RALEIGH, N.C. — Poyner Spruill LLP is pleased to have five of the firm’s attorneys named to the 2017 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society.
Thomas H. Davis, Jr., John Michael (JM) Durnovich, Andrew H. Erteschik, S. Todd Hemphill and Caroline P. Mackie of Poyner Spruill were among 345 attorneys the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center (PBRC) inducted. Honorees must report 50 or more hours of pro bono legal services to clients unable to pay without expectation of a fee; an aspirational threshold set by Rule 6.1 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.
“These five attorneys are a shining example of professionals who give back,” Poyner Spruill managing partner Dan Cahill said. “Poyner Spruill is extremely proud of their pro bono efforts, and we congratulate Tom, JM, Drew, Todd and Caroline on this honor.”
Each new member named to the Honor Society receives a certificate from the Supreme Court of North Carolina in recognition of their valuable contributions to the people of North Carolina. The 345 attorneys in this year’s cohort reported a combined total of more than 35,000 hours of pro bono legal services in 2017 to North Carolinians living in poverty.
All 877 attorneys who shared information about their pro bono volunteerism provided nearly 50,000 combined hours of pro bono legal services in 2017.
Rule 6.1 encourages a variety of activities in addition to the pro bono legal services recognized by the Honor Society. Other encouraged activities include providing legal services at a substantially reduced fee; engaging in activities that improve the law, the legal system, or the legal profession; participating in non-legal community service; and contributing financially to North Carolina legal aid organizations. The reporting process, administered by the PBRC, collected basic information about all of these activities.
Chief Justice Mark Martin, chair of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, recently stressed that the ideal of equal justice under law is one of the ultimate goals of our legal system.
“One integral way that we as North Carolina lawyers move closer to this ideal is through providing pro bono legal services to the citizens of our state who are unable to afford private representation,” said Chief Justice Martin.
Launched in 2016, the PBRC began collecting responses from attorneys about pro bono involvement through the state’s first voluntary reporting process in January 2017. The program aims to increase North Carolina attorney pro bono legal service as a way to meet the legal needs of people of low-income and modest means in our state.
About the N.C. Equal Access to Justice Commission
The North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission was established in November 2005 by order of the Supreme Court of North Carolina and is chaired by Chief Justice Mark Martin. The mission of the Commission is to expand access to civil legal representation for people of low income and modest means across North Carolina. The 25-member Commission includes representative stakeholders from across the state, all three branches of government, legal aid communities, client communities, as well as practicing lawyers.