Volunteer Lawyer Program
 LANC-Gastonia Office
 1508 S. York Road, Gastonia, NC 28052; 704-865-2357

Attorneys participating in the VLP (Volunteer Lawyer Program) agree to represent clients who have been screened for financial eligibility and type of case by the local Legal Aid office for no fee.  The main types of cases coming through the program currently are unemployment benefits appeals cases, custody cases, and help with wills, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives.  To volunteer, contact our Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) Coordinator in the LANC-Gastonia Office, 704-865-2357.

Thank you to all the attorneys who volunteer to help our clients!


Gaston County Volunteer Lawyers Recognized for Service in 2009!!!

(Pictured above, l-r)
Front Row in the picture, John Russell, Shantel Boone, Jerry Liska.
Back row: Sonya McGraw and Dolph Sumner.
[Not present for the picture: Mark Warshawsky; and from Mullen Holland Cooper, James Martin, Mark Heavner, Jason Shoemaker, Jennifer Philbeck, Elizabeth Sumner, Lee Peindl, and Nancy Paschall]

     Three Gaston County lawyers and one Gaston County law firm were recognized for the legal services they provided to the indigent through their local Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) at the Gaston County Bar meeting on Wednesday, March 17, 2010.
Shantel Boone and the law firm of Mullen Holland Cooper (MHC) were presented with the Volunteer Lawyers Program's Distinguished Service Awards.   Boone, an associate at MHC, led the group with over 50 hours of service to indigent clients.  The firm as a whole provided over 150 hours of service to VLP clients, mainly in the areas of unemployment benefits, wills and advanced directives, and family law cases.
Sonya C. McGraw, previously with the law firm of Ferguson and McGraw, and Mark Warshawsky, a solo practitioner, were presented with VLP Service Awards. Both attorneys provided legal services in difficult, prolonged custody cases.  McGraw, now attorney for the Gaston County School Board, received VLP service awards in the past, while this was Warshawsky's first recognition for outstanding service in the pro bono area.
     The awards were presented by long-time coordinator for the Gaston County VLP, Becki Lowder.
     Long known for its commitment to serving a large poverty population, the Gaston County Bar again provided a high number of hours in the areas of family law, as well as helping with a significantly growing number of unemployment benefits cases.  The increase in unemployment benefits cases is easily explained by noting Gaston County's extremely high incidence of job losses in the past two years.  The unemployment percentage number topped 13-14% during the past year and was one of the highest in North Carolina.
     Other areas served by the Gaston County VLP include wills and related documents, tax matters, and consumer cases.  Financial eligibility and case merit are considerations for client entry into the program. 
     The Gaston County VLP is a part of the local
Legal Aid of North Carolina-Gastonia Office.


Gaston County VLP honors 7 attorneys for service
in 2008!!!

(Pictured above, l-r)
Shantel Boone; Laura Crawford; James R. Martin; Sonya C. McGraw;
 and Jeannette R. Reeves
[not pictured:  Dennis Lorance; Geoffrey A. Planer]

   Seven attorneys participating in the local Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) affiliated with the Legal Aid of North Carolina-Gastonia Office received outstanding service awards at their local bar meetings in Shelby on March 31 and in Gastonia on April 1. The awards were presented by VLP Coordinator , Becki Lowder.
   Jeannette R. Reeves (of Teddy and Meekins in Shelby) and Sonya C. McGraw (of Ferguson and McGraw in Gastonia) received the VLP Distinguished Service Awards.  Both attorneys provided more than 50 hours of service to their VLP clients during 2008, with Ms. Reeves providing the greatest number of attorney hours to clients in the three county service area of Gaston, Cleveland, and Lincoln counties. Both Reeves and McGraw have received VLP service awards in the past and continue to provide outstanding legal assistance to the pro bono clients routed to them through the VLP.
   James R. Martin
(of Mullen Holland Cooper), R. Dennis Lorance (of Katzenstein and Lorance), Shantel Boone of (Mullen Holland Cooper), and Laura Crawford and Geoffrey A. Planer, both solo practitioners, received VLP Service Awards.  All the recipients received awards in past years for their participation in the local program and their outstanding contributions to individual clients.
   The total contribution made by the group of award recipients exceeded 290 attorney hours, equaling a monetary contribution of approximately $58,000.
Attorneys participating in the VLP agree to represent clients who have been screened for financial eligibility and type of case by the local Legal Aid office for no fee. The main types of cases coming through the program currently are unemployment benefits appeals cases, custody cases, and help with wills, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives.



Gaston County VLP honors 4 attorneys for service
in 2006!!!

Geoffrey A. Planer, Tara R. Sain, Laura Crawford, Michael K. Hodnett

   The Gaston County Volunteer Lawyers Program (VLP) honored four (4) attorneys for their 2006 pro bono case representations at the May meeting of the Gaston County Bar Association.   Tara R. Sain (Arthurs and Foltz); Laura Crawford (solo practitioner); and Michael K. Hodnett (Hodnett Law, PA) received VLP Service Awards. Each attorney provided a minimum of 50 hours of service to pro bono clients during 2006 in the family law area.  Geoffrey A. Planer (solo practitioner) was the recipient of the 2006 VLP Distinguished Service Award, having contributed over 130 hours to pro bono clients. [Planer also received the 2005 VLP Distinguished Service Award, logging over 100 hours of attorney work to clients during that year.] The majority of Mr. Planer’s work was in the bankruptcy area. 
    The Gaston County Bar Association has a long history of outstanding pro bono participation and contributions. It has twice received the NC Bar Association’s Chief Justice Award, as well as the American Bar Association’s prestigious Harrison Tweed Award. Individual attorneys have also been recognized at the national level for their pro bono contributions. The Gaston Bar has about 125 members who are eligible to perform pro bono work, with a high percentage of attorneys enlisting in the program.


Reeves earns Cleveland County VLP Service Award!!!

Jeannette Reeves received the prestigious 2006 Cleveland County Volunteer Lawyers Program Service (VLP) Award during the Cleveland County Bar’s regular meeting on Tuesday, March 27, 2007. Reeves, an attorney with the law firm Teddy and Meekins in Shelby, NC, provided individual client pro bono services, co-counseled strenuously with a Legal Aid attorney in a family law case, and served on the Local Advisory Council of Legal Aid of North Carolina-Gastonia Office for the three county area (Cleveland, Gaston, and Lincoln counties). “Jeannette sets the best example of attorneys who strive to provide access to the legal system for those who otherwise could not afford a lawyer”, said Becki Lowder, coordinator for the Cleveland County VLP. “Not only is she a good lawyer, Jeannette is kind, a good listener, and patient. These personal characteristics show in every area of her life; all of us are fortunate to know Jeannette.” Reeves is a graduate of the West Virginia School of Law and has worked with Teddy & Meekins since 2004. Reeves specializes in the areas of social security law, family law, and personal injury law.

Jeannette ReevesTeddy and Meekins
Shelby, NC




The materials contained on this website are for information and educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.  Also please note that Legal Aid of North Carolina does not provide legal assistance by E-mail. Contact your Legal Aid of North Carolina office or a private attorney if you need to speak to an attorney regarding your particular situation.
See our complete disclaimer.

Mission Statement

Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity.


Back  |  Top