On April 4, 2008, eighteen Smith Anderson lawyers fielded phone calls and answered questions from North Carolinians as part of the North Carolina Bar Association's (NCBA's) statewide Public Service Day. Early indications are that more than 500 volunteer lawyers located at eight different call centers across North Carolina served almost 7,500 callers.
The Public Service Day was the flagship project in a year of NCBA '4ALL' activities designed to highlight and address systemic problems relating to the provision of legal services to North Carolina's underprivileged. Other '4ALL' projects include a fundraising effort for Legal Aid of North Carolina that has raised over $500,000 to date. '4ALL' is the centerpiece initiative of NCBA President Janet Ward Black's presidential year.
Smith Anderson's significant participation in the Public Service Day included the contributions of partners Martin Brinkley and Caryn McNeill, who serve as co-chairs of the NCBA's 4ALL Task Force and oversaw organization of the project. Many other Smith Anderson lawyers volunteered to answer phones, including Rose Kenyon, chair of Smith Anderson's pro bono committee, and Jim Dorsett, a past President of the North Carolina State Bar. Other Smith Anderson volunteers were Mitch Armbruster, Dave Clement, Robby Desmond, Stillman Hanson, Travis Hockaday, John Jo, Brian Meacham, Courtney Mischen, Jackson Moore, Nikole Mariencheck, Matt Rhoad, Andrea Short, Dana Simpson and Chris Smith. Corporate paralegal, Jeff Kennedy, also volunteered.
"For 96 years, our firm has fostered a culture of public service, and as evidenced by our law firm's participation, we take seriously our professional obligation to provide pro bono legal services to the indigent," said Mr. Brinkley. "The project itself was a huge success," added Ms. McNeill. "The lawyers seemed to have a lot of fun and the callers repeatedly expressed their gratitude for the service."