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Pro Bono Spotlight: Appellate Pro Bono Program

By Kaitlyn Fudge 

The Appellate Pro Bono Program is available to pro bono lawyers in North Carolina, in collaboration with the North Carolina Court of Appeals, the North Carolina Bar Association Appellate Practice Section, and the North Carolina Pro Bono Resource Center. This program matches pro bono attorneys to pro se litigants in cases before the North Carolina Court of Appeals or the North Carolina Supreme Court.

For pro se litigants to participate in the program, they must meet the following requirements:

  • The appeal involves one or more pro se litigants who would qualify for in forma pauperis status, as set out in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-288, regardless of whether the litigant has applied for in forma pauperis status;
  • The appeal presents at least one non-frivolous issue; and
  • The pro se litigant consents to be represented by a pro bono attorney and an attorney, chosen from a list maintained by the NCBA’s Appellate Practice Section, consents to represent the litigant free of charge.

This program is unique in that it provides both mentorship and advocacy volunteer opportunities. Attorneys in the program may request and receive a mentor to help guide the attorney, although the mentor is not appointed by the court nor expected to sign any filings. The program also gives attorneys an opportunity to write briefs and do oral arguments. For lawyers interested in getting involved with this program, they will need to attend a training and fill out an application.

To learn more about this program and hear about a specific case example, please read our March 6 Spotlight about Lorin Lapidus, who meaningfully engaged with this program. You can also visit the website to learn about participant requirements and other information, or you can send an email to [email protected].