Robinson Bradshaw has long recognized a civic and professional responsibility to address the unmet legal needs of the indigent and disadvantaged population. We provide pro bono services to individuals and organizations that assist this underserved population, including matters referred by Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc., Legal Services for the Elderly, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and the Council for Children’s Rights.
Lawyers at the firm also provide pro bono assistance to nonprofit charitable organizations in the community. Services include corporate organization, financing, real estate acquisitions and other business transactions. Additionally, the firm performs pro bono criminal work, particularly in the areas of appointed criminal appeals and post-conviction capital representation.
Select pro bono experience includes:
- Robinson Bradshaw submitted an amicus brief pro bono to the North Carolina Supreme Court in a decision that awarded same-sex domestic violence victims the same protections as victims in opposite-sex relationships. The firm’s brief was filed on behalf of Legal Aid of North Carolina, the North Carolina Justice Center and the Pauli Murray LGBTQ+ Bar Association in support of the victim.
- A 15-person team represented the plaintiffs pro bono in a successful challenge to North Carolina’s redistricting plan. The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that congressional and state legislative maps violated the state constitution and ordered the maps to be redrawn.
- Robinson Bradshaw partnered with another local law firm to spearhead the creation of the Charlotte Legal Initiative to Mobilize Businesses (CLIMB). The program’s volunteer attorneys provide pro bono business law services to low-income entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Charlotte area, with a focus on small businesses whose ownership consists primarily of people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, veterans or people with disabilities. CLIMB seeks to (1) assist clients in building and sustaining thriving businesses, (2) support commercial activity in historically under-resourced communities in the Charlotte area, and (3) foster economic mobility and opportunity, which are essential components to racial and social justice.
- The firm represented the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy in the acquisition of its new home. The complex transaction included the drafting and negotiation of reciprocal and access easements so that the property could be used for CCLA’s legal services. This non-traditional pro bono project ensured that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community has equal access to justice and civil legal aid.
- A team of Robinson Bradshaw attorneys successfully litigated the reopening of the deadline for low-income families to apply for Extra Credit Grants, $335 in COVID-19 relief aid meant for parents to offset costs of childcare or remote learning. The firm and its community partners also facilitated the second application process. As a result, nearly 25,000 low-income parents applied for the aid in the second window, and more than $5 million in relief aid was distributed to North Carolina families that needed it the most.
- A team of Robinson Bradshaw attorneys represented the tenants at Lake Arbor Apartments, an affordable housing community, to bring a suit against the complex’s owners after they illegally collected rent from the tenants while maintaining squalid conditions that violated city code. The firm reached a settlement with the owners, securing $547,000 in funds that were distributed among more than 100 tenants.
- Robinson Bradshaw filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in two cases concerning important issues of constitutional law. Robinson Bradshaw and another firm represented the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in the cases concerning the federal constitutionality of North Carolina’s redistricting plan.
- The firm was involved in the creation of the Children and Family Services Center in uptown Charlotte. Robinson Bradshaw attorneys handled all the legal work for this Center, from incorporation to leasing to loans. The Center has become a national model for the effective delivery of services to urban poor families and children.
- Robinson Bradshaw is a part of Charlotte Triage, a task force of law firms and companies designed to address a wide range of unmet civil legal needs in the community, including evictions; criminal record expunctions, which can make it hard to find work; and assistance with health insurance enrollment. The goal of the project is to help Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina fill gaps in services due to limited resources.
- The firm served as lead counsel in Hyatt v. Shalala, a class action for North Carolina's disabled citizens. In partnership with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, the firm prosecuted the case through its 20-year run in the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. As a result, approximately 150,000 North Carolinians won new disability hearings under new standards, and the Social Security Administration revised a national regulation on disability. The firm devoted more than 4,500 hours to this case and donated attorneys' fees exceeding $450,000 to the Volunteer Lawyers Project and the Mecklenburg County Bar Foundation. For our advocacy in Hyatt, Robinson Bradshaw was the first law firm in the nation to receive the American Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award.
Awards & Recognition
- The American Bar Association's Pro Bono Publico Award in 1984
- The North Carolina Bar Association's Law Firm Pro Bono Award in 2010 and 2021
- The North Carolina Justice Center’s Defenders of Justice Award in 2021
- Outstanding Firm Pro Bono Service Awards from Legal Aid of North Carolina and Council for Children's Rights
- Sixteen Robinson Bradshaw attorneys are members of the 2020 North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, an initiative of the N.C. Pro Bono Resource Center. Members each reported at least 50 legal service hours provided to pro bono clients last year, an aspirational threshold set by the state's Rules for Professional Conduct.
- Fitz Barringer received the Outstanding Individual Attorney Award in 2020 as part of the Mecklenburg County Bar Pro Bono Awards.
- Brent Torstrick was the 2019 recipient of the William Thorp Pro Bono Service Award given by the North Carolina Bar Association.
- Julian Wright and Jason Wright received the Outstanding Individual Pro Bono Service Award from Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte in 2018.
- John Wester received the Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award in 2016 from Legal Aid of North Carolina, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont and Council for Children's Rights.
- Will Packard was named the Mecklenburg County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year in 2009.
- May 17, 2022
- April 29, 2022
- March 11, 2022
- October 4, 2021
- September 2, 2021
- June 21, 2021
- May 11, 2021
- April 5, 2021
- March 18, 2021
- March 15, 2021
- February 3, 2021
- May 26, 2020
- May 20, 2020
- May 5, 2020
- October 23, 2019
- May 8, 2019
- April 23, 2019
- April 11, 2019
- March 27, 2019
- October 24, 2018
- August 31, 2018
- May 7, 2018
- February 26, 2018
- October 25, 2017
- May 31, 2017
- November 2, 2016
- October 27, 2016
- November 12, 2012
- May 24, 2010
- April 30, 2009
- June 5, 2006