Pro Bono Legal Services

Disability Rights North Carolina receives more than 4,000 calls for assistance every year. To expand our capacity to provide direct representation to more of the people with disabilities who call us, we created a pro bono volunteer attorney program for two types of cases.

Restoration to Competency Cases

Many people with disabilities have been adjudicated incompetent when they are fully capable of making decisions for themselves and handling their financial matters. Disability Rights North Carolina receives more calls for assistance with restoring competency than our staff can handle. We are looking for lawyers in every county who are willing to provide pro bono representation in a restoration to competency hearing before the county Clerk of Court.

You do not need to have experience in guardianship law. We will provide you with training materials, including a handbook and sample forms. In addition, our staff attorneys are available to provide technical assistance to you as you work with your client in the restoration case.

Each case is different. In the past, pro bono attorneys have spent anywhere from 8 hours to 25 hours in representing individuals in restoration to competency cases.

Medicaid Appeals

For some people with disabilities, services covered by Medicaid are a critical piece to their ability to live independently in their own home. When their Medicaid services are reduced or denied altogether, they may be in jeopardy of being forced into an adult care home or other institution.

Disability Rights North Carolina represents individuals with disabilities in their appeals of “adverse determinations”—i.e., denials, terminations, suspensions, or reductions—related to their requests for Medicaid services.  Medicaid appeals are heard by an Administrative Law Judge in the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). We are looking for lawyers in every county who are willing to provide pro bono representation in Medicaid appeal hearings before the Office of Administrative Hearings.

Medicaid appeals are a great opportunity to do good while gaining valuable training as an attorney. Although time commitment varies based on the complexity of the case, Medicaid appeals offer real trial experience—including witness examination and argument before a judge—in a timeframe that is generally shorter than for litigation in civil or criminal court. Attorneys at Disability Rights NC will co-counsel with pro bono attorneys to ensure they have the support they need, and offer a range of training programs on practicing Medicaid appeals. More details about Medicaid appeal hearings.

Learn more about our Pro Bono Program here. Need more information or want to volunteer? Contact Elaine Whitford at or 919-856-2195.