The North Carolina Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division (NCBA YLD) is the 2022 winner of the American Bar Endowment’s (ABE) Outstanding Public Service Award for a “Know Your Rights” project that Smith Anderson attorneys Taylor Dewberry and Shameka Rolla created and led for the organization.
Taylor and Shameka made a presentation to the North Carolina State University football team about their rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, which pertain to searches by law enforcement and the right to remain silent. They gave an overview of how the amendments originated, what they mean and why they are hard to interpret. Using multi-platinum artist and record producer Jay Z’s “99 Problems” as a talking point, Shameka and Taylor reviewed real-life scenarios with the students, such as searches of homes and dorm rooms and police stops and what they can do to protect their rights during encounters with law enforcement. The players now have a better understanding of when to call a lawyer, when to remain silent and what to do if they think their rights have been violated.
The ABE supports vital research, educational and public service programs to the public and the legal profession, as well as projects that advance access to justice, improve the justice system and increase civic engagement.
Taylor is immediate past co-chair of the NCBA YLD Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a title Shameka now holds as of July 1. She serves as District 9 Representative for the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. Taylor, who also serves as the firm’s Chief Diversity Officer, focuses her practice on employment-related counseling and defending employers against claims involving discrimination, wrongful discharge, retaliation, harassment and civil rights claims. Shameka serves clients on a wide range of business disputes, including contract and business tort claims.