CHARLESTON, S.C. — The South Carolina Bar will honor several attorneys including Laura Evans of Smith Moore Leatherwood’s Charleston office as the 2016 Pro Bono Award recipients for their unwavering and exceptional dedication to enhancing the lives of others by volunteering legal services to the state’s communities in need. Laura will be honored in late May at the SC Bar Conference Center.
About Laura Evans
Laura, a partner at Smith Moore Leatherwood, coordinated pro bono volunteers on behalf of the Charleston County Bar Association to assist the victims’ families and survivors of the Mother Emanuel AME Church tragedy. These volunteers offered a wide variety of legal services in the areas of probate and estate, family, insurance, media, and intellectual property law. Several volunteer attorneys continued to assist the families to set up foundations to honor the victims. On her own, Laura contributed approximately 350 hours to the project. Alongside other attorneys, she developed the distribution plan for the City of Charleston’s Hope Fund and distributed the funds to the victims’ families and survivors, serving as the main connection between the families, survivors, and the City.
Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said, "(Their work) showed what the legal profession can do when faced with an unspeakable crime … how they can come forward with their skills, ability to communicate, genuine caring and make such a huge difference."
"Within days of the heartbreaking event, Laura stepped forward and voluntarily coordinated attorneys in the Charleston County Bar Association to assist relatives of the victims with legal services that included probate and custody cases," said Susan Herdina, an attorney with the City of Charleston. The volunteers have collectively donated over 1200 hours of work.
"We are very supportive of Laura and those around her who stepped forward to fill critical needs in the aftermath of this tragedy in Charleston," said Julie Earp, Chair of Smith Moore Leatherwood's Management Committee. "More than just offering condolences, Laura went into action. She did not do it for either the attention or the thanks she is receiving now. She did it because it was the right thing to do."
Laura graduated with her bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991. Three years later, she received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Laura served as in-house counsel for Roper St. Francis Healthcare in Charleston prior to joining the firm.
To see more on how Laura and the Charleston County Bar Association served the victims' families and the survivors, click here.