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Service Contributions Celebrated at 12th Annual Public Service Luncheon

Firm recognizes philanthropy of attorneys, staff and community partner Piedmont Natural Gas
July 2013

Moore & Van Allen and Moore & Van Allen’s Public Service Committee honored select Firm attorneys, staff and community partner Piedmont Natural Gas at its 12th annual Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Luncheon in June.  Financial Services Associate and Public Service Committee Member Kimberly Zirkle received the hallmark 2013 Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Award for her commitment to public service in 2012.  Additionally, for the first time since Luncheon inception, MVA presented Outstanding Volunteer Staff Member, Outstanding Pro Bono Team Project and Outstanding Legal Department Partner awards to MVA Paralegal Tracie Solarte, the MVA Pro Bono Wills Project, and the legal department at Piedmont Natural Gas respectively.

This year’s Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Award, given internally annually to recognize one individual’s superior commitment to public service, was presented by Citibank Managing Director and Chief Regulatory Affairs Officer for US Consumer & Commercial Banking Ned Sergew.  The Award bears the name of two revered members of the Moore & Van Allen family, Sally and Bill Van Allen.  The Van Allens’ trail-blazing commitment to the good of the community continues to inspire Firm pro bono and public service efforts today.  

“We are grateful to the Van Allen family for their legacy of service.  I am honored to be a part of your tradition,” Zirkle stated upon accepting the award. 

Zirkle leads the Firm’s partnership with the Mecklenburg County Judicial Pro Se Project’s Self-Serve Center – a program that provides legal help to local low income residents who represent themselves in such areas as divorce and custody because they cannot afford to hire an attorney.  She uses her pro se consulting work as a springboard for taking on pro bono custody and other family law cases for low income Charlotte residents.  Zirkle also volunteers her time to guest lecture at area high schools, educating students on the topics of safe relationships and the dangers of dating violence. 

Zirkle encouraged Luncheon attendees to join in the mission to shrink the Firm’s pool of clients – pro bono clients that is.  “I am not suggesting a radical shift in our marketing strategy, so don’t panic,” Zirkle stated with a laugh.  “But can we imagine a day when the need for our pro bono services is decreased because our compassion and commitment to education has changed the course?”  Zirkle highlighted some of MVA’s existing public service projects supporting that effort, including the Safe Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter, MVA’s longstanding partnership with Citizen Schools and Devonshire Elementary School, and the Firm’s support of Thompson Child and Family Services.

“Each of us has been given opportunity and the skills to serve, and when we are all doing our part to stem the tide of poverty, abuse, neglect, and lack of education, I firmly believe the result will one day be fewer people in need of our pro bono services.”

Luncheon attendance was certainly not lacking individuals who already demonstrate extraordinary commitment to service.  Deborah Edwards accepted the inaugural Outstanding Legal Department Partner Award on behalf of the legal department at Piedmont Natural Gas, in recognition of its efforts to help eradicate hunger in the Charlotte community in partnership with MVA.  MVA Paralegal Tracie Solarte received the inaugural Outstanding Volunteer Staff Member Award for spearheading the Firm’s Box Tops for Education and Coke Rewards programs, which raise support directly for the teachers and students of Devonshire Elementary School.  MVA Financial Services Member and Wills Project Leader Rob Kenny accepted the inaugural Outstanding Pro Bono Team Project Award on behalf of the Wills Project team, for team members’ dedication assisting elderly Mecklenburg County residents with estate planning services.

The annual Luncheon celebrates the many hours of public service and pro bono that MVA attorneys, staff and community partners have donated during the year.  MVA Public Service Committee Chairman and Litigation Member Brian Heslin gave the opening and closing remarks at the luncheon, and provided a recap of the Firm’s 2012 pro bono and public service statistics, which are also detailed in the Public Service Committee’s 2013 Annual Report.  MVA Chairman Ernie Reigel introduced Urban Ministry Center Executive Director Dale Mullenix, the guest keynote speaker, who challenged attendees to identify their “deep gladness” and determine how it can be used to meet a human need.  

Zirkle’s Involvement & Accolades at a Glance:

  • Named the Sally & Bill Van Allen Public Service Award Winner, 2013
  • Named one of The Mecklenburg Times 50 Most Influential Women, 2010
  • Named a Charlotte Business Journal “40 Under 40” Award Winner, 2009
  • Received the Jane V. Harper Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award, 2009
  • Received a Business Leader Media and North Carolina Bar Association Pro Bono Award, 2008
  • North Carolina Bar Association Member
  • American Bar Association Member
  • Association for Corporate Growth, Charlotte Chapter Member
  • Moore & Van Allen Public Service Committee Member