Making a Difference: Ward and Smith's Transformative Pro Bono Impact in 2023

Closeup shot of a group of unrecognizable people joining their hands together

Pro bono work is crucial in the legal arena to work towards the goals of justice and equality. Ward and Smith's attorneys made an impact with their pro bono contributions in 2023.

Last year, 38 Ward and Smith attorneys collectively provided an impressive 627 hours of pro bono services. Among their notable endeavors was their involvement in impactful events like the 4ALL Statewide Service Day, which was co-chaired by personal injury attorney Jeremy Wilson and paralegal supervisor Stephanie Crosby. Additionally, 11 of the firm's attorneys participated in the Empower Hour initiative, in collaboration with the North Carolina Bar Foundation's NC Free Legal Answers program, to offer free legal guidance to North Carolina residents in need.

In another compelling example of the firm's dedication to making a tangible difference in people's lives, Lance P. Martin, a creditors' rights attorney, collaborated with Pisgah Legal Services to play a pivotal role in securing permanent asylum for a 61-year-old Afghan citizen. Gholamsakhi Rezai (pictured here with Lance), risked his life covertly transporting vehicles for the United States in and out of Bagram Air Base, previously the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan. After becoming a target of the Taliban for cooperating with the U.S., he was evacuated by the U.S. military following the Kabul Airport bombing during the U.S. withdrawal in 2021.  After a two-year effort and many hours of pro bono work by Mr. Martin, the U.S. State Department granted Mr. Gholamsakhi asylum status, and he now has the opportunity to pursue a Green Card.  Failure was not an option because if Mr. Gholamsakhi had been deported to Afghanistan, he risked torture and death at the hands of the Taliban.

Ward and Smith's commitment to transformative change is further evidenced by Alex Dale's and Jordan Spanner's induction into the 2023 NC Pro Bono Honor Society, which requires 50 hours of pro bono service. This achievement is a testament to Mr. Dale's and Ms. Spanner's unwavering commitment to making a positive impact in the community.

Mary Cavanagh, Ward and Smith's Pro Bono Committee Chair, expressed her pride in the firm's pro bono initiatives. She stated, "Our attorneys should be commended for their commitment to pro bono work in 2023. Their dedication to serving the community embodies the very essence of our firm's values."

Ward and Smith Attorneys who participated in the firm's pro bono program in 2023: 

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