2010 - 11 Volunteer Lawyer Program

Pro Bono Awards


The Mecklenburg County Bar Volunteer Lawyer Program recognizes outstanding individuals and firms who have significantly contributed to our community through pro bono service. 


View past award recipients here



Hunton & Williams, LLP - Outstanding Large Firm

Hunton & Williams, LLP receives the Outstanding Large Firm award for its ongoing commitment to pro bono in Mecklenburg County.  In 2010, the Charlotte office contributed more than 2,400 hours to pro bono -- averaging about 82 pro bono hours per attorney.  They obtain these outstanding numbers through innovative programs relevant to the need in the comminity.  Examples include the Council for Chidlren's Rights Custody Advocacy Program and Legal Aid of North Carolina's SSI Disability Program. 


Hatcher Law Group - Outstanding Small Firm  

Hatcher Law Group is presented with the Outstanding Small Firm award for their commitment to assisting victims of domestic violence in Mecklenburg County.  This nine attorney firm has shown continued dedication to Victim's Assistance by taking one pro bono case per week since 2007 and contributing more than 175 hours this past year to these cases.  They also lead trainings on representing victims of domestic violence so other attorneys can assist this population as well as giving monthly family law seminars for women at the Mecklenburg County Women's Commission. 


William L Esser IV - Outstanding Individual Attorney

Will Esser was nominated by Legal Aid of North Carolina and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont for his decade-long affiliation with both organizations.  His work has spanned many areas including low-income clients in housing, wills, consumer and tax cases.  One of his most inspiring cases took eight years to complete and included filing a lawsuit against a landlord on behalf of his client which the landlord never paid.  They were forced to move out and subsequently, lost touch with Will.  Eventually, the landlord paid the final judgement.  Upon notification, Will began the tedious process of tracking down a lost client.  After just a few days he found her and was able to give her the check.  This is just one examples of his dedication -- when urgent cases are turned down due to firm conflicts, Will makes the effort to find another attorney to assist the client.  As Ken Schorr, Executive Director of Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and Ted Fillette, Senior Managing Attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina explained, "He exemplifies the spirit of pro bono service".  


Corey Rose, Dechert LLP- Legal Aid of North Carolina's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year

Corey Rose of Dechert LLP donated 325 pro bono hours in 2010 to Legal Aid of North Carolina's Landlord/Tenant project.  More than 150 of those hours were dedicated to a grandmother caring for her four grandchildren who moved into an apartment with numerous defects.  When the landlord filed for backrent and summary ejectment, Corey's client was awarded more than $7000 in damages.  Corey does not differentiate between his business clients and his pro bono clients, treating them "with the same professionalism and dignity" and "preparing each case as meticulously as he would a complex regulatory issue". 




Robert J. Hahn, Hunton & Williams, LLP - Legal Services of Southern Piedmont's Pro Bono Attorney of the Year

Bob Hahn of Hunton & Williams dedicated more than 275 pro bono service hours and closed 12 cases in 2010.  This number eclipsed the number of pro bono cases closed by any other volunteer for LSSP in 2010.  Bob's dedication to benefits cases is impressive -- he spent more than 60 hours on a case from which a previous attorney had withdrawn and was able to acquire benefits for a young boy with a severe form of sickle cell anemia.  As one client explained about Bob, he is a "good, good man and I thank God he is a good attorney too." 





Melissa D. Wright - Council for Children's Rights' Pro Bono Attorney of the Year

Melissa Davis Wright has provided great service to the Council for Children's Rights in the last year, but more importantly to two children ensnared in a very difficult custody case, in which both parents and both child experienced psychological problems of varying degrees of severity.  Melissa is thoroughly reliable in her dealings with the CFCR staff, the children, their parents and the court.  She spent in excess of 100 hours on behalf of these children -- a large contribution for any lawyer but particularly for a sole practitioner like Melissa. 





Jennifer Turner, Hedrick, Gardner, Kincheloe & Garofalo - 26th Judicial District SelfServe Center's The Honorable Jane V. Harper Pro Bono Award

Jennifer Turner is a dedicated member of the SelfServe Center's Attorney for the Day Program.  She has selflessly given the program more than 30 hours of service from March 2010 through March 2011 -- the most of any attorney in that time period.  These hours include the Attorney for the Day Program and Supervising Custory/Divorce Clinics at the Charlotte School of Law.  Jennifer treats each litigant with respect and values their individual situation.  Over the past year she has received excellent ratings on all of the evaluations provided by litigants of the Attorney for the Day Program, the litigants also expressed how helpful she was during the consultation. 







View past award recipients here