Craig D. Cannon, 97BA, 00JD, is renowned nationally for his devotion to providing pro bono legal assistance to disaster victims, military veterans, and other people in need.
After graduating from the University Of Iowa College Of Law in 2000, Cannon worked as a business litigation attorney for the largest North Carolina-based law firm in its Winston-Salem and Raleigh offices. In 2008, he joined Branch Banking and Trust Company's legal department as a senior attorney in the bank's Winston-Salem headquarters.
Since 2006, Cannon has served as the national director of the American Bar Association (ABA)'s Disaster Legal Services (DLS) program. In this role, he works with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide pro bono legal assistance to disaster victims throughout the United States and its territories.
In 2007, Cannon served as the lead drafter of a new memorandum of understanding between FEMA and the ABA that has greatly improved coordination between those organizations, the Legal Services Corporation, and pro bono groups. In the last four years, more than 100,000 people have received assistance through the DLS program, including thousands of Iowans affected by the 2008 floods.
In addition to coordinating the delivery of such assistance, Cannon has personally provided pro bono legal assistance to hundreds of disaster victims. Following Hurricane Katrina, he spent four weeks in New Orleans, helping low-income residents who faced obstacles in receiving critical rebuilding funds because they lacked clear legal title to their homes.
Cannon has also helped the nation's military veterans navigate through the complexities of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs disability claims process. In 2006, he designed and implemented the "When Duty Calls" project, which helps veterans obtain service-related disability benefits. "When Duty Calls" was designated as an "Impact Your World" project by CNN.com in 2007. In recognition of his efforts, the ABA awarded Cannon its highest national honor, the Pro Bono Publico Award, in 2008.
Cannon is currently pursuing an executive M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina. He remains an active member of the North Carolina State Bar, where he has served as a member of the Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Committee. For the North Carolina Bar Association, he has served as chair of the Young Lawyers Division, which has more than 5,000 members, and as a member of the board of governors.
Cannon has also served on a variety of charitable boards, including the board charged with preserving the historic town of Old Salem, North Carolina, and a local charter school that assists children with learning disabilities.
In these and many other ways, Craig D. Cannon has improved the lives of thousands of underserved people through his compassion, leadership, and unwavering spirit of service.