Category: Blog

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.

Category: Blog

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.