Charlotte Legal Initiative to Mobilize Businesses (CLIMB) to Receive NCBA Pro Bono Award
Moore & Van Allen PLLC (MVA) and Robinson Bradshaw are pleased to announce that Charlotte Legal Initiative to Mobilize Businesses (CLIMB) is the recipient of the North Carolina Bar Association’s 2023 Filling the Justice Gap Award. Part of the 2023 NCBA Pro Bono Awards, the award recognizes "an attorney, law firm or organization making innovative strides with providing legal services to close the legal services gap in North Carolina."
CLIMB provides pro bono business law services to historically under-represented entrepreneurs and small business owners of limited means through a network of volunteer lawyers from Charlotte law firms. CLIMB prioritizes service for people of color, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, veterans or people with disabilities. In its initial 18-month pilot program, CLIMB volunteer lawyers provided nearly 1,000 hours of direct pro bono services to 54 clients.
CLIMB was conceived in the wake of George Floyd’s death in the summer of 2020 as an effort to foster economic mobility and, ultimately, social justice in the Charlotte community by expanding access to the legal system in the area of business law. A working group of Robinson Bradshaw and Moore & Van Allen attorneys and professional staff collaborated to launch CLIMB in the summer of 2021 with significant partnership and support from the Charlotte offices of McGuireWoods and Bradley.
“This recognition from the NCBA Pro Bono Awards is a testament to the outstanding work and contributions to CLIMB from our many partners and supporters,” said Tom Mitchell, Moore & Van Allen’s managing partner and chair of the firm’s Management Committee. “The law firms and lawyers participating in CLIMB are highly motivated and committed to helping and serving our friends and neighbors in our communities who cannot afford access to the legal system on their own.”
“As lawyers, we are committed to helping those who need it, and CLIMB is one way for us to tackle the issues of race and equity in the Charlotte area. We hope the success of CLIMB in turn drives economic development and mobility in under-resourced areas in our community,” said Robinson Bradshaw Managing Partner Allen Robertson.
CLIMB has grown its network of volunteer lawyers and is now supported by the Charlotte offices of 10 law firms. In addition to Bradley, McGuireWoods, Moore & Van Allen, and Robinson Bradshaw, Alston & Bird, Cadwalader, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Mayer Brown, Parker Poe and Troutman Pepper have committed volunteers and financial support to CLIMB. CLIMB also continues to expand its network referral partners within Charlotte’s entrepreneurial support ecosystem. CLIMB was formed as a nonprofit corporation in late 2022 and will soon hire its first executive director.