Kim Silver has been volunteering on a continuous basis with the PBRC since early October 2021. However, her role differs from most of our other volunteers because she has assisted behind the scenes and attended staff meetings. This work has filled a PBRC need in ways that have been integral to many of our projects. For example, Kim has researched COVID-friendly locations for CLE locations that will allow for safe, in-person participation. She has also assisted with CLE presentations and is developing substantive resource materials to support attorney volunteers and self-represented litigants. Kim was one of the volunteers for the NCBF/PBRC Housing Stability Project’s pilot phases. One of her favorite projects so far is doing research on areas of federal law and existing pro bono projects that the PBRC can add to its Opportunities page. Kim says, “This expands access to opportunities so that an attorney who wants to offer pro bono services outside of their working hours can find a project that is meaningful and accessible to them.”
Kim’s background as an attorney is in corporate transactional work. After the birth of her first child, she and her family briefly moved to Virginia Beach, where she focused on raising her family while dabbling in remote quasi-legal work that did not require a Virginia bar license. Kim maintained her North Carolina bar license by attending continuing legal education classes that interested her since she knew she would eventually be moving back to North Carolina. This is how she discovered a passion for public interest work. She particularly became interested in education law when she personally experienced the process of seeking an elementary school Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for one of her children. Even as a lawyer, Kim realized how onerous this process is and wanted to do something for others who were going through the same experience. She began volunteering for Legal Aid of North Carolina and ultimately was assigned a case alongside a LANC attorney who specializes in special education law to assist a child with obtaining an IEP. After working on the case for a year and a half, they were successful.
Just as Kim was beginning to frame what her future in the legal field would look like, the pandemic ensued. She loves working with people and didn’t like the idea of working exclusively from home. In mid-2021, Kim reached out to PBRC Director, Sylvia Novinsky, and NC LEAF Director, Katherine Asaro, to brainstorm her options for determining where she fits as a lawyer. Sylvia and Katherine were happy to have her volunteer so she could get connected and learn about a wide array of public interest options. Kim has loved the experience, explaining, “I was so focused on what I wanted to do, but working with the PBRC has made me realize that the type of organization I work with is just as important as what I do.”
Thank you, Kim, for all you have done and continue to do as a volunteer!