An innovative collaboration that makes legal services more accessible to
low-income Charlotte residents will expand in its second year thanks to pro
bono efforts led by McGuireWoods, Bank of America, Duke Energy, Wells
Fargo, Moore & Van Allen and Husqvarna.
The Charlotte Triage project marked its first anniversary Sept. 4 with CLE
training sessions and a reception at The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte attended by
nearly 300 legal and other professionals. In its inaugural year, the Triage
project allowed Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North
Carolina-Charlotte to outsource work to law firms and in-house counsel in
three areas where pro bono help is most needed: housing evictions,
healthcare enrollment and expunging criminal records.
Pro bono volunteers handled nearly 200 eviction prevention cases,
healthcare enrollments and record expunction matters. Every pro bono client
referred by the two legal aid organizations was accepted and served by
Charlotte Triage. In its second year, the program also will focus on
assisting victims of human trafficking.
“Charlotte Triage has cultivated a network of talented, community-minded
attorneys from law firms and corporate legal departments who are passionate
about serving those in need, and that network continues to grow,” said
Angie Zimmern, McGuireWoods’ pro bono director and coordinator of Charlotte Triage.
“This collaborative pro bono effort has had a measurable impact in the
community and we look forward to achieving even greater results in our
The anniversary event featured remarks from David Leitch, global general
counsel of Bank of America; Jim Sandman, president of Legal Services
Corporation; Vijay Bondada, vice president and chief litigation officer at
Duke Energy; and Ellen Fitzsimmons, executive vice president and general
counsel of Sun Trust Banks Inc.
Charlotte Business Journal
published a story on the anniversary event and Business North Carolina included coverage in its daily newsletter
Charlotte Triage is an expansion of a first-of-its-kind pro bono initiative
begun in 2017 that made Richmond, Virginia, the first U.S. city to
outsource legal aid matters in 12 practice areas.
Scott Oostdyk, McGuireWoods’ pro bono partner liaison, played a lead role in developing
Richmond Triage. He and Leitch led the effort to expand the project to
Charlotte with an eye toward fighting homelessness.
To tailor the concept to Charlotte’s legal aid needs, they worked with a
task force that included Zimmern, Bank of America assistant general counsel
Todd Stillerman, 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.
Charlotte Triage established a coordinated referral “champions” system
enabling legal aid groups to efficiently outsource work to pro bono lawyers
trained to handle eviction prevention, healthcare enrollment and expunction
matters. More than 200 volunteers were trained during the first year and
nearly 100 assisted clients.
McGuireWoods has earned numerous national and regional honors for pro bono
service. The National Law Journal selected the firm for its
2019 Pro Bono Hot List, citing landmark court victories and innovative partnerships with
corporate clients to assist legal aid organizations.