On April 1, 2016, the NC Equal Access to Justice Commission launched the NC Pro Bono Resource Center with the hiring of inaugural director Sylvia Novinsky. The newly-established NC Pro Bono Resource Center will be one of only a handful of statewide pro bono resource centers in the country. The goal of the NC Pro Bono Resource Center is to increase pro bono participation statewide.
In 2010, the North Carolina State Bar adopted Rule 6.1, Voluntary Pro Bono Publico Service, which states in part: “Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to pay. A lawyer should aspire to render at least (50) hours of pro bono public legal services per year.”
To assist lawyers in fulfilling their professional obligations under Rule 6.1, the Center will develop pro bono projects statewide in partnership with legal aid organizations and community organizations. Initially, the Center will focus on projects in Mecklenburg and Wake counties to match unmet legal needs with recent law school graduates. The Center will also provide support for existing pro bono activities including recruitment, training, and communication and implement voluntary pro bono reporting and recognition programs statewide.
Resources for pro bono attorneys:
- NC Pro Bono, the home of the NC Pro Bono Resource Center, provides information about pro bono opportunities and how to get involved.
- Pro Bono FAQ includes information about pro bono including the types of opportunities available, malpractice insurance, training, information pertaining to specific groups like out of state attorneys, new admittees, and retired attorneys, and how to get involved.
- Information about Pro Bono Practice Status including eligibility, the process for obtaining pro bono status, and relevant forms and rules.
- Pro Bono Representation of Veterans flyer contains information about how pro bono attorneys can assist in meeting the legal needs of veterans and how to apply to represent veterans before the VA in benefits matters.
Organizations with pro bono programs providing general civil legal services in a variety of substantive areas:
Organizations with pro bono programs providing civil legal services for a specific population and/or issue:
- Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina – Child Advocacy Program
- Council for Children’s Rights – Custody Advocacy Program
- Disability Rights North Carolina – Guardianship and Medicaid Appeals Project
- North Carolina Bar Association – 4ALL Statewide Service Day, Lawyer on the Line, and other opportunities for pro bono service.