Spring Break with a Purpose: Carolina Law’s Collaboration with Safe Alliance

April 25, 2024

Over spring break, UNC School of Law students had the opportunity to make a meaningful impact through a pro bono trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. Meghan Moran, director of pro bono initiatives at Carolina Law, led the trip along with Kaitlyn Parker, senior director of student engagement. The group of eight students partnered with Safe Alliance, the domestic violence agency in Mecklenburg County, to assist with their Victim Assistance Court Program.

Safe Alliance’s program provides both non-legal assistance and legal support to domestic violence survivors. While advocates offer extra support and help with safety planning, the program’s four attorneys focus on helping clients file paperwork for domestic violence protective orders and representing as many people as possible throughout the process.

Students in the Safe Alliance conference room

The Carolina Law students played a crucial role in the initial stages of this process. After clients filled out information about their experiences in the initial paperwork, the students reviewed the complaints to ensure they were legally sufficient and well-organized before entering them into the county’s e-filing system. Moran explained, “Our law students applied their writing skills to make sure the complaints were well-structured and concise when presented to the judge, while still capturing the person’s experience in their own words.”

On the second day of the trip, students had the opportunity to witness the impact of their work firsthand. After helping a client tweak her complaint in the morning, they attended her emergency order hearing in the afternoon. Moran described this as a “full circle moment” for the students, allowing them to see the first stage of the process completed for that client.

This trip marked the first collaboration between Safe Alliance and Carolina Law, and Moran hopes to continue building on this partnership. The experience was particularly meaningful for Moran, who interned with Safe Alliance during her 2L summer and whose sister now works there as a therapist. “It just so happened that this was the project the students wanted to do, and Safe Alliance had availability. It was really cool for me personally, given my history with Safe Alliance.” Moran shared.

In addition to the pro bono work, the Office of Advancement organized an alumni event for the students during their stay in Charlotte, where the group enjoyed an evening of indoor mini-golf at Puttery Charlotte, great food, and conversation with alumni after their first day.

Students enjoying the alumni event at Puttery

The spring break pro bono trip to Safe Alliance exemplified Carolina Law’s dedication to offering students meaningful opportunities to positively impact the lives of others while acquiring invaluable practical experience. By applying their skills and knowledge, the students not only refined their legal writing abilities but also saw firsthand the direct influence of their work on domestic violence survivors seeking legal support.