Christian Legal Society Receives UNC Public Service Award for Helping Refugees and Immigrants

April 3, 2019
Members of the UNC Christian Legal Society, from left: Jonathan Dickerson 1L, Alex Rutgers 2L, Taylor Carrere 3L, Pam Keenan (volunteer attorney Chair of Board of Directors with Apex Immigration Services), Laura Medlin 2L, Kendall Thielemann 2L, Matt Lancaster 2L, and David Brown (President of Apex Immigration Services). Photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recognized the Christian Legal Society for the organization’s work to provide pro bono legal assistance to refugees and immigrants. CLS President Kendall Thielemann 2L and Pro Bono/Service Director Laura Medlin 2L accepted the award during an April 1 Public Service Awards celebration hosted by the Carolina Center for Public Service. Nine individuals and two organizations received awards for projects including disaster preparedness trainings and a performance program for children with autism.

“Christian Legal Society’s work encapsulates the nature of pro bono service as an ongoing commitment beyond one’s day-to-day job,” says Allison Standard ’09, director of pro bono initiatives at UNC School of Law. “Even though most of the Christian Legal Society students are not planning for careers as immigration law attorneys, they identified a need, developed trainings, and learned to use their legal skills to help some of our most vulnerable neighbors.”

The Christian Legal Society, a student organization within UNC School of Law, was one of five recipients of the Robert E. Bryan Public Service Award, which recognizes students, staff and faculty for exemplary public service efforts. The group was recognized for its work to provide legal assistance to refugees and immigrants in partnership with Apex Immigration Services and supervising attorneys. Since April 2018, the Christian Legal Society has done three projects under the supervision of practicing attorneys: drafting humanitarian parole applications for children and teenagers who came to the United States under the Central American Minors program, assisting Burmese and Karen refugees who suffered severe trauma from Burmese militia groups and organizing a clinic to assist clients with renewing their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, in partnership with El Refugio, a Latino resource center in Sanford, N.C.

Learn more about the center and the awards at

-April 3, 2019