The North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA) has selected the North Carolina Central University Elder Law Project (ELP) as recipient of its 2012 Law Student Group Pro Bono Service Award. This award is presented annually to an outstanding law student group whose pro bono project benefits low-income people in North Carolina. The 2011 NCBA Pro Bono Award recipient was the Driver’s License Restoration Project, making this the second year in a row that an NCCU Law student Pro Bono project has won the NCBA award.
Currently, 22 students are active in the Project. They are led by four student coordinators, each overseeing one of the Project’s main activities, and a student manager with responsibility for overall coordination, publicity, volunteer recruitment, organizing trainings, and case tracking. The trainings are conducted by NCCU Law alumnus and long-time Legal Aid volunteer attorney, William C. Moore ‘94, who also supervises students in several aspects of the Project.
The Elder Law Pro Bono Project began in 2008-09 as a way for NCCU Law students to assist the Durham office of Legal Aid of North Carolina with the backlog of clients needing wills and advance directives (Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney, and Living Wills). Since then, the Project has expanded to include additional activities reaching different populations.
In addition to conducting intake interviews and preparing drafts of wills and advance directives for Legal Aid clients as needed, Elder Law Project students now conduct intake interviews at Legal Aid’s regular monthly wills clinics, held at the Durham Senior Center, and assist with Wills for Habitat, a pro bono project of the Durham County Bar Association. In October 2011, Elder Law Project students partnered with the Wake County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division to put on Project Will Power, a wills clinic for low-income residents of Southeast Raleigh. Elder Law Project students also participated in a wills clinic for clients in Elizabeth City using the law school’s TALIAS telepresence technology.
Congratulations to all Elder Law Project volunteers, and congratulations and thanks to ELP student managers Kathy Blackburn 2012, Bahiya Lawrence 2012, Jim Purnell 2012, Robyn Hicks 2013, Andrea Canegata 2013, and to their supervising volunteer attorney, Bill Moore ‘94!