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North Carolina Central University School of Law received the Law Students Pro Bono Service Award from the North Carolina Bar Association. Pictured left to right: Hugh Harris, Civil Litigation Clinic student; Pamela Stanback Glean, supervising attorney for the Family Law Clinic; Kevin Jones, Family Law Clinic student; and Grady Jessup, NCCU Clinic director and supervising attorney for Civil Litigation Clinic.

DURHAM, N.C. -- North Carolina Central University law students were recently awarded the North Carolina Bar Association's Law Students Pro Bono Service Award during the 105th NCBA Annual Meeting in Asheville. The award was presented by the NCBA in conjunction with the N.C. Pro Bono Project of the NCBA Foundation.

The award recognizes the accomplishments of NCCU's Civil Litigation Clinic and Family Law Clinic in their assistance to the Durham Office of Legal Aid of North Carolina. Since 1980, the Clinic students have provided more than 100,000 hours of services to the clients served by this office while practicing under the guidance of supervising attorneys, Pamela Stanback Glean and Grady Jessup.

"This is by far the most prestigious award that we can ever imagine receiving because it goes along with the mission of the law school - to represent the underserved," said Glean.

Each year, NCCU's third-year law students provide the Durham office of Legal Aid of North Carolina with an additional litigation unit, assisting clients in a wide range of cases that include child custody, divorces, name changes, wills and other estate issues, as well as income maintenance benefits and employment matters such as unemployment benefits, severance pay and wage claims.

The students involved in the award-winning clinics include: Melaniece Bardley of Gary, Indiana; Voneka Bennett of Woodbridge, Virginia; Trina Boone of Cerro Gordo, NC; C. Melody Cunningham of Clayton, NC; Lisa Ferrell of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania; Hugh Harris of Durham, NC; Kevin Jones of Columbia, Tennessee; Takeisha Redd of Winston-Salem, NC; Jennifer Rensing of Burlington, NC; and Tiffany Wilson of Monroe, NC.

Under the supervision of professors Glean and Jessup, NCCU law students interview clients and handle cases until completion. Even though they receive only two hours credit for the clinic, most of the students spend in excess of 25 hours providing free legal assistance on each of their cases. Annually, they handle numerous cases in several areas of substantive law in all of the counties served by the Durham office of Legal Aid of North Carolina.

In the Family Law Clinic, Professor Glean and her students conduct a clinic called, "File-It-Yourself." It provides the working poor of Durham and Wake counties with legal information and the necessary documents to file their own custody or visitation actions without spending a small fortune.

"The average retainer fee for a lawyer is about $5,000," said Glean. "A lot of folk can not afford that...I wouldn't want to pay that to a lawyer. So, we conduct these clinics to teach people how to represent themselves."

The students also provide their services through the Legal Aid office's Extended Hours Services Program. This program is particularly convenient for individuals who are unable to come into the office to be interviewed by an attorney during regular working hours.

The North Carolina Central University School of Law's Clinical Legal Education Program encompasses six clinics, including Civil Litigation, Family Law, Criminal Litigation, Juvenile Law, Alternate Dispute Resolution and Small Business Assistance.

It is the only institution to carry a part-time program between Atlanta, Georgia and Virginia Beach, Va. Founded in 1939, the law school continues to produce distinguished leaders in the legal field, including state legislators, U. S. attorneys, sitting judges and North Carolina's governor.

Published: Sunday, July 27, 2003
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