The Pro Bono Institute highlighted McGuireWoods’ role in the launch of an innovative, collaborative program to expand pro bono legal services for low-income residents in Charlotte, North Carolina. The nonprofit institute published an article about the Charlotte Triage project in the October-November issue of its newsletter, The Pro Bono Wire.
Charlotte Triage allows local legal aid groups to outsource work to law firms and in-house counsel in three areas most in need of pro bono help: housing evictions, healthcare enrollment and expungement of criminal convictions. The Pro Bono Wire article noted that more than 300 lawyers and staff from law firms and legal departments attended the Sept. 5 kickoff event hosted by McGuireWoods, which included CLE training in the three core areas.
The program is an expansion of a first-of-its-kind initiative begun in 2017 that made Richmond, Virginia, the first U.S. city to outsource legal aid matters in 12 practices, enabling legal aid groups to focus their scarce resources on other core areas.
Scott Oostdyk, McGuireWoods’ partner in charge of pro bono, developed the Richmond program and joined with David Leitch, global general counsel of Bank of America, to expand it to Charlotte. A task force co-chaired by Bank of America assistant general counsel Todd Stillerman; McGuireWoods senior counsel Angie Zimmern, pro bono co-coordinator for the firm’s Charlotte office; representatives from Duke Energy, Husqvarna, Wells Fargo, and Moore & Van Allen; and members of Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte and Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy worked to tailor the program to Charlotte’s needs.
“Triage is about creating collectively a different approach to the service distribution of legal services than the market economy brings to bear,” Leitch said in his opening remarks, according to The Pro Bono Wire. “We are building a second ring of Legal Aid — one comprised of private lawyers in secondary practices.”