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Graphic: Failed Stress Test Blog Post

A Failed Stress Test: The Pandemic Exposes the D.C. Government’s Failure to Distribute Unemployment Benefits to People in Need

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many District of Columbia residents to lose their jobs and erased years of employment progress. In February 2020, just before the pandemic began, the District’s unemployment rate fell to a five-year low of 4.9 percent. Two months later, unemployment had more than doubled to 11.1 percent. Some of the people who lost their jobs have since found new jobs, but not nearly enough: As of May 2021, the unemployment rate was still 7.2 percent. Even worse, the District’s government has failed to ensure that people who lose their jobs receive the unemployment benefits to which they are entitled; those failures became especially conspicuous when the federal government expanded unemployment benefits during the pandemic. For many eligible people, the resulting loss of unemployment benefits has been devastating. Claimants have relied on unemployment aid to pay for food, rent, and other essentials; without the aid they may be forced to move elsewhere and they may lack secure access to food. The effects were especially severe for racial minorities. Even after the expanded unemployment benefits have expired, the District’s unemployment system remains dire.
Graphic: Pro Bono Week 2021 Immigration Consultation Clinic

DC Pro Bono Week 2021: Immigration Consultation Clinic

Sponsored by American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) DC Chapter, Catholic Charities, and Equal Justice Works As we do every year, the AILA DC Chapter Pro Bono committee is partnering with Equal Justice Works to take part in DC’s Pro Bono week and provide a Virtual Citizenship Workshop.  This year we are working with Catholic Charities of DC (CCDC).  We are seeking volunteer attorneys to assist with this year’s workshop.  As with every year, you will be partnered with a law student and together you will complete the N-400 for the client which is passed to CCDC to complete the filing.  The workshop with be held via Zoom and training will be provided by CCDC.  The workshop will be held Saturday, October 23, 2021, from 9:00 am- 12:00 pm. If interested, please send an email to Lance Conklin at

Graphic: DCPBW21 Pro Bono In A Virtual Age

DC Pro Bono Week 2021: Pro Bono in a Virtual Age: A Conversation with KIND, Legal Aid Society, and Bread for the City

Join Superior Court Judge McLean and representatives from three different DC Pro Bono mentoring programs in a discussion covering the logistics of committing to doing pro bono in a virtual age.  The panel includes a conversation with a Superior Court Judge and experienced pro bono volunteers offering first-hand knowledge about doing pro bono virtually/socially distant in 2020/2021. We hope this will be an interactive dialogue, providing participants an opportunity to ask the questions that will help them better understand not only what pro bono looks likes now but also which pro bono program may be a good fit for their interests and capacity. Our conversation leaders include: Judge McLean, Associate Judge, Domestic Relations Calendar, District of Columbia Superior Court Rebecca Lindhurst – Managing Attorney, Bread for the City John W. Zipp – Associate, Covington & Burling Lauren Sullivan – Staff Attorney, Kids in Need of Defense, Inc. Joanne Hawana – Member, Mintz Sylvia Soltis - Senior Staff Attorney, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia Tiffany Cheung - Associate, Baker Botts, LLP  The discussion will be moderated by Sandra Zegarra, a Direct Representation Attorney with KIND.

Graphic: DCPBW 2021 Veterans Consortium Clinics

DC Pro Bono Week 2021: Veterans Consortium Legal Muster Pop Up Clinics

Sponsored by the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program In celebration of Pro Bono Week, The Veterans Consortium (TVC) is partnering with local volunteers and DC area law students to hold three, one-day pop-up legal clinics to serve the needs of veterans. These clinics will be held simultaneously via a virtual platform. Locations: Legal Advice & Referral Clinic, By Appointment Only Advice & Referral Clinic for Women Veterans, By Appointment Only Discharge Upgrade Clinic, By Appointment Only Volunteers are needed for the Legal Advice & Referral Clinic and the Advice & Referral Clinic for Women Veterans. To volunteer, email And join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using#DCProBono21!

Graphic: DCPBW 2021 Small Business Clinic

DC Pro Bono Week 2021: Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic

Sponsored by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center The Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic gives business and transactional attorneys the opportunity to donate their expertise to small businesses.  The Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinics allow current and aspiring small business owners to speak with an attorney about their legal problems or questions that affect their businesses.  Small businesses serve as the cornerstone for economic development in disadvantaged areas, but many cannot afford legal fees for advice that may determine whether they sink or swim. While only brief advice is given, entrepreneurs are able to engage in one-on-one consultations with an attorney.  Matters that arise include business formation, real estate, employment, intellectual property and joint ventures, and partnership agreements. One to two trainings are held each year for interested volunteers, but it is not required to volunteer. New volunteers often shadow veteran volunteers during their first few consultations. For the volunteer manual, click here. Sign up to volunteer at the virtual clinic at the link below. If you have questions about volunteering, please email Christine Kulumani, Staff Attorney, at And join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using#DCProBono21!

Graphic: DCPBW 2021 Expungement Clinic

DC Pro Bono Week 2021: Expungement Clinic

Volunteers will conduct intake interviews with low-income DC residents seeking to seal or expunge their criminal records. Interviewees have been pre-screened by Rising for Justice (RFJ) and Christian Legal Aid of DC (CLA). We strongly encourage all volunteer attorneys to continue their relationships with interviewees by volunteering with RFJ and CLA and agreeing to represent interviewees in their expungement case. Volunteers will need to be available for a quick 20-minute training the week prior on Thursday, October 21st, at 2:00 pm. Information will be provided once you register. No prior expungement experience is necessary! Students and non-attorneys are welcome to volunteer and will be paired with attorneys!

Graphic: Jobs Digest

Lead Our Team: Seeking our Next Executive Director

Washington Council of Lawyers is seeking a strong and driven leader to serve as its next Executive Director. The Executive Director’s primary duty is to advance the mission of Washington Council of Lawyers, as reflected in our Mission Statement: We are a voluntary bar association committed to ensuring that our legal system treats everyone fairly, regardless of money, position, or power. Our members represent the legal community’s diversity: They come from law firms, law schools, private and nonprofit organizations, and the government. We promote pro bono and public-interest law—by building partnerships among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors; volunteering to provide legal services to those who need them; training and mentoring the next generation of public-interest advocates; and supporting policies that expand access to justice. The Executive Director is our key management leader and reports to the Board of Directors. Specifically, the Executive Director is responsible for leading our organization in: Achieving its mission/furthering its reputation by offering outstanding programs, training sessions, advocacy, mentoring, and community-building opportunities with our working Board Communicating with and supporting our Board of Directors and committees Communicating with our members and external outreach, through inter alia, our website and social media platforms Executing fundraising initiatives Working with Board members on the annual budget and financial reporting Supervising and managing two staff members Engaging in relevant advocacy before the DC government and other authorities, and Helping to ensure legal compliance Qualifications and Desired Experience: JD preferred Two or more years of non-profit management experience Ability to set agendas, advance the organization’s mission, and build a strong team of board and staff members Familiarity with budgeting, strategic planning, and nonprofit management Detail-oriented, well-organized, and able to work independently Strong time and task management skills Strong communications and interpersonal skills A strong commitment to our mission and to professionalism Basic knowledge of, or ability to learn, Microsoft Office including Word and Excel; Google platforms including Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Forms, Google Drive; and WordPress Familiarity with Wild Apricot membership software and WordPress or similar database and website software is a plus Familiarity with social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn and Hootsuite social media software Notes: (1) This job includes occasional transport of supplies and materials to events, etc.; reasonable accommodations will be made if the candidate is unable to perform such functions; (2) This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of key job functions, and job duties may change over time based on organizational needs. Hours and Compensation:  The Executive Director position is part-time, averaging at least 30 hours per week; he/she/they manage their own time and hours with availability generally required during regular business hours. Working from home and telecommuting is part of how we work. Occasional evening work is required to assist with evening programs.  We are willing to explore moving to a full-time position at a later date. The salary range for this position, on a part-time basis, is $60,000 to $75,000. A broader package of benefits is currently being considered for this position. Washington Council of Lawyers is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability status, or any applicable characteristics protected by law. How to Apply:  Interested persons are encouraged to apply immediately and should submit a letter of interest and resume in one PDF document to, with “[Full Name] – Executive Director” as the subject of the email. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. The position remains open until filled.

Photo: Mentoring Happy Hour Group Photo

Advance Your Career Through Mentoring

Washington Council of Lawyers is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, and throughout these celebrations, we've reminisced about our many success stories. The Mentoring Program is one of these successes. Throughout the years, the Mentoring Program has fostered one-on-one mentoring relationships, hosted various networking events and training sessions, and brought together our public-interest community in a unique way. The Mentoring Program positively impacts many members' experience with Washington Council of Lawyers, and both mentors and mentees love remembering the programs’ past and looking forward to the program’s future. Multiple leaders of the program throughout the years shared some of their fondest memories of this incredible program.
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