At a special Pro Bono Honor Society dinner and recognition event on April 11, Wake Forest University School of Law student, Chris Salemme, 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 extraordinary pro bono service to the community.
An officer in the United States Army on an educational delay of active duty, Salemme is a third-year law student who provided more than 100 hours of pro bono service, including 75 hours to the Veterans Advocacy Legal Organization (VALOR). He dedicated additional pro bono hours to the Expungement Clinic, Mediation and Know Your Rights Project.
“On behalf of all our attorneys and staff, I express our utmost gratitude to Chris for his service to our country and the legal community,” said Gerald Roach, Smith Anderson Managing Partner and Vice Chairman of the Wake Forest University Board of Trustees.
Serving those who served is a cause close to Chris’ heart, and motivated him to join VALOR. “My work with VALOR and the Veterans Clinic has allowed me to reach out to the veteran community, North Carolina’s being one of the largest in the nation, to provide them with the information and resources necessary to fully exercise their rights under the law,” he said. Upon receiving his law degree, he will begin his active duty service obligation to the Army in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
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 (society members are law students who have 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 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 a demonstrated impact on increasing access to legal information to the underserved population.
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.