In November 2005, preceding his retirement from the bench, Chief Justice I. Beverly Lake, by order of the state Supreme Court, established the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission, making North Carolina the 19th state to establish such an entity. The mission of the Commission is to expand access to civil legal representation for people of low income and modest means in North Carolina.
The 30-member Commission was structured to include representative stakeholders from across the state, to reflect the diversity of the legal, geographic, gender, and ethnic communities of North Carolina and to be chaired by the Chief Justice. Commission members include representatives of all three branches of government, legal aid communities, client communities, as well as practicing lawyers. The number of low-income people needing legal assistance continues to increase and the Commission works with court, bar, and community leaders in North Carolina to develop new methods and strategies to address these needs.
The letter terminating the disability was a shocker. Legal Services of Southern Piedmont really came through for me. It was a life or death situation, and they brought me life.