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COVID-19 Legal Hotlines Provide Hands-On Advice In a Virtual World

This article originally appeared in the November 2020‭ ‬issue of North Carolina Lawyer‭ Magazine. ‬Read the complete article written by Russell Rawlings and view all NC Lawyer issues at‭ ‬‭.‬

Serving the public, as the mission statement of the North Carolina Bar Association proclaims, has never been more important than now. To that end, the North Carolina Bar Foundation assembled a volunteer workforce of lawyers, paralegals and law students to help North Carolinians navigate the legal uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building on the spirit and concept of the annual 4ALL Statewide Service Day, the North Carolina Bar Foundation created COVID-19 Virtual Legal Hotlines. Stretching from May to September, six hotlines were held targeting various areas of the state.

The hotlines were conducted in partnership with Legal Aid of North Carolina and relied on media partners who have supported 4ALL in the past. Television stations WLOS (Asheville), WFMY (Greensboro), WBTV (Charlotte), WRAL (Raleigh), WNCT (Greenville) and WECT (Wilmington) promoted the hotlines and shared the call-in numbers with their viewers.

The initial hotline, serving Western North Carolina, was also conducted in partnership with Pisgah Legal Services and the Buncombe County Bar. All total, 3,689 citizens were assisted by 233 attorneys and 97 paralegals and law students. In addition to Western N.C., the hotlines targeted the Triad, the Triangle, Eastern North Carolina and Charlotte, where two events were held.