In addition to providing quality legal services to clients and financial support to various charitable causes, Moore & Van Allen is committed to charitable, bar, civic and pro bono service. We believe the legal community is uniquely poised to serve the underprivileged. Our attorneys and staff feel compelled to uphold our Firm founders’ tradition and legacy of service and corporate social responsibility. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to share ideas and collaborate with our community partners, as we believe such partnership will cultivate the greatest possible impact.
Our philosophy of inclusiveness is reflected in our extensive and diverse civic leadership and volunteerism. MVA attorneys and staff contribute financially, serve on boards, and work for more than 300 organizations across the Carolinas. Furthermore, our attorneys participate and serve in leadership, governance, and educational positions with the American Bar Association and state bar groups, as well as in other professional and legal organizations, helping to advance legal ethics, knowledge, and professionalism.
MVA’s Public Service Committee, established in 2001, leads the Firm’s public service and pro bono efforts by identifying, coordinating, and facilitating opportunities for MVA attorneys and staff. To better focus its efforts, the committee developed a series of internal public service and pro bono projects to maximize case intake and volunteer engagement. Each project is managed by a volunteer project leader who coordinates efforts with the Firm’s community partner organizations. To learn more about the Firm’s community initiatives, contact Manager of Community and Diversity Initiatives Stephanie Gryder or Public Service Committee Chairman Brian Heslin.
See below for a listing of the Firm’s pro bono and public service programs hosted by the MVA Public Service Committee.
MVA PRO BONO Programs
Domestic Violence Project with Safe Alliance - Contact: Mindy Vervais
The Domestic Violence project works in conjunction with Safe Alliance’s Legal Representation Project to provide pro bono services to families affected by domestic violence. The project empowers victims of domestic violence who could not otherwise afford an attorney to advocate for their rights.
The Housing Rights Project with Legal Aid of North Carolina enables attorney volunteers to help tenants in the Charlotte community avoid homelessness and secure safe and habitable homes.
Mecklenburg County SelfServe Center - Contact: Kimberly Zirkle
MVA attorneys partner with Mecklenburg County’s Judicial Pro Se Project’s SelfServe Center to provide legal help to members of the local low income community who represent themselves in divorce and custody matters because they cannot afford to hire an attorney.
Wills Project with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont - Contact: Lauren Biek
The Wills Project is a partnership with Legal Aid of Southern Piedmont (LSSP) that assists elderly residents of Mecklenburg County with estate planning services.
Legal Services provided to Habitat for Humanity - Contact: Luis Lluberas
MVA supports the Habitat for Humanity organization by providing pro bono legal advice in connection with the resolution of delinquent loans so that Habitat can continue to invest in the Charlotte community.
Veteran’s Advocacy Project - Contact: Larry Gwaltney
MVA attorneys partner with Legal Aid of Southern Piedmont, the Mecklenburg County Bar, and the National Veterans Legal Services Program to provide legal services to and advocacy for U.S. Veterans.
Human Trafficking Pro Bono Program - Contact: Sarah Byrne
Through partnership with service-providers and law enforcement, MVA offers victims of human trafficking comprehensive legal services. Areas of assistance include victim-witness advocacy, researching criminal records for expunction eligibility, and other civil law matters including custody and name change petitions. The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Project also facilitates interagency collaboration and community trainings on victim support.
Queen City Forward - Contact: Brian Heslin
MVA lends pro bono support to non-profit and for-profit entities engaged in Queen City Forward’s high impact accelerator program. The project is designed to deliver needed corporate related legal services to organizations dedicated to encouraging positive social change within Charlotte communities.
CLT Joules - Contact: Patrick Horne
MVA provides intellectual property and corporate pro bono support to start-up energy companies affiliated with CLT Joules. Together, MVA and CLT Joules promote energy innovation and start-ups among the entrepreneurial community in Charlotte.
MVA PUBLIC SERVICE Programs
Devonshire Reading Program - Contact: Jared Poplin
The Devonshire Reading Program provides MVA volunteers the opportunity to read to Devonshire Elementary School’s third grade students on a weekly basis.
Devonshire Backpack Program - Contact: Jared Poplin
The MVA–funded Devonshire Backpack Program provides underprivileged Devonshire Elementary students with backpacks full of nutritious, child-friendly food when resources such as school lunches and after-school meals or snacks are not available.
Citizen Schools Mock Trial Program - Contact: John Gilson
Citizen Schools Mock Trial Program allows students to spend three months working with MVA lawyers developing critical thinking skills, practicing public speaking, expanding their knowledge of the law and building meaningful relationships with the attorneys. Each program culminates in mock trial at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
Box Top and Coke Rewards Programs - Contact: Tracie Solarte
The Box Top and Coke Rewards programs provide Devonshire Elementary with financial support by collecting Box Top tabs and Coke bottle caps.
Safe Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter - Contact: Lynn Howell Davis
MVA attorneys and staff provide hands-on assistance to families in need at the Ethel and Clyde Dickson Shelter. From food preparation to child care, our volunteers help maintain a safe and stable home for shelter clients.
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation - Contact: Bill White
Moore & Van Allen has established an ongoing relationship with the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation (CRF) – an organization dedicated to managing, conserving and preserving the Catawba River. MVA lends corporate support to CRF and continues to apply resources to improve the water quantity, quality, and security within the Charlotte-metro region.
UrbanPromise - Contact: Stephanie Gryder
UrbanPromise’s mission is to develop youth into leaders who will advance social, economic, and spiritual revitalization in Charlotte. UP reaches elementary school students through after-school and summer programs, and raises high school leaders – “StreetLeaders” – who are employed as mentors in these programs. MVA’s partnership with UP invites volunteers to serve as StreetLeader mentors.
COMMUNITY AWARDS & NOTEWORTHY RECOGNITION
Moore & Van Allen received the 2015 Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award from Legal Aid of N.C.-Charlotte for its housing rights project. Attorney John Fagg of the firm’s litigation team was recognized for his leadership in the project and received Legal Aid’s Individual Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award.
- Corporate Member Hal Levinson received the 2015 Citizen Lawyer Award presented by the North Carolina Bar Association for his dedication to serving the community and the legal profession.
- The Junior League of Charlotte honored MVA with the 2015 Outstanding Community Partner Award for its efforts related to supporting victims of human trafficking.
- Moore & Van Allen earned the title of Large Firm division winner for the third year in a row for the 2015 Legal Feeding Frenzy, hosted by the North Carolina State Bar, NC General Attorney’s Office, and the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks. MVA raised over 60,000 pounds of food for food-insecure communities.
- Litigation Member Mindy Vervais and Litigation Associates Kara Bitar and Kim Cochran received Safe Alliance’s 2015 Commitment to Justice Award for their pro bono service to domestic violence victims.
- Safe Alliance presented Moore & Van Allen with the 2015 Committed to Justice Award as its annual Barrister’s Ball event, recognizing the Firm’s long-standing dedication to supporting victims of domestic violence.
- Litigation Member George Hanna was presented with the Mecklenburg Bar Foundation’s 2014-2015 Ayscue Professionalism Award for his exemplary professionalism.
- Conflicts Counsel Sarah Byrne was named a North Carolina Lawyers Weekly 2014 Women of Justice Pro Bono Award honoree for her demonstrated leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice and accomplishment in improving the quality of justice and exemplifying the highest ideals of the legal profession.
- The North Carolina Bar Association, in conjunction with the Citizen Lawyer Committee, announced Litigation Member George Hanna as a 2014 recipient of the Citizen Lawyer Award for his exemplary public service.
- The North Carolina Bar Association Pro Bono Activities Committee selected Financial Services Counsel Kimberly Zirkle as the 2014 recipient of the William L. Thorp Pro Bono Service Award. The award is presented annually to an attorney who has provided exemplary legal services without a fee.