Elon Law & WECT-TV host 'Ask A Lawyer' Call-In
Elon University School of Law alumni and staff fielded phone calls from residents of Wilmington, North Carolina, and nearby communities in a June 21 televised program that offered answers to viewers unsure of where to turn for help with their legal questions.
Medical malpractice suspicions. Employment concerns. Criminal record expungements. Questions about living wills and estate planning.
Viewers of WECT-TV in Wilmington, North Carolina, shared a host of queries and woes on June 21 in the inaugural Elon Law & WECT “Ask A Lawyer” call-in program broadcast into homes across the southeastern corner of the state. On the other end of the line? Elon Law alumni and staff volunteers who saw the program as a service to their community.
Gwendolyn Lewis L’13, alumni director at Elon Law, said the Elon Law/WECT Ask-a-Lawyer Partnership served as a representation of the law school's commitment to service in the community, innovation in the ways it partners with alumni, and the value given to students when exposed to practicing attorneys.
“Lawyers are public servants and the ability to assess and provide information that will give an individual a resolution for their legal problem is why lawyers serve,” Lewis said. “Our graduates and our students are committed to service. The partnership we formed with WECT allowed Elon Law to have a tremendous impact on the citizens of New Hanover County.”
For lots of Americans, the first time the seek legal help is when they buy a home, said Patrick Keeley L’15, an alumni volunteer at the event. The law is complex and, for some people, it’s difficult to know where to start seeking answers to your questions.
“Many people are intimidated at the prospect of seeking legal services. Having this program takes away some of that intimidation," Keeley said. "Everyone I talked to was happy to have a place to start. It removed a barrier to entry to the law. And it put into people’s minds how Elon Law is committed to helping the people of the state by producing good lawyers."
The participating attorneys who collectively answered nearly 200 viewer phone calls were:
- Pamela L. Carter, Attorney, Hedrick Gardner Kincheloe & Garofalo LLP
- Chris Bell, Personal Injury Attorney, Speaks Law Firm, P.C.
- Nick Leger, Attorney, Dugan & Leger, PLLC
- Tim Dugan, Attorney, Dugan & Leger, PLLC
- Janison Dillon, Attorney, Quintiles, Inc.
- Andrew Penny, Attorney, Crossley, McIntosh, Collier, Hanley & Edes PLLC
- Patrick Keeley, Christina Rivenbark & Associates
- Gwendolyn Lewis, Elon University School of Law
- Charles “Chuck” Splawn, Elon University School of Law
Current Elon Law students also offered their time and energy to making the event a success. Jessica Chong L’17 assisted with social media during the event and said the program helped her realize that she will be able to interact with Elon Law alumni within the legal network no matter the city where she one day practices.
“Watching the event made me realize why lawyers are called ‘counselors of the law,’’ Chong said. “It was encouraging to see the alumni working hard answering calls and genuinely wanting to serve the community. It motivated me even more to want to apply that enthusiasm to my summer internship.”
Eboni Thompson L’17, who also assisted with social media and answered questions on air about the program, said the program was valuable for several reasons. She had an opportunity to network with Elon Law alumni now in legal careers while helping to provide a service to the Wilmington community.
“Practical experiences such as this will undoubtedly contribute to my development as an Elon student who recognizes the importance of pro bono work,” Thompson said. “There are many benefits that come from this service, including the gratification received from the public.”