November 26, 2018
A program pioneered by McGuireWoods that brought law firms and corporate legal departments together with legal aid nonprofits to expand pro bono services in Virginia and North Carolina was the subject of a Law360 “Pro Bono Spotlight” feature story.
Launched in September, Charlotte Triage expands the pool of pro bono volunteers for the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina using an innovative approach — enlisting pro bono participation among in-house attorneys. Two hundred lawyers volunteered for Charlotte Triage at the Sept. 5 kickoff event, the Nov. 19 article noted.
Among the top corporate legal officers who helped spearhead the initiative alongside the firm was Bank of America General Counsel David Leitch, who took on one of the program’s first cases: defending a client facing eviction. “As lawyers, this is a problem we can do something about,” Leitch said in the story about McGuireWoods’ role in Charlotte Triage.
Charlotte Triage is patterned on Richmond Triage, which McGuireWoods helped to launch in Virginia in 2017. Led by Scott Oostdyk, the program marshalled talents of the region’s broader legal community to address massive legal aid caseloads of wrongful evictions, criminal record expunctions and obstacles to healthcare.
“So we decided to get together and basically become self-training and self-deploying,” said Oostdyk, the partner in charge of pro bono at McGuireWoods.
Angie Zimmern, who coordinates Charlotte Triage, said it’s a model that took root easily in North Carolina. “What Triage has done here in Charlotte is tapped into a huge network of attorneys who maybe have never done pro bono work at all.”
The programs fit McGuireWoods’ pro bono focus on helping individuals, Managing Partner J. Tracy Walker IV told Law360. “We live in an increasingly complex world and there is an increasing need for legal services across every sector of society, including those who can least afford it,” he said.