Charlotte Triage pro bono partnership — a collaboration led by McGuireWoods, Bank of America, Duke Energy, Wells
Fargo, and Moore & Van Allen to expand pro bono services for low-income
Charlotte residents — marked its third anniversary Oct. 21, 2021, with
virtual CLE training sessions attended by 185 legal and other
professionals. The anniversary event provided an opportunity for attendees
to learn about Charlotte Triage and receive training to assist legal aid
Charlotte Triage supports Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte and the
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy by enabling the legal aid organizations
to outsource work to private practice lawyers and in-house counsel for
matters related to human trafficking, criminal record expunctions,
healthcare enrollment, housing eviction defense, driver’s license
restorations and access to Social Security benefits.
Angie Zimmern, McGuireWoods’ pro bono director and coordinator of Charlotte Triage,
kicked off the event by welcoming attendees and thanking volunteers for
their pro bono contributions.
“For the last four years, we’ve gathered in the fall to raise awareness of
the most pressing pro bono legal needs in Charlotte and to make a call to
action to our attorneys and legal professionals to change lives through pro
bono service,” said Zimmern. “We would not be here today without the
leadership of David Leitch, whose vision and service helped formulate
Charlotte Triage and set us on the path to assisting Charlotte’s most
Leitch, global general counsel of Bank of America, was celebrated in a
short video that highlighted his impact on Charlotte Triage and his passion
for this initiative. The video included remarks from John Roberts, chief
justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
During his remarks, Leitch outlined the three guiding principles of
Charlotte Triage: There are many unmet legal needs that should be
addressed; legal services organizations do not have the resources to train
people to meet these needs; and Charlotte Triage volunteers should think of
themselves as lawyers for the community.
“This is the third anniversary, and it really is incredible to look back
and think about all that you have achieved,” said Leitch. “People from all
over the city have stepped up and done their part.”
Other speakers included Charlotte Triage leaders Sarah Byrne, senior
counsel, Moore & Van Allen; Chris Fernandez, counsel, K&L Gates;
Chelsea Corey, senior associate, King & Spalding; Paul Osowski,
partner, Nelson Mullins; Allie Lin, head of litigation and employment law,
Brighthouse Financial; Elizabeth Murphy, partner, Alston & Bird; Todd
Stillerman, associate general counsel, Bank of America; Tommy Holderness,
housing attorney, Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte; and Ken Schorr,
executive director, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.
Charlotte Triage grew out of a first-of-its-kind pro bono initiative
launched in 2017 that made Richmond, Virginia, the first U.S. city to
outsource legal aid matters in 12 practice areas.
Scott Oostdyk, McGuireWoods’ global pro bono partner, played a lead role developing
Richmond Triage. He and Leitch led the effort to expand the project to
Charlotte. Zimmern and Stillerman co-lead the management committee that
oversees Charlotte Triage’s day-to-day operations.
Since its inception in 2018, Charlotte Triage has been recognized for
exemplary pro bono service. The Pro Bono Institute honored Charlotte Triage
2020 Corporate Pro Bono Partner Award, which recognizes innovative pro bono partnerships between law firms,
in-house legal departments and public interest organizations. In addition,
the North Carolina State Bar honored Charlotte Triage with its
Outstanding Pro Bono Collaborative Service award in 2020.