In honor of the ABA National Pro Bono Celebration, Elon Law's Office of Career Services and the Public Interest Law Society (PILS) recently hosted four Greensboro-area attorneys to speak on the role pro bono service plays in firm practice settings.
On Oct. 26 Janet Ward Black, of WardBlackLaw; Alex Elkan, of BrooksPierce; Jennifer Adams Ledford, of Higgins Benjamin; and Murray C. (Trip) Greason III, of Womble Carlyle participated in a panel discussion to highlight their pro bono experiences. The discussion, moderated by second-year student Melodie Menzer, focused on dispelling the perception that pro bono service was something primarily provided by public interest attorneys and not those in firm practice.
The panel explored how firms of various sizes approach serving clients that would ordinarily be unable to afford their services. Ledford was quick to note that the panel represented a cross section of the private practice community with firm size ranging from four to over 400. Each panelist offered perspectives on both the benefits and challenges pro bono cases present to their respective firms with the overwhelming consensus that pro bono experiences were essential in the development of legal and personal skills for all attorneys, regardless of situation. Ward Black, especially, stressed how invaluable the legal experience gained through service could be in the present job market.
“The panel was an opportunity for students to hear from and talk to local attorneys about their work in the community and the importance of pro bono work,” said PILS President Jason Senges. “The panel was one of the many efforts from Elon Law students to highlight the work of these attorneys for their commitment to the community and the need to give back.”
Ms. Ward Black is the principal owner of WardBlackLaw in Greensboro. She represents clients in the areas of personal injury, workers’ compensation, and defective products. Ms. Ward Black created the “4 All” program to provide legal services to the poor, a model now used throughout the United States and Canada.
Mr. Elken works in the Greensboro office of BrooksPierce in the areas of complex litigation and environmental law. Among a range of professional and community service activities, Elken serves on the community grants committee of the United Way of Greater Greensboro and the grants committee of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro Future Fund.
Ms. Ledford practices appeals, bankruptcy, and commercial litigation at Higgins, Benjamin in Greensboro. She also serves as a preceptor at Elon Law.
Mr. Greason is the first to hold the position of full-time Pro Bono Director at Womble, Carlyle, Sandrige & Rice and works in the Winston Salem office. He currently serves as Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Public Service Committee.