Jim Barrett Announces Retirement

After more than 40 years of service, Jim Barrett announces plans to retire in August 2024.
Jim Barrett, CEO of Pisgah Legal Services, announced his plan to retire in August of 2024 at a staff meeting last week. His news had previously been shared with the Board of Directors.

Jim says, “I am incredibly grateful to have had the privilege of working at Pisgah Legal for more than 40 years and leading the organization for 30 of those years. I have witnessed firsthand the difference that legal aid can make in the lives of our clients, and I am immensely proud of the work we have accomplished together. I leave the organization with a sense of fulfillment and optimism for its future.”

John Noor, Chair of Pisgah Legal’s Board of Directors will lead the organization’s executive search. The Executive Search Committee will consist of fellow Board members and experienced staff. The Board plans to retain the services of a professional search firm to assist in the process and to ensure a smooth transition.
Jim Barrett has served as executive director of the Western North Carolina anti-poverty nonprofit since 1993. He came to Pisgah Legal as a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow in 1983 and worked with the organization as a staff attorney for ten years before becoming its executive director.

At that time, the community-based legal aid program consisted of a staff of fifteen and several volunteer attorneys to supplement four staff attorneys in an Asheville office. The service area was six counties: Buncombe, Henderson, Madison, Polk, Rutherford, and Transylvania.

Under Jim’s leadership, Pisgah Legal has grown to a staff of 130 to serve more than twenty-one thousand people per year. The staff includes 39 attorneys whose poverty law efforts are combined with free legal assistance from 250 active volunteer attorneys. With incredible community support, the organization has expanded to include fifteen programs and an array of social services to work with its clients to help them escape poverty, or in some cases, to cope with living on fixed incomes due to age or disabilities. Staff members include social workers, health insurance navigators, tax credit advocates, and Medicaid ombudsmen. Nearly 100 non-attorney volunteers help the organization achieve its mission.
Stay tuned to Pisgah Legal’s enewsletters and website for updates and more information about the search for Jim’s replacement. We look forward to celebrating Jim and the impact he has made on Pisgah Legal over the coming months.
To make a gift in honor of Jim’s service, please click here.