Blanchard Community Law Clinic expands outreach with additional attorneys, location

Photo of Blanchard Community Law Clinic Director Ashley Campbell standing amid unpacked boxes in new clinic space

RALEIGH – The new year brought a number of new beginnings for Campbell Law School’s Blanchard Community Law Clinic,  which is now primed to expand its outreach thanks to the addition of two new experienced attorneys and a new larger location in downtown’s Warehouse District.
 
The clinic’s expansion efforts are made possible thanks in large part to a partnership with the North Carolina Justice Center and a major donation from longtime Campbell University and law school supporters Bob and Pat Barker
 
These substantial developments will allow the clinic to move closer to achieving its mission of becoming the statewide leader in making expunctions, and the parallel remedy of drivers’ license restoration, available to North Carolina citizens.    
 
 Clinical Professors Emily Mistr and Tolu Adewale have been brought in to work with Professor Ashley Campbell, the clinic’s founding director, in order to manage the increased workload needed to expand the number of law students who can work in the clinic and thus double or possibly triple the number of clients served.  The clinic has relocated from its former location on Blount Street to its new larger space at 311-200 Martin Street (the former home of Clearscapes) ensuring there is adequate space for its staff to provide free counsel to its clients and their families. The Blount Street location is now home to the law school’s Stubbs Bankruptcy Law Clinic, which has been temporarily relocated from its home in the Federal Courthouse on Fayetteville Street. 
 

“We’re excited to hire these experts in criminal law and expunctions as they both have outstanding credentials,” Campbell explained. “The focus of the clinic will be on reviewing expunction petitions as well as filing for reviews of former clients who might now be deemed eligible.”

Photo of Blanchard Community Law Clinic new attorneys standing among boxes in new clinic space
Attorneys Tolu Adewale and Emily Mistr unpack boxes as part of the Clinic’s move to the Warehouse District.
 

Mistr is a former Wake County Assistant Public Defender for 14 years and joins the clinic through a partnership with the N.C. Justice Center, where she serves as a bridge between the Clinic and the Center’s Fair Chance Criminal Justice Project. At the law school, Mistr helps law students assist formerly justice-involved individuals, primarily in the areas of expunction and driver’s license restoration. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Law and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

 “I strongly believes that the restoration of a person’s driver’s license can have a profound impact on expanding employment and housing opportunities,” Mistr says.

Adewale previously worked as a staff attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC) for more than six years. There his focus was on working with people who were barred from good jobs, safe housing and other stabilizing opportunities due to a low-level criminal record (sometimes only consisting of a dismissed charge) and seeking a criminal record expungement or other legal relief. Adewale is a former a Durham County Assistant Public Defender, contract attorney and researcher. He earned his J.D. from Duke University School of Law and his bachelor’s degree from Duke University.

“The additional attorneys and the move to the new, larger space should help us keep up with what is expected to be an influx of service requests due the passage of Senate Bill 562, also known as The Second Chance Act, in June,” Campbell said. “The justice reform legislation put into law the new provisions on Dec. 1, 2020. This critical legislation improves the ability of North Carolina residents to remove prior non-violent criminal convictions from their records, enabling them to get better jobs and support their families.”  

Campbell added, “I’m thrilled to welcome two well-respected attorneys with track-records of serving those in need to the Blanchard Community Law Clinic to help do important and critical work. To do so in a larger physical space, makes it that much more rewarding and symbolizes the exciting direction we are heading. While we have lots to do, I’m optimistic that we will continue to rise to meet the needs of the community and help deserving individuals have the opportunity to earn an income, provide for themselves and their families and be a contributing member of society.”

Dean J. Rich Leonard added, “These additions and moves would not be possible without our supportive Campbell Law School leadership, dedicated staff, talented students, key partnerships and generous donors. I’m appreciative for each and every person that has helped make this day possible and to Community Law Clinic Director Ashley Campbell for her unwavering commitment to this initiative and incredible cause.” 

Founded in 2016, The Blanchard Community Law Clinic helps citizens move forward with their lives following incarceration and involvement with the criminal justice system. The clinic partners with Triangle area community nonprofits including Alliance Medical Ministry, StepUp Ministry, the Raleigh Rescue Mission, Urban Ministries, Justice Served, Community Success Initiative and many more to provide free legal services to low-income individuals. Pro bono criminal record expunction efforts have been a mainstay of the clinic, which has helped more than 400 individuals since it began. To learn more about the Blanchard Community Law Clinic and its services, visit this link.   

ABOUT CAMPBELL LAW

Since its founding in 1976, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,200 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2021, Campbell Law is celebrating 45 years of graduating legal leaders and a dozen years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.

ABOUT N.C. JUSTICE CENTER

The mission of the North Carolina Justice Center is to eliminate poverty in North Carolina by ensuring that every household in the state has access to the resources, services, and fair treatment it needs to achieve economic security. Learn more at https://www.ncjustice.org

 

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Melissa Timney Writer

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