At the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ) Annual Convention in Wilmington this June, Mary S. Pollard, executive director of North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services in Raleigh, will be elected president of the the NCAJ. Her one-year position will run from July 2018 through June 2019.
She comes to this role during a time of change for the state-wide association of 3,000 plaintiff attorneys, criminal defense attorneys and other legal professionals. NCAJ has streamlined its membership structure, increased its presence at law schools throughout the state, and developed more web-based on-demand CLE programs. The association’s new Executive Director Kim Crouch, has been working to ensure NCAJ’s resources are properly aligned with the current needs of the organization and its membership. The legal profession is also in a time of transition. The legal job market is becoming even more competitive, has a growing number of contract or freelance positions, and has a customer base that demands technology savvy and cost-effective service.
Mary Pollard’s goal during her tenure as president is to focus on governance issues. She plans to lead a detailed review of NCAJ bylaws and committee structures and functions in order to ensure that the new executive director will be presiding over a transparent and efficient organization. This work will do a great deal to shore up the foundation of this important association and prepare it to serve those advocating for the legal rights of all North Carolinians well into the future.
Pollard is a proven leader and a perfect fit for these endeavors. She is a 1993 cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University School of Law, where she served on the Wake Forest Law Review and earned the I. Beverly Lake Award for Excellence in Constitutional Law. Following graduation, she joined the firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice where, in addition to complex civil litigation, she engaged in pro bono representation of James Alan Gell, a wrongfully convicted death row inmate. She was instrumental in securing Gell a new trial based on withheld evidence.
Pollard left Womble Carlyle in 2002 and joined the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. She assumed the duties of executive director of NC Prisoner Legal Services in early 2009.
Pollard will use her experience and talents to help get NCAJ ready to meet the challenges ahead.