Emma Merritt is an associate at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP and a dedicated pro bono volunteer with Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy through the Access to Justice Pro Bono Partners Program.
Having done pro bono work since she became an attorney, Merritt brought her commitment to service to the Charlotte community. She took her first pro bono case in January of 2017.
“It is crucial for those of us with the ability to help to do so,” Merritt says. “I am grateful that my law firm strongly values pro bono work as well.”
Merritt routinely handles appeals cases for denials of Medicaid for the Disabled (MAD) and Social Security Disability benefits (SSD). She recalls one case where she assisted a young woman with a debilitating mental illness. Merritt successfully appealed the denial of her Social Security Disability benefits, enabling her to continue to pay for her medical and living expenses.
Not only does Merritt value her pro bono work as a continuous learning opportunity, tackling all kinds of difficult cases, she enjoys getting to know her individual pro bono clients” and helping them obtain favorable outcomes.
“It is incredibly rewarding to know that I have made a real difference in a person’s life by helping him or her through a difficult situation,” Merritt says.
Merritt’s commitment to pro bono service, especially with civil legal issues involving healthcare access, has compelled her to encourage others to volunteer with Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy through the Charlotte Pro Bono Triage Partnership.
Charlotte Triage is a partnership of corporate and private practice lawyers volunteering to support the area’s two legal service organizations, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina, in their legal work to serve more people in need of legal assistance.
Merrit is beginning her second year serving as a Healthcare Champion through Charlotte Triage, where she recruits, organizes, and trains volunteers to assist Charlotte residents in need of help understanding affordable healthcare options with the Advocacy Center’s Health Insurance Navigator Project.
As part of this work, Merritt has completed training to be a Certified Health Insurance Navigator, and she will serve as an Open Enrollment Volunteer Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, with dozens of other volunteers in the community to ensure those who can be insured under the Affordable Care Act, have access to assistance that helps them make informed decisions about health coverage.
“Emma is enthusiastic about her role and always willing to provide her time and resources,” says Julieanne Taylor, attorney and health insurance navigator coordinator at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. “Last year, Emma was a superstar on the last day of Open Enrollment and stayed with us until the very end. The Navigator Project is so lucky to have Emma on our team!”
Thank-you Emma Merritt for your commitment to pro bono work on behalf of Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy!