The Child's Advocate

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Suzanne Chester is the managing attorney at The Child’s Advocate, a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina (LANC). After graduating with honors from UNC School of Law in 1995, Suzanne worked at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, focusing on a class action lawsuit to improve access to health care for women prisoners.  Suzanne then worked at the Raleigh office of Legal Aid from 1998 to 2012-- first  as a staff attorney, then as a supervising attorney-- where she practiced poverty law with a concentration in family law and domestic violence. While at the Raleigh Office, Suzanne helped to develop Project Together, a pro bono program which recruits and trains attorneys to represent victims of domestic violence in 50B proceedings in Wake County. In addition to practicing law, Suzanne really enjoys teaching and has taught as an adjunct professor at the Civil Clinic at UNC School of Law, trial advocacy through the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), and  as  a speaker at various CLE programs sponsored by LANC, the American Bar Association, and the North Carolina Bar Association. Suzanne’s service to the community includes serving on the boards of the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, The Child’s Advocate, Wake Women Attorneys and the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys. Suzanne currently divides her time between managing The Child’s Advocate and litigating fair housing cases at LANC’s Fair Housing Project.

Erin Haygood is a full-time staff attorney with The Child’s Advocate. Between 2007 and 2014, Erin represented children in the role of Guardian ad litem in juvenile and in civil court, and worked for two years as the Conflict Guardian ad litem Attorney in Judicial District 15B.  Erin has extensive experience as a facilitator, having served as the Child Planning Conference facilitator for three years in Orange and Chatham Counties.  She has also been previously certified by the Dispute Resolution Commission to conduct Family Financial Settlement mediations and has conducted pro bono divorce mediations on behalf of the Orange County Dispute Settlement Center for over ten years.  Erin graduated from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1997 and thereafter worked as a Legal Aid staff attorney and as a solo practitioner on a full-time and part-time basis, concentrating her practice on family law and child custody cases.