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Pro Bono Spotlight: Salim Uqdah

Salim Uqdah is a dedicated volunteer who is focused on educating and providing his dispute resolution skills to the people of North Carolina. Salim is a North Carolina Certified paralegal, Arkfeld E-Discovery Specialist, and NCDRC Certified Mediator with an immense talent for bringing people to the table. Salim left the Mecklenburg Courthouse in June 2018 to find innovative ways to help people during the most difficult times in their lives. In 2018, Salim opened the doors of Uroboros Mediations, a dispute resolution company specializing in mediation, arbitration, and divorce coaching. He has served as a collaborative neutral facilitator, divorce coach, and securities arbitrator for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Salim serves as the Co-chair of the Pro Bono Committee of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Section and is an active member in the Race and Equity Committee and Paralegal Section.

In 2020, Salim co-created the Dispute Resolution Forum to assist tenants and landlords through the rental assistance application process. The program focuses on two initiatives. First, as a dispute resolution forum, the program brings landlords and tenants together to ratify an agreement on rental arrears and housing permanence and assists tenants experiencing issues applying for rental assistance on the online portals. The program collaborated with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Program (now known as “Dream Key Partners”) and the Crisis Assistance Ministry. Second, the program provides a Dispute Resolution Hotline to offer information to tenants and landlords about the benefits of the mediation process in the hopes of scheduling a mediation with a volunteer mediator to find unique resolutions.

Salim states, “The Hotline was a worthy cause because we were able to categorize the kind of assistance those litigants needed when specifically targeting the COVID-19 backlog in District Court Appeals and understand the outcomes for so many of those tenants and landlords.” The pilot program was implemented from September 2020 to February 2021.

“The lesson to take away is to make sure the efficacy of pro bono endeavors isn’t impaired by policy or administrative initiatives that aren’t meshing properly. As members of the legal community, we focus on analyzing the exact way to execute and plan and get bogged down by the minutia of how things are supposed to be that we forget about the human aspect. If we understand the many factors that impact the execution of the pro bono efforts than just the procedural and legal implications, then we can have a robust and productive action plan that leads to greater success.”

Salim has also dedicated his time to working with several other pro bono initiatives. He has collaborated with the NC Office of State Human Resources to volunteer his services for mediation. In 2020, he was the most utilized mediator by the state agency. Salim is also an active board member of two non-profit initiatives, including Playing For Others and Care Ring.

Salim continues to focus on educating and utilizing his skills to bring fairness to his clients and developing innovative ways to help the people of North Carolina.

“The imagination is the key for pro bono services and community service efforts. Practitioners, whether they are dispute resolution professionals, paralegals, or attorneys, should cherish their ideas and know that it’s one step away from being realized, it just has to be nurtured.”