Brian S. Cromwell

Brian Cromwell

 

Brian S. Cromwell of Parker Poe is a Mecklenburg County Bar (MCB) member who continues to go above and beyond in his volunteer and pro bono efforts. In addition to being a member of several boards of directors at local organizations such as United Family Services and the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, he also is active in pro bono work with the Public Defender's office, Teen Court and the Urban Ministry Center. In this month's spotlight, Brian discusses his knowledge and time committed to United Family Services (UFS) while serving on their Board and being a proponent of the resources UFS provides to the community.

 

MCB VLP:  Current Employer / number of years with current employer? 

I just started with Parker Poe on December 1, 2009. Prior to that I was with Hunton & Williams from July 2006 through November 2009

 

MCB VLP:  Area of Practice / Expertise?

White Collar Criminal Defense and Governmental Investigations

 

MCB VLP:  Law School / Law School Graduation Year?

Fordham University School of Law 1995

 

MCB VLP:  How did you discover the pro bono need with the United Family Services?

I am on the Executive Committee and Former Board Chair of the United Family Services Board of Directors. As an Assistant District Attorney in the late 1990's, I prosecuted domestic violence crimes. I was always impressed at the preparedness of the Victim Assistance Advocates as I learned more about the entire organization. I was so impressed, that I eventually married one of them!

 

MCB VLP:  What is a typical case issue like? 

My legal work for United Family Services is typically limited to advising the organization on issues related to governance - like revision of the organizations bylaws or assisting them in resolving contractual disputes. However, many issues arise for United Family Services. Among the services UFS provides to the community include the shelter for battered women, 50b protection through victim assistance, rape crisis/child abuse prevention, counseling and education, consumer credit counseling, domestic violence counseling, housing services, employee assistance . . . The list is endless. In a nutshell - United Family Services provides hope for families in crisis.

 

MCB VLP:  How many pro bono cases do you typically handle at one time?

As the matters arise, I review them - typically once or twice a year. The Board has outside counsel who advises them on a more regular basis

 

MCB VLP;  How do you prepare for such cases?

I am usually aware of issues that arise because of my role on the Executive Committee. I have familiarity with the people in the organization so I will interview them, read the relevant documents and advise them accordingly.

 

MCB VLP:  Did you participate in any particular training so that you could handle these cases? 

Because of my background and practice area, I tend to focus on compliance issues. If the matter involves an area of law in which I do not practice, I locate a lawyer with that expertise and work very closely with them to resolve the matter. I have been fortunate to have met so many attorneys in the Bar who are willing to assist an organization as wonderful as United Family Services.

 

MCB VLP:  How can the Mecklenburg County legal community help with similar cases? 

As you see from above, there are a host of issues with which United Family Services deals. If you have an interest or expertise in any of those areas or non-profit law in general, I am certain United Family Services would appreciate the help. I may be reached at 704/335-9511 or briancromwell@parkerpoe.com or you can contact their COO and VP of Programs and Services Sharon Thacker at (704) 367-2702 or you can visit their website at www.unitedfamilyservices.org.

 

MCB VLP:  What is the best advice you've received during your legal career?

Tell the truth. Clients respect lawyers who do not make false claims or empty promises. The truth is sometimes hard to swallow, especially in criminal law, but it is much better than simply telling people what they want to hear.

 

MCB VLP:  What is the most challenging part of your career?

 The time commitment. I have a wonderful wife, and two precious children: a five year old daughter and a three year old son. I try to give to the community - I am on the Charlotte Symphony Board, I handle cases pro bono for the public defender's office and I volunteer at Teen Court - and I have a hectic billable schedule. Like everyone else, I wish there was more time in the day!

 

MCB VLP:  What is your favorite part of your current job? 

Working with people and becoming energized when I can help someone in trouble, so I am in the perfect line of work. Also, I thoroughly enjoy the people I work with, both at Hunton & Williams and the people I've met at Parker Poe.

 

MCB VLP:  Any other pertinent things you would like to share with the Mecklenburg County Bar and legal community? 

Get involved!  It is too easy as lawyers to be focused on our careers to the exclusion of those in need. We have been blessed with special skills. These skills are in great demand and people are willing to pay us handsomely for them. It is our obligation to take some time to share those skills with individuals and organizations that need them but may not have the resources to pay for them.


 

 

 
Tuesday July 22, 2014


 
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