National Honor for Pro Bono Collaboration

July 2, 2020

When McGuireWoods collaborated with corporate law departments and legal aid organizations in 2018 to launch a project called Charlotte Triage, the partnership was hailed as a groundbreaking approach to addressing critical legal needs for Charlotte, North Carolina’s most vulnerable residents. Nearly two years later, the project stands as a model for leveraging the talents of private-practice and in-house lawyers to help legal aid groups fulfill their vital mission. And Charlotte Triage has earned a prestigious national award for its impact.

Charlotte Triage received the 2020 Corporate Pro Bono Award from the Pro Bono Institute. The national award honors innovative pro bono partnerships between law firms, in-house legal departments and public interest organizations. 

Charlotte Triage supports Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte and the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. McGuireWoods, Moore & Van Allen and dozens of local law firms and corporate legal departments — including leaders from Bank of America, Duke Energy, Husqvarna Group and Wells Fargo — joined forces on the ambitious initiative.

The program enables legal aid groups to outsource work to private-practice lawyers and in-house counsel for eviction defense, healthcare enrollment, criminal record expunctions and human trafficking. Since its inception, the program has trained more than 400 volunteers and helped deliver legal services for more than 350 matters.

In addition to these services, Triage volunteers are helping families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis by negotiating rent forgiveness for those forced to shelter in motels during the pandemic.

“Charlotte Triage is a powerful example of the impact law firms, corporate legal departments and legal aid organizations have when they work together to meet pro bono needs in their communities, fulfilling the important mission of the Pro Bono Institute,” said McGuireWoods Chairman Jonathan Harmon.

“This recognition is a testament to Charlotte Triage’s progress expanding access to legal services for those most in need,” added J. Tracy Walker IV, McGuireWoods’ managing partner. “It is especially rewarding to collaborate with valued clients whose contributions are essential to the project’s success.”

“It is a privilege to work with talented, community-minded attorneys from law firms and corporate legal departments who are passionate about serving their neighbors in need,” said McGuireWoods partner Mark Kinghorn, a co-coordinator for the project’s eviction defense efforts. “I am proud that Charlotte Triage is making a positive difference in our community.”