For more information, please contact:

LuAnn Ritsema
Council for Children’s Rights


October 16, 2017

Local pro bono attorneys, advocates recognized by nonprofits at 2017 Pro Bono Awards

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The area’s largest recipients of pro bono services, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy (formerly Legal Services of Southern Piedmont), Council for Children’s Rights (CFCR), and Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte (LANC), will host the sixth annual Pro Bono Awards Tuesday, on October 24 at the Mint Museum Uptown. The event honors local attorneys and advocates who have generously given their time and expertise to local underserved children, families and individuals in legal crisis.

In the past year, approximately 750 attorneys and advocates gave more than 10,000 pro bono hours to the three agencies, serving upwards of 1,200 local children, families and individuals in need in the Charlotte area. The local firms, attorneys, and advocates to be recognized and honored at the event have made considerable pro bono contributions toward the community’s access to vital legal services and transformed the lives of hundreds of area residents.

Stephen Allred of McGuireWoods, LLP will receive the Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award, a lifetime achievement honor jointly presented by all three agencies. The award recognizes an individual whose longstanding and exceptional dedication to pro bono legal service has made a meaningful impact on access to justice in the community and state.

The Outstanding Firm Service Award recognizes firms whose longtime partnerships and creative contributions have made it possible for the three agencies to serve more children, families and individuals in need. These awards will be presented to:

  • Bradley,
  • Passenant and Shearin Law, and
  • Robinson Bradshaw

The Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award honors attorneys who have contributed a considerable amount of pro bono hours, enabling Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, CFCR and LANC to serve more clients and initiate new projects. These awards will be presented to:

  • Demian Betz, of Wells Fargo Law Department,
  • Melissa Kato, of K&L Gates LLP, and
  • Michelle Thompson, of Wells Fargo Law Department.

The Outstanding Volunteer Service Award will be awarded to Elizabeth Hindal of Wells Fargo.  The Outstanding Advocate Award will be presented to Diane Doherty of K&L Gates LLP

This year’s Pro Bono Awards anticipates a crowd of more than 250 attorneys, judges, advocates and community members.

Council for Children’s Rights works to improve the lives of nearly 2,000 children and families in the greater Charlotte community each year.  We are committed to the premise that every child has the fundamental right to be safe, healthy and well-educated. We pursue that vision through individual advocacy, legal representation and addressing broad, community-wide issues through research and policy work.  For more information on the Council visit our web site at

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy (formerly Legal Services of Southern Piedmont) provides expert legal advice and representation to those who cannot afford but desperately need them, something the organization has been doing since its inception in 1967. Each year, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy serves 3,500 families each year who are facing a crisis of safety, shelter, health or income. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy provides committed advocacy work on behalf of clients, resulting in policy changes at the local and national level to impact a greater number of people. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is a champion for those in need, ensuring their safety, security and stability. For more information, visit

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil m­atters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity.

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