Volunteer Lawyer Program
1508 S. York Road, Gastonia, NC 28052;
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,
Private Attorney Involvement (PAI) Coordinator in the
LANC-Gastonia Office, 704-865-2357.
Thank you to all the attorneys who volunteer to help our
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
[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
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.
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,
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
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
(Pictured above, l-r)
Shantel Boone; Laura Crawford; James R. Martin; Sonya C.
and Jeannette R. Reeves
[not pictured: Dennis Lorance; Geoffrey A. Planer]
Seven attorneys participating in the local
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
Jeannette R. Reeves (of
Teddy and Meekins in Shelby)
Sonya C. McGraw
and McGraw in
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
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
Gaston County VLP
honors 4 attorneys for service
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
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.
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are for information and educational purposes only and do not
constitute legal advice.
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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.
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.