The Child's Advocate

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History

The Child’s Advocate of Legal Aid of North Carolina is indebted to the work of its founder, Sally Scherer, and former staff attorneys Joan Kuruc and Kim Howes, who forged a trail of providing zealous representation to children in Wake County Family Court.

Sally Scherer founded The Child’s Advocate in 2008 as a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation, and was the director of the program until December 2013. Sally was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, and earned her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Sweet Briar College in 1962. She worked as a kindergarten teacher and then trained at the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine in medical technology. She earned her Juris Doctor from the Franklin Pierce Law Center in 1981, was admitted to the NC State Bar the same year, to the Eastern District Court for NC in 1984, and to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986. Sally’s practice was primarily in family law and criminal defense. She served as president of the Tenth Judicial District Bar, the Wake County Academy of Criminal Trial Lawyers, and the NC Conference of Bar Presidents. She chaired the NCBA Committee on Women in the Legal Profession, the Tenth Judicial District Grievance Committee, the Wake County Bar’s Public Service Committee, the Susie Sharp Inn of Court, and the Tenth Judicial District Committee on Indigent Appointments. She also served on state-wide commissions including the NC Commission on Domestic Violence, the Family Court Advisory Committee, and the Custody Mediation Advisory Board. She was also a State Bar Councilor. In 2007, Sally earned the NCAWA’s Gwyneth B. Davis Award for promoting the participation of women attorneys in the legal profession and promoting the rights of women under the law. In 2008, the NCBA inducted her into the General Practice Hall of Fame for having exhibited the highest standards of ethics and professional competency and having rendered a high level of service to the legal profession and to the non-legal community. Sally has three children and six grandchildren.

Joan Kuruc worked as an attorney with The Child’s Advocate from May 2011 until September 2014 representing children in high conflict custody cases. After graduating from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1994, she spent more than seven years with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago, Illinois where she took hundreds of cases to trial and was a staunch advocate for the victims of crime. After returning to North Carolina in 2002 until May 2011, Joan practiced exclusively in civil litigation handling cases in the areas of construction and lien law, business collections and representing persons injured at work and in automobile accidents. During that time she was a partner at Toms, Mills & Kuruc, PLLC. In 2007, she opened her own law firm, Kuruc Law Offices, where she continued to practice until 2013. Joan earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Kim Howes was a part-time staff attorney with The Child’s Advocate, Raleigh, North Carolina from November 2012 until November 2014. During this time, Kim was also a solo practitioner, concentrating her practice in the representation of children involved in juvenile delinquency matters and adult criminal defense. Before starting her practice, Kim practiced in the area of family law. Kim graduated from UNC School of Law in 2010. Prior to attending law school, her career focused on child advocacy from a holistic and public policy perspective working at Prevent Child Abuse NC and The NC Child Advocacy Institute (currently NC Child). Kim recently joined the Office of the Juvenile Defendant as Assistant Juvenile Defender.