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Three law students named to the 2011-12 class of North Carolina Schweitzer Fellows

Three Wake Forest University School of Law students, Alexandra Ford (’12), Michael Grippaldi (’11), and Craig Principe (’12), have been selected for the 2011-2012 North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows program. They join 22 other North Carolina Fellows and approximately 250 U.S. Fellows selected across the country this year.

These Schweitzer Fellows partner with community-based organizations to identify an unmet health care need, design a year-long service project with a demonstrable impact on that need, and seek opportunities to make their work sustainable beyond their one-year contribution to the organization and the community. Fellows contribute at least two hundred hours of service for each project and the project can be developed by students working individually or in pairs.

The mission of the Schweitzer Fellows program is to “develop ‘leaders in service’: individuals who are dedicated and skilled in addressing the health needs of underserved communities in North Carolina and whose example influences and inspires others.”

Since 1994, more than 300 North Carolina Fellows have been following in Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s footsteps, putting their passion and idealism in action by providing health care support to underserved communities.

Ford and Principe are partnering on a project aimed at addressing health care disparities among children who are placed in Stokes County Department of Social Services (DSS) custody.  Through their sponsoring organizations, Guardian ad Litem (GAL) of Stokes County, they will serve as GALs for nine children from Stokes County.

Those nine children suffer from severe mental and physical disabilities and due to their medical conditions they have been placed in upper-level facilities and placements outside of Stokes County in seven different surrounding counties. Stokes does not have such placements or facilities and this geographical divide makes it difficult for the GAL Office in Stokes County to properly monitor the children’s medical treatments and to make accurate and insightful recommendations to the court about their placements and permanent care plans.

Through their project, Ford and Principe will visit with the children on a regular basis, talk with their doctors, families, and teachers about their conditions and treatments, and report to district court judges on a periodic basis to provide recommendations to the court and to advocate on behalf of the children’s needs and desires. They will seek to facilitate the effectiveness of the children’s treatments in the hopes of giving them a better chance of living the best quality of life possible, thus addressing both mental and physical wellness.

According to Principe, their project grew out of their past experiences serving as GALs and their desire to help children with mental and physical disabilities. Principe explained that “Alexandra and I both worked as GALs in Stokes County for the past year. Our experiences exposed us to the world of children suffering from parental neglect, abuse, and dependency.” He currently serves as the ABA Law Student Division’s Lt. Governor for Mental Health Initiatives for the ABA’s Fourth Circuit. Ford previously worked an inner city hospital and was President of the Habitat for Humanity Chapter at Northeastern University.

Principe further explained that “Some children who are placed outside the home have a more difficult time than others. Due to severe physical or emotional disabilities, they are placed outside of Stokes County, far away from family members or relatives, in placements or facilities that hopefully can meet their needs. Nevertheless, they are the most vulnerable and least likely to be adopted or to return home due to their disabilities.”

Ford added that “Our project came out of our desire to help these children and others like them in the future receive better care and advocacy through Stokes County GAL. GALs can help ensure that the mental and physical health needs of these children are properly being addressed.”

Grippaldi is one of Wake Forest University School of Law’s first joint-degree, JD/MA in Bioethics students. He will be completing both degrees during his fellowship year and his project grew out of his passion for both health care law and bioethics. His project addresses an important and unmet need in the Winston-Salem community for advance care planning. Such planning enables individuals to formulate and document their treatment preferences using health care powers of attorney, living wills, organ donor designations, and portable physician orders.

Some populations in the community are less likely to utilize such processes due to misunderstandings and apprehension. Grippaldi explained that his project, “involves overcoming barriers to educate marginalized and underrepresented populations in Winston-Salem.”

Grippaldi anticipates that “By shadowing Center Staff and hosting community outreach events at local clinics, medical centers, and churches, I can dispel myths and increase awareness of available options; I can start a dialogue about end-of-life care. These individuals may then continue the conversation with their families and health care professionals.”

His project seeks to “inspire trust between patients and their medical providers, giving them the confidence to have tough talks about their health care and long-term medical preferences. Hopefully, my project will give peace of mind not only to individuals, but to their families too.”

Ford, Grippaldi, and Principe are among twenty-five graduate students from North Carolina’s professional schools that have been selected as 2011-2012 North Carolina Albert Schweitzer Fellows.  Three students from Wake Forest University’s School of Medicine were also selected as Fellows. Schweitzer Fellows devote more than 3,400 hours of service to local communities lacking in access to adequate health services.

Dean Morant Sends Off 3L Pro Bono Board Members with Celebratory Dinner

1L Class Wins Pro Bono Competition . . . Will Celebrate with Deans at BBQ on Monday

Congratulations to the 1L class for winning the Pro Bono Class Competition!

The 1Ls participated in 475 hours of Pro Bono work this year!  The 1Ls will have a celebration  Barbecue Cookout in the courtyard with Dean Morant on Monday, April 18th at 5:30.  Little Richards will be supplying the BBQ.  Please come and celebrate all the work you did this past year.

Additionally, there were many students who completed over 25hours of Pro Bono work this semester, and who will be awarded for their service at the BBQ.  These students were:

Melissa Evett
Juanita Flonard
Rio Kidd
Will Peete
Daniel Skinner
Kristina Wolf
Katie Barber
Andi Dorfman
Kaitlyn Girard
Matt Hayes
Andrew Kisz
Erika Moses
Craig Principe
Beth Winters
Jessica Hollenbach
Ira Knight
Marc Langston
Michael Lennox
Jackie Willingham

Thanks to everyone for your work this year!

-Pro Bono Board-

American Indian Land Rights Symposium at “The Barn” in Reynolda Village Thurs. and Fri.

The Pro Bono Project is pleased to announce that it is co-sponsoring a two-day American Indian Land Rights and Religious Freedom Symposium that will begin tomorrow morning at 11 am at The Barn in Reynolda Village.

The symposium will bring together community advocates, scholars, and policy makers to review the current political realities of  Indigenous land rights, including trust land issues and environmental degradation, the legal instruments available for the protection of Indigenous land, including international law, and the practical consequences and implications of these laws for the sovereignty and well-being of Indigenous communities. The intended outcome is to develop working groups as needed, and to chart a course of action for the protection of Indigenous land rights.

All are welcome to attend, admission is free for students and faculty, food will be provided, and a shuttle will be available at the Benson Center on the undergraduate campus.  The departure/return schedule is as follows:

Thursday Departure from Benson Center: 10:45 am, 12:45 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:00 pm

Thursday Return from Barn: 12:15 pm, 2:45 pm, 5:15 pm

Friday Departure from Benson Center: 7:15 am, 8:45 am, 10:30 am, 1:15 pm

Friday Return from Barn: 8:30 am, 10:45 am, 12:30 pm, 3:45 pm

Alternatively, Symposium attendees can access The Barn on foot/bike by taking the short walking trail through the woods that connects Reynolda Village to the main campus behind the ZSR library and the new undergraduate admissions building.

April 12 at Noon – “A Conversation With Robert ‘Hoppy’ Elliot (JD ’77)”

The Pro Bono Project and the Conversations Committee are proud to announce a conversation with Robert “Hoppy” Elliot (JD ’77), Winston-Salem employment law attorney who has received numerous awards for his pro bono work.

Please join us Tuesday, April 12 at noon in 1312 (big courtroom). for a conversation between Professor Charley Rose and Mr. Elliot.  Lunch will be provided, but please bring your own drink.

Mr. Elliot does a substantial amount of pro bono work, and has been named Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year by both the Forsyth County Bar Association and the North Carolina Bar Association.  Among his most interesting pro bono cases, he has represented detainees at Guantanamo Bay, engaging Wake Forest law students to help with research in those cases.  He is also involved in many local community initiatives, such as the Crossing 52 Initiative to improve race relations in Winston-Salem.  He has served on the board and as general counsel for the ACLU of North Carolina.  In addition to this important work, Mr. Elliot has maintained a successful private practice in employment law as a plaintiff’s attorney.  He has received several awards for his private practice, including being named the top employment lawyer in NC in 2008 by Business North Carolina.

Mr. Elliot is also married to our own Professor and Dean Suzanne Reynolds.  I’m sure her former family law students will want to come and meet the famous Hoppy Elliot.

Professor Rose will also be having a dinner at his home with Mr. Elliot, Professor Reynolds, and several students on Monday, April 11. An email about the dinner lottery will be forthcoming.

The Dean Joins Deamon Deacons Dining to Support the Pro Bono Project

[Dean Morant with Owner Randy Ivie a Wake Grad]

The Red, Hot & Blue fundraiser was a success!  Students, faculty, and members of the community dined at Red, Hot & Blue at 613 Deacon Blvd., Winston-Salem, NC to support the Pro Bono Project. Thanks to our community partner:

Newspapers Cover Successful Spring Break Pro Bono Project at Pembroke

The Pro Bono Project successfully completed its Spring Break Project assisting Legal Aid of Pembroke in Pembroke, NC.  Wake’s Pembroke Legal Services Group has been sending students throughout the year to help out several hours a week.  During the Spring Break, additional students pitched in to work on some larger projects.  The project was covered in some local newspapers.

Read the Articles:

Fayetteville Observer

The Robesonian

Wake’s Pro Bono Project Welcomes New 1L Board Members

New Pro Bono Board Members

1L Kristina Wolf was selected as the new 1L Class Coordinator.  Kristina was raised in Cleveland, Ohio and attended the University of Virginia, majoring in Spanish and Foreign Affairs.  She has enjoyed working as a Guardian ad Litem and with Teen Court this past year.  As 1L Class Coordinator, she hopes to help establish more projects that students are interested in participating in, so that they develop a passion for giving back which will continue throughout their legal careers.

1L Ramie Shalabi was selected as the new Project Developer for the Pro Bono Project.  He was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science.  Ramie’s passion for public service was exemplified during his undergraduate career where he served as President of the Muslim Students Association and on Student Government’s Executive Cabinet.  He has presented research on higher education to several Congressmen as well as President Obama’s staff in Washington, D.C.  Ramie plans on pursuing a career in public service.

Kathryn Hatcher was raised in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina and graduated from Elon University in 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in vocal performance. As the new Organizational Advancement Coordinator, Kathryn is eager to put her experience with non-profits to good use by researching and writing grant proposals to sustain the Pro Bono Project. In her spare time, Kathryn studies voice with the Wake Forest Department of Music.

Wake Students Start New Chapter of Student Animal Legal Defense Fund


Group Becomes the 160th Law School Chapter Working to Promote Field of Animal Law under Auspices of the Non-Profit Animal Legal Defense Fund

For immediate release:

Fall 2010

Winston-Salem, North Carolina – Wake Forest University School of Law has partnered with the Animal Legal Defense Fund to create a student chapter of the national non-profit group, whose mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. With the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s support, Wake Law students will join the ranks of hundreds of other student chapter members nationwide, taking on projects such as: hosting speakers, debates, and panels, tabling on campus to raise awareness about animal issues; and volunteering to do pro bono legal research and writing for local law firms and animal welfare organizations. So far, the Wake Law SALDF chapter held its first organizational meeting with over 40 students joining the organization, sponsored an American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) guest speaker, and supported a puppy mill regulation ordinance in Guilford County.

Students interested in joining the Wake SALDF chapter should contact chapter president Kimberly Richards at

The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 with the unique mission of protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system. For more information, please visit

Friday 3/18 Fundraiser at Red, Hot, & Blue

The Red, Hot and Blue located on Deacon Boulevard has agreed to do a profit sharing night with the Pro Bono Project.  All we ask is that you eat at this Red, Hot and Blue on Friday, March 18th.  When you receive your bill, just mention the Pro Bono Project and the restaurant will donate a portion of the proceeds to our organization.
We hope to see you eating some BBQ the day after St. Patrick’s!