This year, I took part with the Friday March 1st 4ALL NC Bar Association Service Day–”Making Justice For All A Reality.” As a community service to all North Carolinians, NC Attorneys volunteered their time to provide free legal information to statewide callers at eight call locations from Wilmington, Greensville, Greensboro, Asheville, Charlotte, Cary and the Triangle/Raleigh area. New this year was the Call Center in Winston-Salem, held at the Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC law firm–where I reported early in the morning.
The Calls started early in the morning. Our team of volunteer attorneys soon became overwhelmed with the legal needs of all callers–where can I get family law information involving child custody? How about my lease problems with my landlord? I need a divorce. Where can I find a good lawyer? What does Legal Aid do? How can I become a US Citizen? I plan to file for bankruptcy. Someone owes me money and how can I get it back?
Mid-day, we were informed that statewide, the NC Bar Association received at least 5000 calls from the public. And many callers were still calling and holding patiently.
While many members of the community make fun of the legal profession and disparage lawyers, making “lawyer jokes” and deeming lawyers as among the least respected members of society, the 4ALL NCBA Service Day reminds me of why I joined the legal profession–to serve others–and throughout the day–I was surrounded by my heroes–volunteer attorneys who took a day off work to do their best to help others with their legal inquiries, even for a few minutes. It continues to be “my finest hour.”–Prof. Lew