Wills for Schools
Alston & Bird partnered with Duke Energy and Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont to provide free wills, estate planning and powers of attorney for Charlotte Mecklenburg School (CMS) employees. "Wills for Schools" was a one-day event modeled after the "Wills for Heroes" program, a successful project that the North Carolina Bar has been running for several years that serves first responders—fire fighters, police and EMTs. Wills for Schools served people on the front lines of our public schools—teachers and school support staff.
“When we first discussed a pro bono project with Duke Energy, CMS was an easy choice,” says Brian Ellsworth, Alston & Bird partner and pro bono chair of the Charlotte office. “Our public schools are under tremendous pressure, and CMS employees are often asked to make do with extremely limited resources. Donating our time to help them is one small way of thanking them for their hard work and dedication.”
This event brought together approximately 79 volunteers from Alston & Bird, Duke Energy, Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Charlotte School of Law, and other local enterprises to prepare wills and other estate planning documents for local public school teachers and other school employees. The team completed wills and related estate planning documents for 80 very appreciative clients. The estimated value of pro bono services provided was more than $80,000.
The Guardianship Project
In the spring of 2010, United Parcel Service partnered with Alston & Bird and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society in establishing the Guardianship Project. This initiative works to obtain adult guardianships for individuals who are at the end stages of life. UPS and Alston & Bird represent relatives in probate court to get temporary or permanent custody guardianship orders for individuals who are no longer competent to make decisions about their care and other matters. The collaboration between UPS and Alston & Bird has also allowed Atlanta Legal Aid’s Health Law Unit to expand the scope of services available to the client population to include caregivers affected by the life-threatening illness of a loved one.
"The UPS Legal Department has a formal legal pro bono program and recognizes its commitment to pro bono service to those in our community that would not otherwise have access to such services. Our commitment to pro bono service has been enhanced by our collaboration with Alston & Bird on several pro bono projects. The firm not only shares our core value to give back to our communities, it does so with unparalleled zeal. The attorney-client relationship between A&B and UPS is strengthened each and every time we work together on pro bono activities." - Rick Rufolo, Vice President, Legal, UPS