Press release from Pisgah Legal Services:

Pisgah Legal Executive Director Surprised with Honor at 40th Anniversary Celebration

(Asheville, NC) – At Wednesday night’s 40th Anniversary Celebration of Pisgah Legal Services, Executive Director Jim Barrett was presented with North Carolina’s governor’s highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award. This honor is given to individuals with a proven record of extraordinary service to the state.

Senator Terry Van Duyn presented Barrett with the award as approximately 400 Pisgah Legal supporters cheered in the ballroom of the Renaissance Asheville Hotel . Earlier in the evening, Pisgah Legal Services also paid tribute to outstanding supporters: Pat Smith, James Ellis, and Sarah Corley. Gene R. Nichol, UNC School of Law’s Boyd Tinsley Distinguished Professor and poverty law expert, also spoke.

Barrett first came to Pisgah Legal Services in 1983 as part of a two-year poverty law fellowship. After practicing housing and community development law for 10 years, he became the nonprofit law firm’s executive director. Under his leadership, Pisgah Legal Services has grown dramatically, from helping 2,080 low-income people annually in 1993 to more than 15,700 people in 2017. This year marks the nonprofit’s 40th Anniversary, and Barrett has been with Pisgah Legal for almost 35 of those years.

→ Read more about Pisgah Legal’s 40-Year History here.

→ Why does PLS matter? Get the Top 10 Anniversary Highlights here.

Since 1978, PLS has helped low-income people meet their basic needs, such as protection from domestic violence, avoiding homelessness, finding safe housing, accessing health care and increasing income. Pisgah Legal Services has 22 attorneys on staff, and relies heavily on the pro bono legal services of approximately 300 volunteer attorneys and the help of more than 100 office and navigator volunteers. Last year local people donated more than 13,000 in volunteer hours to Pisgah Legal Services.

The nonprofit’s main service area includes six counties in WNC, with offices in Asheville, Brevard, Hendersonville, Marshall and Rutherfordton. For more information, call Pisgah Legal Services at 828-253-0406 or toll free at 800-489-6144 or go to

North Carolina’s governors started The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award in the 1960s, reserving the honor for persons who make significant contributions to the state and their communities through their exemplary service and exceptional accomplishments. Past recipients include Maya Angelou, William “Bill” Friday, Andy Griffith, Hugh Morton and Michael Jordan, to name a few.

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