Author: Sean Driscoll

New program will provide “summers of service” to next generation of NC lawyers

RALEIGH – We are announcing our new Summer Associate Pro Bono Program today. The program will give law firms and organizations a new way to enrich their summer associates’ experience and will provide law students with the opportunity to spend their summers in service to North Carolinians in need.

“We are so excited to offer our pro bono partners this new way to work together,” Ashley Campbell, CEO of Legal Aid of North Carolina, said. “The program provides benefits to all involved: firms and organizations can bolster their summer programs, summer associates can learn valuable skills, we get to engage future pro bono volunteers in our work, and our clients get critical legal help. Everyone wins!”

Launching in summer 2024, the program will pair Legal Aid NC clients with summer associates at the state’s leading law firms and organizations. Working under the supervision of attorneys at their organization, with training and support provided by our Pro Bono Programs team, summer associates will handle real cases for real clients, providing them with an early opportunity to gain valuable experience interacting with clients and opposing parties, conducting research, preparing documents, and even representing their clients in court.

“This program will provide invaluable real-world experience to summer associates early in their careers,” Allison Constance, Director of Pro Bono Programs, said. “Whether it’s working with clients, negotiating with opposing counsel or drafting life-changing documents, this program will allow summer associates to hone vital skills while still in law school, providing value to them and their future employers. We can’t wait for next summer!”

For the first year of the program, participating firms and companies can choose to handle cases involving criminal record expunction, Domestic Violence Protective Orders, housing conditions, and wills and advanced directives. Additional case types may be added to the program in future years.

“These are among the most important services we provide to our clients,” Allison Constance said. “This program will expose associates to the realities of poverty, but also to the sense of purpose and satisfaction that comes with making a meaningful difference in the life of someone who has little hope for justice without you.”

Each program year will conclude with regional wrap-up celebrations that will highlight the work done and the outcomes achieved by that year’s class of associates. The celebrations will be hosted by participating organizations in August.

Law firms and companies that are interested in participating should visit the Summer Associate Pro Bono Program page on our website to learn more and fill out the program agreement form:

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Media contact

Sean Driscoll, Communications Manager, Pro Bono Programs, 984-263-9852,


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 Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Learn more about pro bono at Legal Aid of North Carolina at

Need legal help? Call 1-866-219-5262 (toll-free) or apply online at

Author: Sean Driscoll

Headshot of Allison Constance, Director of Pro Bono Programs

Dear volunteers,

As the new Director of Pro Bono Programs for Legal Aid of North Carolina, I want to introduce myself and preview upcoming ways for you to engage with us as a pro bono volunteer.

But first thing’s first …

Thank you

Thank you for being a pro bono volunteer with Legal Aid of North Carolina. Whether you’ve been with us for years or months, whether you’ve taken too many cases to count or are waiting for your first one—thank you. Thank you for giving your limited time and invaluable talents to our clients, and to us. We can’t do what we do without your help. On behalf of everyone at Legal Aid NC, I extend to you our deepest and most sincere “thank you.”

Get used to hearing that a lot from me.

About me

Leading Legal Aid NC’s Pro Bono Programs team is a new role for me—I’ve been on the job for only a few weeks—but supporting underrepresented people in North Carolina has been my passion for a long time. You may know me from my time as Director of Pro Bono Initiatives at UNC School of Law or in my previous role as an attorney at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. If we don’t yet know each other, I hope to change that. To start, let’s connect on LinkedIn.

Now, let’s talk pro bono.

Past and present

In the past few years, the Legal Aid NC pro bono program has struggled with some staffing deficits and shifting case priorities due to the pandemic. We have looked closely at our work and community needs, and we are redesigning many of our pro bono programs from the ground up. And we have some big plans.

We want our pro bono programs to meet our clients’ most pressing legal needs while also meeting yours. We want to know what motivates you to volunteer, what you need to succeed, and how we can meaningfully thank you for your service.

Coming soon

In the coming months, we will be announcing new recognition opportunities and awards, we look forward to launching our Summer Associate Program, and we can’t wait to share with you more opportunities to engage (even remotely!) in meaningful service.

For now, if you have any questions about pro bono at Legal Aid of North Carolina—its past, present or future—do not hesitate to reach out to our team at probono [at]

You can also stop by our webpage at for the latest info about pro bono at Legal Aid. Thank you again for serving as a pro bono volunteer with us. We are excited to have you as a partner on our journey into a bright future for pro bono at Legal Aid of North Carolina.

If you want to receive updates from the Pro Bono Programs team, click here to sign up for our email list.

Author: Sean Driscoll

CHARLOTTE — Lawyers and summer associates from Duke Energy and McGuireWoods partnered up to provide free legal advice to our clients struggling with serious housing-conditions issues at a pro bono clinic June 28 in Charlotte. The clinic was part of our Lawyer on the Line pro bono program, which connects clients with common legal issues to pro bono volunteers, who provide free legal advice over the phone.

“Pro bono is a priority for us as a company, because so often these clients are also our customers,” said Alex Castle, Deputy General Counsel of Duke Energy. “We want to take care of the people in our communities who can’t otherwise afford these types of services. We really appreciate McGuireWoods and Legal Aid NC working with us to give us the opportunity to do this work.”

“Our firm is very supportive of pro bono work,” said Angie Zimmern, Pro Bono Director at McGuireWoods, “but the real hallmark of our firm is the dedication of individual attorneys. Our attorneys do pro bono because they believe in it and have a passion for it — and Legal Aid NC makes it easy for us. It’s a pleasure to partner with you, and we look forward to continuing our partnership.”

Learn more about our pro bono programs at

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Author: Sean Driscoll

CHARLOTTE — Lawyers from Allspring Global Investments and K&L Gates provided free legal advice to our clients struggling with serious housing-conditions issues at a pro bono clinic July 11 in Charlotte. The clinic was part of our Lawyer on the Line pro bono program, which connects clients with common legal problems to pro bono volunteers, who provide legal advice over the phone.

“Partnering with Legal Aid NC allowed our company to connect attorneys with meaningful pro bono opportunities in our community,” said Chrishon McManus, Counsel and Pro Bono Coordinator at Allspring. “It means a lot to us to give back in a coordinated effort. Lawyer on the Line allows us to do it in a way that does not overwhelm our team.”

“Pro bono allows local attorneys like me to provide meaningful and tangible contributions to our communities,” said Christopher Fernandez, Partner at K&L Gates. “It is very satisfying to put our training to use to help someone in need and who appreciates our time.”

“I greatly enjoyed participating in the Lawyer on the Line clinic,” said Kenya Parrish, Associate at K&L Gates. “Legal Aid NC provided all of the materials and training so that we could easily and quickly assist clients. This was a wonderful opportunity to give back to our community.”

Learn more about pro bono at Legal Aid NC at

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Author: Sean Driscoll

RALEIGH – Thanks to a two-year, $450,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, Legal Aid of North Carolina is expanding its housing-justice services to homeowners and renters in Eastern North Carolina.

The grant will fund a two-pronged effort targeting separate causes of housing instability among low-income residents of the region: heir property, which refers to homes and land passed down outside of the courts, an arrangement seen predominantly in Black, rural communities; and eviction, an endemic problem in low-income communities everywhere.

Of the total grant funds, $300,000 is being used to launch the Heir Property Pro Bono Project, a new effort at Legal Aid NC to involve the private real-estate bar in heir property work throughout Eastern North Carolina. Legal Aid’s Raleigh and Wilson field offices will use the remaining $150,000 to expand eviction-defense work in the City of Raleigh and Edgecombe and Nash counties.

“At Wells Fargo, we believe everyone should have access to a quality, affordable home and opportunities for creating generational wealth through homeownership,” said Suzie Koonce, Senior Philanthropy and Community Impact Specialist at Wells Fargo. “We are proud to provide this important grant to Legal Aid NC to help more families in Raleigh and across Eastern North Carolina access the legal services they need to stay in their homes and address systems that often lead to loss of property, land, and wealth for families of color.”

Heir Property Pro Bono Project

The Heir Property Pro Bono Project will partner with the North Carolina Bar Association’s Real Property Section, with support from the North Carolina Bar Foundation, to recruit North Carolina real estate lawyers and paralegals to help heir property owners establish clear title to their home and land, thereby preserving generational wealth in families, and safe and affordable housing in low-income communities. Heir property arrangements are most common in Black, rural communities in Eastern North Carolina and some mountain communities in Western North Carolina.

Heir property is a home or land that is inherited informally, often from a family member who passed away without leaving a will. Heir property typically involves several people who have inherited shares in the same property, an arrangement that makes it difficult to use the property as collateral for a loan, sell the property, or enroll in recovery-assistance programs following a natural disaster.

As a result, families lose the ability to rely on heir property as a practical financial asset, impeding their ability to secure loans and financial assistance to keep the property in a habitable condition. This can lead to the property’s abandonment, which destabilizes communities by lowering surrounding property values, decreasing local tax revenue and creating safety hazards. [1]

“Whenever we stabilize and formalize home ownership, we help preserve the stock of affordable, sanitary housing,” said Lesley Albritton, Chief of Staff for Legal Aid NC and former project director and managing attorney of the firm’s Disaster Relief Project, which often encounters heir property issues in their work. “This grant enables Legal Aid NC to expand our work facilitating long-term disaster recovery, increasing and maintaining habitable and affordable housing across the state, and supporting equitable resiliency.”

Through this project, Legal Aid NC plans to create a partnership between its attorneys and members of the private bar to better help low-income North Carolinians—particularly Black residents of rural communities—resolve complex heir property cases.

Erin Haygood, Director of Pro Bono Programs at Legal Aid NC, said, “Pro bono attorneys are vital partners in so much of what we do at Legal Aid of North Carolina. Through this project, we will integrate them into our heir property work for the first time. Combining the talents of our attorneys and members of the real-estate bar will allow us to maximize the efficacy of our advocacy to low-income homeowners in North Carolina.”

Attorneys and paralegals with real-estate experience can sign up for our Heir Property Pro Bono Project at

Legal Aid NC’s Heir Property Pro Bono Project owes a debt of gratitude to the Land Loss Prevention Project, a Durham-based nonprofit that pioneered heir property work in the early 80’s. Since then, it has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the issue in North Carolina’s legal community and beyond. Among its practice areas, the Land Loss Prevention Project provides direct legal services to heir property owners statewide. The work of our project would not be possible without their legacy of committed service. Attorneys and paralegals trained by our project will be invited to also provide pro bono service through the Land Loss Prevention Project and Pisgah Legal Services, a civil legal aid organization serving Western North Carolina, as part of a pro bono referral network managed by the North Carolina Bar Association’s Real Property Section and the North Carolina Bar Foundation.

Eviction defense

Funded by $150,000 from Wells Fargo, Legal Aid NC will expand its eviction defense work in the City of Raleigh, which is served by our Raleigh field office, and in Edgecombe and Nash counties, which are served by our Wilson office.

“Keeping families in their homes by preventing eviction has always been one of our top priorities at Legal Aid NC,” said Pamela Thombs, managing attorney of our Raleigh office, “but there are never enough resources to help everyone who needs us. This funding will allow us to provide life-changing legal help to families who would otherwise have nowhere to turn.”

Ayanda Meachem, managing attorney of our Wilson office, said, “Eviction doesn’t discriminate. Our clients live in urban and rural communities, in apartment complexes and mobile home parks, and eviction is a problem everywhere. This funding will help us serve more families confronting eviction and homelessness, wherever they are.”

North Carolinians facing eviction can visit to find free self-help and know-your-rights resources, or apply for help by calling our statewide Helpline at 1-866-219-LANC (5262) or applying online at

[1] To learn more about heir property, read Disasters Do Discriminate: Black Land Tenure and Disaster Relief Programs, Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, by Lesley Albritton, director of Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Disaster Relief Project, and Jesse Williams, former Legal Aid NC staff attorney and current law fellow at Wake Forest Law’s Environmental Law and Policy Clinic.

Author: Sean Driscoll

CHARLOTTE — Wells Fargo lawyers and paralegals provided free legal advice to Legal Aid of North Carolina clients struggling with serious housing-conditions issues at a Lawyer on the Line pro bono event May 17 at the bank’s offices in Charlotte.

Legal Aid NC’s flagship pro bono program, Lawyer on the Line, connects clients with common legal problems to pro bono volunteers—lawyers, paralegals and law students—who, working under the supervision of Legal Aid NC attorneys, provide free legal advice over the phone. Volunteers can serve individually from their home or office, or as a group with colleagues from their employer or local bar association.

Lawyer on the Line is a quick and easy way to spend an hour or two and feel like you’re directly helping someone,” said Mark Metz, Deputy General Counsel at Wells Fargo, who participated in the event.

Mark’s client was living in a home infested with mold caused by multiple leaks, problems that the landlord was not addressing. Mark advised his client, who was nearing the end of his lease and planning to move, to negotiate a resolution with his landlord that would compensate the client while avoiding litigation.

“It felt great,” Mark said. “So much of our typical work is long and drawn out. This was very quick and provided an immediate benefit to someone.”

Glenn Huether, Lead Counsel at Wells Fargo and co-coordinator of the bank’s pro bono projects in Charlotte, helped a woman living with mold, a broken lock on her front door and other issues threatening the safety of her family. Glenn’s advice to her client included making repair requests to her landlord in writing, taking pictures and calling local code enforcement.

“It felt very rewarding,” Glenn said, “particularly when she told me, ‘This has been so great. I’m so thankful. I’m so glad we talked. I really needed this!’ That made it feel so worthwhile.”

Janice Reznick, Deputy General Counsel at Wells Fargo and co-sponsor of the bank’s pro bono initiatives, said, “Wells Fargo is really committed to the communities in which we operate. We encourage everyone within our legal department—not just attorneys—to participate in pro bono, and there are plenty of opportunities for everyone.”

Speaking of her own motivation for championing pro bono, Janice said, “I think it’s important to help the community as lawyers and legal professionals. As a lawyer, being able to provide my legal knowledge and use my skills to help others is an incredible experience.”

Craig Baldauf, Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel at Wells Fargo, helped a client whose small house had no heating or air conditioning, roaches, electrical problems and mold—problems that the client has been trying to get fixed for four years.

“It’s easy to forget, particularly when you work for a company, that our problems tend not to be the problems faced by the average person,” Craig said. “It felt really nice to take a break from our corporate problems—which are important, but in a different way—to help somebody in the community who has been struggling for years to get a decent place to live. I left with a really positive feeling about the experience and my role in it.”

Kasasira Mwine, E-Discovery Project Manager for Wells Fargo, did a double shift of pro bono service on the day of the event. He handled a Lawyer on the Line case after attending court in the morning to handle a separate pro bono case for one of our clients.

Explaining his dedication to pro bono service, Kasasira said, “Especially in the housing arena, there’s so much that tenants are entitled to under law that they’re not aware of. It gives me a lot of joy to help tenants claim as much of their legal rights as they can. To me, it’s very important to provide that to people in the community. Every chance I get to do that, I’m going to be a zealous advocate for them.”

Natali Bollinger, Senior Paralegal with Wells Fargo, helped a client whose home had a broken water heater that was causing sewage backup, standing water on her lot, dirty drinking water, a skyrocketing water bill and other issues.

“My client has done everything right,” Natali said. “She’s paid rent on time, documented all the problems, taken photos and videos. My client hasn’t called code enforcement yet. We hope that code enforcement can decide if there are violations and put pressure on the landlord.”

Discussing why she volunteered to participate in the Lawyer on the Line event, Natali said, “It was something that was easy, a minimum time commitment, and provided an opportunity to really help out. Wells Fargo is amazing. The opportunities to give back and do pro bono are endless.”

Todd Stillerman, Assistant General Counsel at Wells Fargo and longtime pro bono volunteer, said, “The work that we do with our legal aid partners is all about providing security, stability and safety to families and children in our communities. The ability to have access to the law and access to legal remedies is crucial. Wells Fargo has recognized for a long time that providing that access is something we need to be doing. I get an incredible amount of support from my employer to do this work.”

Addressing the fears that attorneys may have about pro bono work being outside their professional comfort zone, Todd said, “I’m an investment bank lawyer. I’m not a litigator. I’ve done what I’ve done because I’ve had support from Legal Aid and the attorneys that work there. They’ve helped me do things that I never imagined I’d be able to do. No matter what your background is, no matter what your skill level is, no matter what your experience is, it only takes a little bit of courage to do this work.”

Other Wells Fargo volunteers who participated in the event are:

If you want to make a meaningful difference in the lives of North Carolinians in need, visit the Pro Bono section of our website to learn about our programs and sign up to join our mission for justice:

Want to stay in the loop on pro bono at Legal Aid of North Carolina? Join our pro bono email list to stay connected:

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Author: Sean Driscoll

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

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Author: Sean Driscoll

GREENSBORO – Elon Law students working with Legal Aid of North Carolina attorneys provided free legal advice to low-income renters struggling with poor housing conditions at a Lawyer on the Line pro bono clinic held Monday at the law school. Lawyer on the Line, our flagship pro bono program, connects our clients who have day-to-day, non-emergency legal problems to volunteer attorneys — and law students — who provide them with free legal advice over the phone.

Working under the supervision of our attorneys, nine students partnered up to serve six clients, who were struggling with issues ranging from mold to radon poisoning. The students called their clients to learn about their problems and then discussed their clients’ situations with our attorneys. Afterwards, the students drafted letters to the clients summarizing their legal issues and the advice that was approved by the attorneys.

“Everyone enjoyed the clinic,” said Matt Ferris, co-director of Elon Law’s Pro Bono Board, which organized the event. “Interacting with clients and learning from practicing attorneys is valuable real-world experience for students.”

Nicole Mueller, supervising attorney on our Pro Bono Team and an Elon Law alum, helped organize the clinic and served as a supervising attorney. “Law school pro bono clinics are a win-win for everyone,” she said. “Clients get free legal help, students get experience, and we can serve more clients. Plus, we hope the experience inspires students to make pro bono an integral part of their legal careers.”

The students participating in the clinic were April Bourommavong, Elizabeth Fadl, Joselyn Harden, Courtney Latourrette, Liz Martinez, Brooke McCormick, Kayla McLaurin, Lindsay Young and Nick Young. The Legal Aid NC attorneys participating were Shaun Arnold, Amanda Feder, Janet McAuley-Blue and Charlisa Powell, all from our Greensboro office. Liam O’Brien, an Elon Law student interning with our Economic Justice Initiative, also participated. Jill Bridges, case coordinator on our Pro Bono Programs team, screened the clients and prepared the case files.

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Author: Sean Driscoll

WILMINGTON—The New Hanover County Bar Association and Legal Aid of North Carolina honored 23 local attorneys for their pro bono service to clients of our Wilmington office from 2020-2022. The attorneys were honored at the bar association’s luncheon in Wilmington on February 21. The list of honorees is below.

Ashley M. Coghill, an attorney in the Wilmington office of Cranfill Sumner LLP, received the Addison Hewlett Jr. Award for Exemplary Pro Bono Service in 2020-2022. Her name will be placed on a plaque on the wall next to the elevators in the New Hanover County Courthouse with previous recipients of the award.

Addison Hewlett Jr. was a Wilmington attorney who served as president of the New Hanover County Bar Association in 1948. To honor Hewlett’s work serving those in need, the award is given to an attorney who serves the community with selfless dedication to promoting equal justice for the disadvantaged in New Hanover County.

Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Wilmington office provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender counties. If you are an attorney interested in providing pro bono service to clients of our Wilmington office, please visit or contact Richard Klein, regional manager of our southeast region, at

New Hanover County pro bono honorees

  • Gina D. Cecil
  • Ashley M. Coghill
  • Kathleen L. Eaton
  • Christian B. Felden
  • William C. Hurley
  • Paula A. Kohut
  • Steven M. Laird
  • Andrew Lanier
  • Aaron D. Lindquist
  • Kevin L. Littlejohn II
  • Emily A. McNamara
  • Sara A. Miller
  • Sarah E. Morin-Gage
  • Ryan H. Niland
  • Celecia M. Phillips
  • Emily Jones Queen
  • Anne J. Randall
  • Jennifer M. Roden
  • Jennifer D. Scott
  • James L. Seay, III
  • Kristina F. Smith
  • Kimberly Baxley Smithwick
  • Sandra D. Watts

Are you an attorney who wants to be a pro bono hero for North Carolinians in need? To learn more about our programs and join us on our mission for justice, visit Want to stay in the pro bono loop? Join our email list or follow #LANCprobono on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Author: Sean Driscoll

CHARLOTTE—Over pizzas and salad from a nearby restaurant, a group of Honeywell lawyers and paralegals spent a recent lunch hour providing pro bono legal advice to Legal Aid of North Carolina clients struggling with serious housing-conditions issues.

Hosted by the multi-national manufacturing and technology corporation in its technologically advanced Charlotte headquarters—the company is shaping the future, solving the world’s toughest challenges by inventing and manufacturing technologies linked to global macrotrends such as safety, security, and sustainability—the January 25 event was part of our Lawyer on the Line pro bono program, which recruits private attorneys to provide free legal advice to clients over the phone.

Dawn Savarese, Assistant General Counsel at Honeywell, and Larissa Mañon Mervin, a Charlotte-based supervising attorney on our statewide Pro Bono Programs team, organized the event.

“The Honeywell team is beyond grateful for the opportunity to participate in Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Lawyer on the Line program,” Dawn added. “The impact we can make in our community is so very gratifying, and working with Larissa and the knowledgeable and professional team at Legal Aid is a gift, not to mention incredibly fun. We are ready for the next one!”

“Dawn was the real driving force here,” Larissa said. “She’s a true pro bono champion. She wants to make sure her colleagues have accessible and meaningful pro bono opportunities. She worked hard to bring us all together and ensure everything ran smoothly the day of—she even picked up the pizza! I wasn’t surprised when she reached out a few days after the event to start planning the next one.”

Larissa was joined at the event by seasoned Legal Aid NC housing attorneys O’Shauna Hunter, head of our Charlotte office’s housing unit; Nicole Mueller, who shares her time as a supervising attorney on our Pro Bono Programs team and Disaster Relief Project; and Isaac Sturgill, head of our statewide housing practice group. The housing attorneys served as subject-matter consultants for the volunteers, who were advising tenants living in unsanitary or unsafe conditions.

Honeywell paralegal Naundra Taylor spoke with a client whose landlord refused to repair the collapsed floor in her hallway—a major safety hazard to her young child. Naundra advised the client about communicating with her landlord in a way that would allow her to make her case effectively in court (if it came to that) and what to do if the landlord tried to evict her—a common occurrence for tenants who complain to their landlords about housing conditions.

“It was wonderful!” Naundra said of her first-time experience handling a pro bono case for Legal Aid of North Carolina. “I’m ready for my next case!”

Daniela Tijerina, director of the company’s Integrity and Compliance division, also enjoyed her first pro bono experience with Legal Aid NC.

“I feel accomplished for my day,” she said. “Just knowing that someone now has a path forward makes me feel good. I would love to do this more!”

Brendan Clark, a Senior Contracts Representative at Honeywell, felt a personal connection to the work.

“As someone who grew up in an impoverished community where housing issues were commonplace,” said Brendan, a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and the Blackfoot Nation, “it was a tremendous honor to be able to provide assistance to someone who was in a similar unfortunate situation as many of my friends and family members. Many tenants fall prey to predatory landlords who use their power to negligently harm and/or discriminate against the very people they should be caring for. Lawyer on the Line plays a critical role in fighting back and I was happy to play a small role in this charge.”

Kris Pickler, general counsel for Honeywell’s Global Real Estate division, addressed the fears that some corporate attorneys might have about pro bono work.

“Some in-house counsel may not feel that they have the skills needed or time available to do pro bono,” he said. “Skills and time don’t need to be a barrier. Legal Aid has wonderful staff and online and in-person training resources to help you learn new subject matter. They have pro bono opportunities with variable time commitments so you can help those in need based on your availability.”

“Jump in and give it a go,” he said. “It is extremely rewarding.”

Other Honeywell lawyers who volunteered at the event:

  • Aparana Jaiswal, Senior Contracts Representative
  • Annie Matonis, Senior Contracts Representative
  • Will Munnerlyn, Deputy IP Counsel, Honeywell Safety & Productivity Solutions
  • Jeremy Whitley, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Honeywell Safety & Productivity Solutions
  • Darryl Wilson, Assistant General Counsel

Are you an attorney who wants to be a pro bono hero for North Carolinians in need? To learn more about our programs and join us on our mission for justice, visit Want to stay in the pro bono loop? Join our email list or follow #LANCprobono on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.