Dorothy Bernholz ’75, Director of Carolina Student Legal Services at North Carolina University (UNC) at Chapel Hill, received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for her distinguished legal service to the state of North Carolina. Rep. Joe Hackney, speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, presented the prestigious award on behalf of Gov. Bev Perdue at a meeting of the Orange County’s Bar Association.
In 1976, the student body president tried to hire Dorothy Bernholz as the founding director of Student Legal Services. Her position was contested by the state, so she sued and won, arguing that under the first amendment, students have the right to meaningful access to the courts. This suit created one of the first nonprofit public interest law firms in the country. Since its foundation, Student Legal Services has advised and represented 80,000 UNC students.