Erik Zimmerman Receives NCBA's Thorp Pro Bono Service Award



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June 26, 2023

The North Carolina Bar Association selected Robinson Bradshaw attorney Erik R. Zimmerman as the recipient of the 2023 Thorp Pro Bono Service Award. The statewide honor recognizes an attorney who has provided ongoing, substantial legal services without charge to a client who could otherwise not afford counsel.

Since joining Robinson Bradshaw in 2015, Zimmerman has accomplished nearly 2,500 hours of pro bono service. He has volunteered through several organizations, including the appellate roster of the North Carolina Office of the Appellate Defender and the NC Appellate Pro Bono Program. Zimmerman is also a member of the Triangle Pro Bono Legal Council, an effort of the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission.

Several of Zimmerman’s recent pro bono efforts have centered on important constitutional questions, including a fight against partisan gerrymandering and the “independent state legislature” theory in federal elections. This matter has drawn national media attention.

Zimmerman also takes on pro bono matters that directly benefit his neighbors in need. He was central to an effort to broaden North Carolina’s distribution of COVID-19 relief aid payments to parents. As a result of Robinson Bradshaw’s lawsuit, the Department of Revenue reopened the application window, and nearly 25,000 low-income families originally excluded from the relief program were able to request aid. In addition, Zimmerman has represented a public-housing tenant in an eviction challenge that garnered a favorable ruling from the North Carolina Supreme Court, and a domestic-violence victim in a case about courts’ jurisdiction to grant protective orders.

At Robinson Bradshaw, Zimmerman guides clients through complex litigation and appeals, and he helps companies, universities and individuals navigate antitrust suits, class actions and other high-stakes disputes in courts across the country. He co-chairs the firm’s Appeals Practice Group.

Zimmerman earned his law degree with distinction from Stanford Law School as a member of Order of the Coif and his bachelor’s degree summa cum laude from Harvard University as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He served as a law clerk to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

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