NCBA to Recognize Charlotte Triage Pro Bono Partnership at Annual Meeting

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is proud to announce that the North Carolina Bar Association has selected the Charlotte Triage Pro Bono Partnership as the 2020 recipient of the Outstanding Pro Bono Collaborative Service Award.

This award is presented annually to a law firm, local, district or statewide bar organization whose members have engaged in significant and notable legal services or have contributed outstanding support for pro bono legal services for low-income individuals.

The Charlotte Triage Pro Bono Partnership collaborates with Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte to bring together local law firms and legal departments and address some the most critical legal problems impacting economic mobility in our community.

At least 71 percent of low-income residents in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region experienced at least one civil legal problem in the last year, but only 14 percent were able to get the legal help they needed.

The Triage project began two years ago to expand access to legal assistance in key areas of need for our community. Through this project, every client referred has received legal assistance.

Over the past year, attorneys have been working in the key areas of eviction defense, healthcare access, cleaning up criminal records and human trafficking—with the goal of increasing safety, financial security and family stability for all in our community.

“This award recognizes a commendable team of dedicated volunteers,” said Brandy Haynes, pro bono and community engagement specialist for the Advocacy Center. “With Triage’s support, our organizations are able to serve more of our neighbors with essential legal services.”

The N.C. Bar Association plans to recognize the Charlotte Triage Pro Bono Partnership during the NCBA Annual Meeting Awards Dinner June 25, in Charlotte.

Project partners include Bank of America, Duke Energy, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, K&L Gates, King & Spaulding, McGuireWoods, Moore & Van Allen, Parker Poe, Robinson Bradshaw and Wells Fargo.

Special thanks to the individual Triage champions leading each legal effort: Angela Zimmern and Todd Stillerman; Mark Kinghorn, Nader Raja and Brett Shockley for housing; Lara Nichols, Fern Patterson and Chris Fernandez for expunctions; John Grupp, Chelsea Corey and Emma Merritt for health care; and Sarah Byrne and Sakeenah Thompson for human trafficking.

2020 Pro Bono Honor Roll

Download a copy of the Pro Bono Honor Roll 2020

The Mecklenburg Access to Justice Pro Bono Partners Program of Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte is pleased to recognize our committed pro bono attorneys who donated at least 20 hours of service or closed three or more cases for our clients in 2019.

Individuals with asterisks next to their names completed more than 50 hours of pro bono service in 2019.

Congratulations and thank you to the dedicated legal professionals listed below. Each of you has played a key role in helping our agencies provide access to justice to low-income clients in our community.

Alexander Abramovich *
Jonathan T. Adams
John Huske Anderson, Jr.
Blas P. Arroyo
Andrew D. Atkins
Meredith W. Barnette
Fitz Barringer *
R. Locke Beatty
Tiffany Marie Burba
William M. Butler
Avery Devin Catlin
Robert Payne Cave, Jr.
Geard M. Chapman *
Amanda M. Colley
Richard H. Connor III
G. Lee Cory, Jr.
Adam Sterling Coto
Robert A. Cox, Jr. *
Marcus H. Crow
Josef C. Culik
Benjamin Charles DeCelle
Kevin L. Denny
J. Robert Duncan
Christopher J. Fernandez
Walter D. Fisher, Jr.
Jacob Richard Franchek
Victoria S. Gonzalez *
Stephanie E. Greer-Fulcher
Ariel E. Harris
Abigail W. Henderson
Tanielle D. Henriques *
Mark A. Hiller*

Travis Styres Hinman
Brett Alan Hubler
William R. Hummel
David H. Jones
Stuart Manly Jones, Jr.
Richard H. Kim
Mark W. Kinghorn *
Heryka Rodriguez Knoespel
Jill R. Lanois
Nicholas H. Lee
Ryan W. Lifland
Carlos Andres Lopez
Kyle Joseph Luebke
Aubrey H. McEachern
Thomas E. McNeill *
T. Richmond McPherson, III
Emma Claire Merritt *
Graham Strowd Miller
Eric William Mills
Joseph V. Moreno
Elizabeth A. Murphy
Sarah N. Negus
Christiane Nolton
Nancy Black Norelli
Paul J. Osowski *
Shaun F. Pacious
Andrew R. Parrish
Fern A. Paterson
Emily C. Pera
Kim Brett Perez
Kathleen Elizabeth Perkins *

Henry N. Pharr III *
Amanda Katherine Reasoner*
Alice Carmichael Richey
Paul J. Osowski
Patrick L. Ridinger
Susan Courtright Rodriguez *
Melissa A. Romanzo *
Robert J. Roth
Evan M. Sauda
Jason Schubert
Brett Michael Shockley *
Adam G. Smith
Wendy L. Spanbauer
Lisa Sperber
Paul A. Steffens
W. Todd Stilerman
Curtis Charles Strubinger
Mary Katherine Stukes
Nadira Aisha Swinton
Rachel Ann Temple
Catherine E. Thompson
Lauren Tonon
Alyson Grossman Traw
Leslie Campbell Tucker III
Charles Phillip Wells
Nathan A. White *
Abigail Forrister Williams
Seaira R. Wolf *
Fred M. Wood, Jr. *
Gabriel Wright

North Carolina attorney volunteers!

Be sure to report your pro bono hours to the N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center to be recognized with your colleagues statewide for your service. Visit ncprobono.org/volunteer/ to learn more about the N.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 and statewide pro bono initiatives.

Attorneys who report at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services in a year will be inducted into the NC Pro Bono Honor Society and receive a certificate from the Supreme Court of North Carolina recognizing their service. Learn more at ncprobono.org.

Pro Bono Spotlight: Emma Merritt

Emma Merritt

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.

Healthcare Champions for the Charlotte Pro Bono Triage Partnership

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!

What friends are for …

Patricia H. and Patricia C.

Find yourself a friend who will not only tell you about an amazing free estate planning service available for Mecklenburg County residents over 60 but also go with you to have your documents finalized!

That’s what Patricia C. did for her friend, Patricia H. These two have known each other for years. Along with sharing a first name, they live in the same community and attend the same church.

Patricia C. had her will updated through Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s Legal Services for the Elderly program when she moved to the area in 2014. 

“Because I was new, I was trying to find out everything that was available,” she says.

The program pairs Mecklenburg County residents age 60 and older with volunteer pro bono attorneys who help them prepare simple estate planning documents and execute them to ensure local seniors can maintain their dignity and independence when making end-of-life decisions without the burden of cost.

Estate planning can be expensive, especially for people living on a fixed income, which is a major reason why many put off doing it.

The pro bono attorney who prepared Patricia C.’s documents told her that had she gone to a private attorney to have the documents prepared, she would have paid at least $1,000 for the service. She’s seen others pay even more.

However, when a person dies or becomes incapacitated without documenting their wishes, loved ones are left with hard decisions to make.

That’s why Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy protects the rights of seniors who can’t afford legal assistance by providing free simple estate planning.

“Being able to have this service done takes all of the hard decision making and burden off my children’s hands,” Patricia C. says.

Patricia C. had such a wonderful experience that when she learned her friend, Patricia H., didn’t have a will, she encouraged her to call Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

On April 26, the Patricias came to the sixth annual Wills for Seniors and Veterans Clinic at Beatties Ford Road Regional Library, where volunteers from Duke Energy, Garrity & Gossage and K&L Gates helped local seniors and veterans execute wills, advance directives and powers of attorney documents.

“I’m here to support of my friend,” Patricia C. said sitting in the waiting area.

“It’s been a good experience and my attorney explained so much,” Patricia H. said after getting her documents finalized. “I’m going to live to be 100, but I’m glad I was able to go ahead and check this off my to-do list!”

Now both women have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their wishes will be honored and a plan is in place.

The Patricias celebrated by going to lunch afterward.

That’s what friends are for.

Learn more about Legal Services for the Elderly.

Pro Bono Honor Roll 2019

The Mecklenburg Access to Justice Pro Bono Partners Program of Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte is pleased to recognize our committed pro bono attorneys on its annual Pro Bono Honor Roll.

Download a copy of the
Pro Bono Honor Roll 2019

This list recognizes local attorneys who donated at least 20 hours of service or closed three or more cases for our clients in 2018.

Thank you to these dedicated legal professionals who have given their time and expertise to serve our community!

Each of you has played a key role in helping our agencies ensure ALL people have access to justice through legal representation.

Stephen D. Allred
Blas P. Arroyo
Keith F. Atkinson
Patricia V. Baker
Linda Elise Boss
Barry S. Burke
William M. Butler
Jazmin G. Caldwell
Emily Lynn Cantrell
Avery Devin Catlin
L. Cameron Caudle Jr.
P. Mercer Cauley
Graham H. Claybrook
Shelly Davis Cole
G. Lee Cory
Alexander Carter Covington
Robert Kader Crawford
Matthew H. Crow
Josef C. Culik
Heather W. Culp
Joshua D. Davey
Stephen Thomas Denmark
Kathleen H. Dooley
Timothy Scott Emry
Landon S. Eustache
John A. Fagg Jr.
Ramona Farzad
Daniel J. Finegan
Walter D. Fisher Jr.
Douglas R. Ghidina
David P. Ginzer
Christian K. Glista
Kimberly A. Gossage
Stephanie E. Greer Fulcher


David Alan Griffin
Ariel E. Harris
Alexandra Jacqueline Hirsch
Brett Alan Hubler
Fielding E. Huseth
Ann-Rose Marie
Johnson-Lewis
David H. Jones
Stuart Manly Jones Jr.
Michael Todd Kafka
Amy P. Kaplan
Christopher B. Karlsson
Glenn E. Ketner III
Heryka Rodriguez Knoespel
Glenn G. Kunkes
Nicholas H. Lee
Francisco J. Linares
Howard Michael Lintz
Allan J. MacQuarrie
Jasmine Chloe Marchant
Thomas E. McNeill
Graham Strowd Miller
Eric William Mills
Molly Elizabeth Morgan
Robert A. Muckenfuss
Amanda J. Muehlhausen
Elizabeth A. Murphy
Thomas W. Murrell III
Amanda Pickens Nitto
Nancy Black Norelli
Paul J. Osowski
Fern A. Paterson
Kim Brett Perez
Kathleen Elizabeth Perkins
Sean F. Perrin

Henry N. Pharr III
Kevin Lee Pratt
Amanda Katherine Reasoner
Alexis N. Reynolds
Garry S. Rice
Alice Carmichael Richey
Patrick L. Ridinger
Susan Courtwright Rodriguez
Melissa A. Romanzo
Frederic Hilton Schilling
Jonathan E. Schulz
Ty Edwin Shaffer
Raleigh A. Shoemaker
Matthew R. Smith
Benjamin A. Snyder
Eric S. Spengler
Paul A. Steffens
Ryan Paul Thompson
Jeremy Bryant Tomes
Lauren Tonon
Nicolas Evan Tosco
Leslie Campbell Tucker III
Karen Vasko
Richard William Veronen Jr.
H. Landis Wade Jr.
Ann L. Warren
Kathryn G. Wellman
Abigail Forrister Williams
Susan Brown Wolfe
David Scott Wolpa
Julia Kay Wood
Richard Charles Worf Jr.
Julian H. Wright Jr.
Nancy M. Wright

North Carolina attorney volunteers!
Be sure to report your pro bono hours to the N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center to be recognized with your colleagues statewide for your service. Visit ncprobono.org/volunteer/ to learn more about the N.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1 and statewide pro bono initiatives.

Attorneys who report at least 50 hours of pro bono legal services in a year will be inducted into the NC Pro Bono Honor Society and receive a certificate from the Supreme Court of North Carolina recognizing their service. Check out this year’s cohort of inductees! Learn more at ncprobono.org.