Ann Gibbs

Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism (CJCP) Grant

Awarded $4,000 for the period 1/1/08-12/31/08

Source: North Carolina State Bar

Funds support two integral professional development programs. The first,Conversation With, brings in role models to speak about their lives in the law with students in an interview format. Such luminaries as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Justice Rosalie Abella, the first female judge in Canada, and Oliver Hill, a famous civil rights lawyer from Richmond, Virginia, who played a key role in Brown v. Board of Education, have participated. All of the guests are selected for their stellar ethical standards and demonstrated professional values. The series is inspiring and leaves a lasting image of the ideal legal professional in the minds of our students. The First-Year Professionalism series consists of 6 programs, each focusing on a different aspect of professional growth. Esteemed members of the local NC Bar present many of these programs and serve as professional role models. Attendance is mandatory for all first-year students. The goal is to provide them with direct information about the ethical/professional standards and skills that are expected of lawyers.


Data Analysis and strategic planning for Forsyth HealthCare Access

Awarded $34,921 for the period 9/1/13 to 3/31/14

Source: Forsyth HealthCare, Inc.

WFU’s Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society is assisting Forsyth HealthCare, Inc., in developing “safety net” services for the uninsured following implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA). This nonprofit program links uninsured patients with family incomes less than 200% of the federal poverty level who are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare with volunteer doctors for primary and specialty care services in Forsyth, Davie, and Stokes counties. The center will review and analyze data to determine patient demographics, the number and type of patient visits, the general disease burden of patients seen, patient turnover, and the number and composition of the uninsured in the service area with and without Medicaid expansion under the ACA.

Kate Mewhinney, Legal Clinic

Health rights of LBGT patients

Awarded $2,500 for the period 7/1/15 to 6/30/16

Source: North Carolina Society of Health Care Attorneys

The Elder Law Clinic will contribute to outreach efforts to ensure the healthcare rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people. In collaboration with other community groups, it will offer educational events for providers on ethical and legal issues related to LGBT patient care; provide information about, and assistance with, advance directives at LGBT community events; and prepare educational materials on healthcare for older LGBT people.

Client Needs Fund

Awarded $2,000 for the period 7/1/07 to 6/30/08

Source: North Carolina Bar Association

Wake Forest’s Legal Clinic for the Elderly pays legal fees, such as power of attorney registration, for low-income elderly clients through the Client Needs Fund.

Robert Walsh

Professionalism Program

Awarded $7,000 for the period 9/7/06 to 9/6/07

Source: North Carolina State Bar

The program aims to expose law students to a variety of professional role models. Before orientation, entering students are required to read a book about an outstanding lawyer. During the first day of orientation week, groups of 8-10 students meet with faculty to discuss the book and the responsibilities that arise in the legal profession. Orientation also includes two other professionalism activities. First, students work on a pro bono project; for example, a Habitat for Humanity home. Second, a judge gives a brief address and administers a formal oath of professionalism.

Monthly seminars on ethical duties, pro bono obligations, civility, substance abuse, and quality of life begin with a general overview of the topic before breaking into groups of 10-12 for more intense discussion, led by lawyers and judges teamed with faculty.

All WFU law students are required to take a formal course in Professional Responsibility. Over half participate in one of two legal clinics before graduating: the Litigation Clinic, supervised by a full-time faculty member and selected local attorneys; and the Elder Law Clinic.

Extra-curricular activities include Chief Justice Joseph Branch Inn of Court. This group meets monthly for dinner and brings judges, lawyers, and approximately 50 students together to discuss professionalism. The “Conversation With…” series brings exemplary legal professionals to speak in a more informal way to the students. Recent visitors include Annie Brown Kennedy, one of the first black women to practice law in North Carolina; Judge Norman Veasey, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware and Chair of the ABA Ethics 2000 Commission; Robert Ehrlich, Governor of Maryland; and Rosalie Abella, one of the first women on the Court of Appeals in Canada.

In 1996, Wake Forest assisted in founding the Domestic Violence Advocacy Center (DVAC) in partnership with the local bar and Legal Aid of Northwest North Carolina. Students and lawyers volunteer to represent victims of domestic abuse at a ten-day hearing to determine whether a long-term protective order can be issued against the abuser. About 20 students each semester participate in the courtroom proceedings, and another 50-70 work with Family Services to aid victims at the local shelter. DVAC won the 2004 Law Student Pro Bono Award from the North Carolina Bar Association.