commitment to justice, Nikki is the perfect leader to guide the organization in its mission to provide support to the most vulnerable members of North Carolina.

Nikki Feliciano, an esteemed member of the legal community and a partner at Pinto Coates Kyre & Bowers, PLLC, brings a wealth of experience and passion to her new role. Throughout her career, Nikki has consistently demonstrated a deep understanding of the challenges faced by those in need and has worked tirelessly to advocate for their rights.

Reflecting on her new role, Nikki shares her vision and motivation, stating, “The impact that Legal Aid of North Carolina has on the communities within North Carolina in helping the most vulnerable to maintain housing, navigate the judicial system and government programs, and protect against domestic violence are battles worth joining and supporting.”

As Chair of the Board, Nikki Feliciano is committed to fostering stronger connections between the Board, the dedicated staff of Legal Aid NC, and the Client Council. She recognizes the importance of collaboration and will build upon the exceptional initiatives implemented by Gonzalo Frias, the previous Board Chair, to ensure that the Board and Local Advisory Councils actively participate in making a difference.

Furthermore, Nikki is thrilled to support Ashley Campbell, CEO, the visionary force behind the development and Innovation Lab goals. By working together, they will cultivate a team environment that unites their efforts to serve and uplift the most vulnerable members of our society.

The entire Legal Aid of North Carolina community is excited to welcome Nikki Feliciano as the new Chair of the Board. Her leadership, experience, and passion will undoubtedly guide the organization to new heights as they continue their vital work. Together, under Nikki’s guidance, Legal Aid of North Carolina will further its commitment to providing justice and support to those who need it most.


Author: Helen Hobson

GREENSBORO, NC – Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) is delighted to announce the selection of LANC board member, Manisha Patel, Managing Attorney at the Law Office of Manisha P. Patel, PLLC, as the incoming President Elect for the Greensboro Bar Association. With her exceptional legal acumen and unwavering dedication to serving the community, Patel’s appointment is a testament to her outstanding professional achievements.

“I am honored with the confidence the membership has placed on me! I don’t take this lightly,” expressed Patel. “I am excited to bring my skills to the organization and contribute to its continued success.”

Commencing her role as President Elect on July 1, 2023, Patel is enthusiastic about revitalizing the annual Continuing Legal Education (CLE) event. She intends to inject new energy by introducing fresh speakers and exploring topics that have not been previously covered in Greensboro. Patel is eager to present the innovative ideas she has already been developing for the annual CLE in February.

“As President Elect, I am excited to bring a new spin on our annual CLE and introduce novel ideas to our legal community,” stated Patel. “I am thrilled to present the ideas that I have already been churning, and I believe they will provide valuable insights and professional growth opportunities for our members.”

Patel’s appointment as President Elect is a testament to her exemplary service to the legal profession and her dedication to the pursuit of justice. Her vast experience and deep understanding of legal matters will undoubtedly contribute to the growth and success of the Greensboro Bar Association.

LANC takes immense pride in Patel’s accomplishments and commends her commitment to promoting access to justice for all individuals. Her leadership will undoubtedly inspire others within the legal community to make a positive impact in the lives of those in need.


Author: Helen Hobson

It is probably no surprise that as an attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Senior Law Project, I often talk to seniors who have been financially exploited. What may surprise some people is that it’s often family members and caretakers, including their own children, doing the exploiting.

Many older people lose money or property not just to strangers, but also to people they know who take advantage of their relationship and obtain money or assets through theft or coercion. Understandably it’s very hard for these seniors to come forward and seek help when it means admitting that someone close to them has failed them in this way.  

Why does this happen so often? As we get older, we may become more dependent on others due to physical or mental health problems. That dependence creates opportunities for ill-intentioned caretakers or others close to us to exploit weaknesses. Add to that the increased prevalence of scams generally, and life can become a minefield for vulnerable seniors.

In honor of Elder Abuse Awareness Month and more particularly Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, here are a couple of things that you can do to protect yourself as you get older.

If you are still able to make decisions and manage your affairs, now is the perfect time to think carefully about who you trust to help you if a time comes when you cannot do things for yourself.

If you know who you trust (and who you do not trust), you can set up advance directives, including a durable power of attorney and health care power of attorney, that appoint the right people to manage your affairs and make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to help yourself. Getting advance directives in place while you are able to make decisions will ensure that you’ll have the right help when you no longer are able to make decisions. 

Keep in mind that because scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, we all need to continue learning about the latest types of scams and how to avoid them. Staying current on this topic will help to avoid being taken advantage of by strangers, family members and caregivers alike.

One resource that will help you stay up to date is AARP’s podcast, “The Perfect Scam”: And for further information, the National Center on Elder Abuse website has a wealth of information about all types of elder abuse:

Finally, if you are a senior who has been financially exploited or abused in any way, please know that you are far from alone and that there is help available. In addition to the resources above, Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Senior Legal Helpline provides confidential and free legal assistance to victims of elder abuse.


About Author Jennifer Stuart is an attorney in Raleigh with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Senior Law Project (SLP). The SLP provides free civil legal help to North Carolinians who are 60 or older. To contact the SLP, call 1-877-579-7562 (toll-free), Monday through Friday, 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m.  Please keep in mind when calling this number that due to limited staffing resources, there may be a wait to talk to an intake specialist.