Attorney Tod M. Leaven Joins UNC as Adjunct Law Professor

Congratulations to Tod Leaven who is now an adjunct clinical assistant professor of law at the University of North Carolina School of Law. As an adjunct professor, Tod will teach Veterans Law and Title 38 Benefits, and supervise law students who are handling cases before the VA, Board of Veterans Appeal, and Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  His areas of expertise are veterans law, military law, and interviewing and counseling clients. Tod is a partner at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP where he will continue his work as a veterans law attorney.

Tod frequently gives lectures and continuing legal education seminars on all facets of veterans law. He has been designated as an expert witness in federal court for veterans disability benefits. He has authored and co-authored numerous publications ranging from Veterans and military affairs to intellectual property. Tod is the founder and operator of the annual GTA Homeless Veterans Legal Clinic, serving homeless veterans in Western North Carolina. For the past several years, he has partnered with Carolina Law students who are members of the Veteran Advocacy Legal Organization to provide pro bono legal services during their spring break.

Tod received his B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law. He served in the United States Army with multiple deployments, including the initial Iraq invasion in 2003.

To read more about Tod and his practice area, please click here:


Grace Puleo joins Allen Stahl + Kilbourne

Grace Puleo has joined Allen Stahl + Kilbourne (ASK) as its 11th and newest attorney.  Puleo received her undergraduate degree from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and graduated from Quinnipiac University School of Law in Hamden, Connecticut, magna cum laude, in 2012. Grace has been practicing law in Asheville in the areas of creditors rights and land use since 2015. She is also licensed to practice in New Jersey.

“Grace is going to fit in perfectly with our team approach to the practice of law,” says ASK partner Derek Allen.  “Her knowledge and experience will be an asset to all of our clients, and her enthusiasm for collaborative projects is already evident.”

Puleo will focus on land use, litigation, and creditors rights. She will also serve in support roles for expanding the firm’s client base in craft beverage, real estate development, manufacturing, outdoor gear, and other lifestyle-oriented businesses.

Teague Campbell Asheville Partners Recognized in the Best Lawyers in America© 2021

Teague Campbell is proud to announce that all 4 partners from the Asheville office were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2021. For more than 10 years, Teague Campbell’s Asheville office has been serving clients in western North Carolina and beyond. Their civil litigation defense practice spans industries and service areas; from Municipal Law to national Insurance Coverage and Medicare practices. The Asheville partners were recognized in the following areas:

More About Best Lawyers®

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 108,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and we have received over 13 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 9.4 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 67,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

10th Annual Pisgah Legal Justice Forum Oct. 1st

Pisgah Legal Services’ 10th Annual Justice Forum will be held online for the first time on October 1st. Clint Smith, Ph.D., is the featured speaker, and he will be speaking via Zoom about racial justice. The Advance Online Reception begins at 6:00pm, followed by the Online Forum at 7:00pm.

Tickets to the Pre-Event Virtual Reception are $25/person and will include a poetry reading by Clint Smith and a musical performance by local musician Kat Williams. The Forum is free. Advance registration is required. To register or purchase tickets, visit or call Ally Wilson at 210-3444.

Clint Smith uses his experience as an award-winning poet and teacher to share personal stories of justice, community, and education. He illuminates how we can all find the courage to create change, overcome challenges, and unite ourselves through the power of the collective voice.

His two TED Talks, The Danger of Silence and How to Raise a Black Son in America have been viewed more than seven million times. He was named to the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 list as well as Ebony Magazine’s 2017 Power 100 list.

Smith is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion, an Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, a Cave Canem Fellow, a Callaloo Fellow, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State.

His first full-length collection of poetry, Counting Descent, won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. His other writing has been published in The New YorkerThe GuardianBoston ReviewAmerican Poetry ReviewHarvard Educational Review, and he has just joined The Atlantic as a staff writer.

Smith earned his Ph.D. in Education at Harvard University, a B.A. in English from Davidson College and is an alumnus of the New Orleans Public School System.

Since 1978, nonprofit Pisgah Legal Services has provided free civil legal aid to help people with low incomes seek justice and meet their basic needs. Pisgah Legal provides a broad array of legal services in 11 WNC counties, and offers health and immigration law services in 18 counties. Last year PLS served more than 18,000 people across the mountain region.

PLS has offices in Asheville, Burnsville, Brevard, Hendersonville, Marshall, and Rutherfordton and has added staff in 2020 to serve the people of Macon and Jackson counties. Pisgah Legal has 32 attorneys on staff and relies heavily on the pro bono legal services of approximately 300 volunteer attorneys.

This is the 10th year Pisgah Legal Services has hosted this this annual event to call for justice, draw attention to the plight of people struggling to make ends meet in WNC and to continue the conversation about pressing local and national issues. Former speakers include: Jose Antonio VargasMatthew DesmondMarian Wright EdelmanPeter Edelman and Sister Simone Campbell.

Scam Alert: Fraudulent Tax Letters Claiming “Distraint Warrant”

Staff at the Buncombe County Tax Department have received complaints of an ongoing scam targeting area residents. Letters like the one attached have been sent claiming to be from the Tax Processing Unit of Buncombe County Public Judgement Records. The letter attempts to scare residents to respond by stating “levying procedures will begin within 15 days of its receipt.”

This is not an official letter from Buncombe County. There is no such County agency, and it is believed this is an attempt to scam residents into paying a fake tax debt. There is a bold heading claiming the notice is a “Distraint Warrant” and a toll free number listed on the letter, which may lead recipients to believe this is a legitimate communication. This is a fraudulent notice from a fictitious agency and residents should not call the number. The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating this phone number. Please call (828) 250-4436 if you have any information to report.

If individuals have been a victim of this scam, they should report it at (877) 5-NO-SCAM or