Raleigh, N.C. – At a special Pro Bono Honor Society dinner on April 13, Wake Forest University School of Law student Kelly Austin was presented with the Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service. The award is presented annually to a Wake Forest University law student in recognition of outstanding pro bono service to the community.
The criteria for the Smith Anderson Pro Bono Award for Exceptional Service are as follows:
- That the recipient is a Pro Bono Honor Society member (law students who provide 75 hours of pro bono service over a three-year period or 50 hours in one year);
- That the recipient has 100 or more pro bono service hours within three years or 75 hours or more within one year; and
- That the recipient exhibits passion, creativity, dedication and commitment to serving those in need. The pro bono service must have resulted in a demonstrated impact on increasing access to legal information to the underserved population.
Austin is a third-year law student who provided more than 114 hours of pro bono service, including 105 hours of Guardian ad Litem service advocating for children. Her pro bono hours also included time with Teen Court and Reclaiming Futures.
As a law student engaged in pro bono services within the community, Austin was able to learn a lot about how to become an effective lawyer. “I was standing up in front of a judge in my first year, making recommendations, which was nothing like anything I was getting in my first year classes,” she said. “This was real practical experience — not just looking at a textbook.”
“On behalf of all our attorneys and staff, I commend Kelly for her service and congratulate her on winning this award,” said Gerald Roach, Smith Anderson managing partner and vice chair of the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees.
In 2015, thanks to the financial generosity of Smith Anderson and many of its attorneys, the Law School was able to open the Smith Anderson Office of Community Outreach, which houses the Law School’s Pro Bono Project and Public Interest Law Organization.
For more information about Wake Forest University School of Law, visit law.wfu.edu.
About Smith Anderson
Founded in 1912, Smith Anderson has grown to become the largest business and litigation law firm headquartered in the world-renowned Research Triangle region and one of the largest in North Carolina. We provide a full range of legal services to a diverse and dynamic group of regional, national and international companies. Over 100 years of practicing law has grounded our Firm’s culture, informed our perspective, and provided us the insight necessary to help our clients succeed. Over time, our core principles have remained unchanged. We remain personally dedicated to the success, prosperity and betterment of our clients and the communities we serve.