Every lawyer has a professional responsibility to help make legal services available to those unable to afford them. Access to the justice system is essential to the functioning of a democratic society, but meaningful access to justice for persons of limited means is only possible through pro bono service. The North Carolina State Bar and the American Bar Association encourage attorneys to render 50 hours of pro bono service annually to individuals unable to pay.
The Pro Bono Program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU) School of Law was established to encourage and support law student participation in pro bono and to foster students’ commitment to pro bono service both during law school and after graduation. The Program coordinates a range of pro bono projects at the Law School and connects students to organizations and attorneys providing free or low-cost legal services to low-income persons in the local community and across the state.
For the Public
Please Note: The NCCU Law Pro Bono Program and NCCU Law Students cannot represent or give legal advice directly to members of the public. NCCU Law Students may only work under the supervision of a licensed attorney at an organization or project approved by the Program.
If you are seeking help with a legal problem, please see below for a list of legal resources and links.
The Pro Bono Program assists attorneys who are handling cases on a free or reduced-fee basis. To request law student assistance with a pro bono case, call the Legal Clinic office, 919-530-7166. Only nonprofit or government organizations or attorneys working on pro bono matters may request law student assistance.
For Law Students
Opportunities for pro bono exist both within and outside the law school. The Pro Bono Program connects students with public interest law organizations, government agencies, and private attorneys working on pro bono cases in the area and across the state. Click here for a list of organizations and attorneys where NCCU law students have completed pro bono projects during the past two years.
Pro bono opportunities within the Law School include a number of established student-led pro bono projects:
Driver’s License Restoration Project
Under the supervision of volunteer attorneys, law students provide guidance to indigent North Carolinians on issues of license revocation and reinstating their revoked driving privileges. For more information, go to http://www.ncdlrp.org/.
Elder Law Project
Elder Law Project students, under the supervision of volunteer attorneys, prepare simple wills, durable powers of attorney, living wills, and health care powers of attorney for eligible clients in Durham and surrounding counties. To be referred to the Elder Law Project, call the Durham office of Legal Aid of North Carolina, 919-688-6396.
Foreclosure Prevention Project
Law students assist clients in Durham County threatened with foreclosure in preparing pro se motions to continue, negotiating loan modifications, and sending out qualified written requests. To be referred to the Foreclosure Prevention Project, call the Legal Clinic office at 919-530-7166 or contact Professor Timothy J. Peterkin.
Future Lawyers for Community Advancement (FLCA)
FLCA students provide mentoring to Durham middle and high school students with the goal of improving oral communication skills, increasing students’ awareness of how the law impacts them, and encouraging them to seek careers in the legal profession.
Hispanic Law Students Association (HLSA) Spanish Translators Initiative
Members of the Hispanic Law Students Association serve as translators and interpreters for non-English speaking clients at the local office of Legal Aid of North Carolina.
The NCCU Innocence Project® partners with the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence to review, investigate, and evaluate innocence claims made by prisoners incarcerated in North Carolina.
Know Your Rights Immigration Law Project
Law students give presentations on immigration law to the community in English and Spanish. Volunteer immigration law attorneys are available to answer questions. To schedule a presentation at your organization, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Project (VITA)
Law students trained and certified under the IRS-sponsored VITA program prepare and electronically file State and Federal income tax returns for taxpayers with family incomes of $49,000 or less from mid-January through March each year.
Where NCCU Law Students Do Pro Bono Work
As a student at NCCU Law, you can help make the promise of “equal justice under law” inscribed above the doors of the United States Supreme Court a reality. Whether you plan a career in private practice or public service, through pro bono you will gain valuable experience, enhance your legal skills, and help meet a vital community need.
- ACLU of NC Legal Foundation American Civil Liberties Union
- ACLU Capital Punishment Project
- Center For Child And Family Health Legal Program
- Center For Death Penalty Litigation
- Child Advocacy Commission of Durham
- Disability Rights North Carolina
- Elna B. Spaulding Conflict Resolution Center
- Fair Trial Initiative
- Guardian Ad Litem Program
- NCABL Land Loss Prevention Project
- Legal Aid of North Carolina
- NC Center on Actual Innocence
- NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault
- NC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- NC Department Of Justice
- NC Justice Center
Legal Resources and Links
NC Free Legal Help, a service of North Carolina Advocates for Justice, is a roster of more than 500 attorneys who have agreed to provide a free 10-minute initial consultation by phone or e-mail. For more information, go to http://www.ncfreelegalhelp.com/.
The North Carolina Bar Association maintains a database of lawyers who agree to charge no more than $50 for the first 30 minutes of an initial consultation. Please note that this service DOES NOT make referrals to pro bono (free) attorneys. Call 919-677-8574 in the Raleigh area or toll-free 800-662-7660 and ask for the Lawyer Referral Service. For more information, go to http://www.ncbar.org/public-pro-bono/lawyer-referral-service.aspx.
The Driver’s License Restoration Project helps indigent individuals in North Carolina develop a plan for reinstating their driver’s licenses following revocation. For more information, go to http://www.ncdlrp.org/.
Legal Aid of North Carolina provides legal assistance with civil matters to eligible clients. For more information, go to http://www.legalaidnc.org/.
North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services assists inmates in North Carolina correctional institutions with their civil legal needs. For more information, go to http://www.ncpls.org/.
North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence identifies, investigates and advances credible claims of innocence made by inmates convicted of felonies in North Carolina. For more information, go to http://www.law.duke.edu/innocencecenter/.
File It Yourself Divorce and Custody Workshops are offered monthly in Durham and Wake Counties by students and faculty of the NCCU Family Law Clinic.