Marc Efron, part of the group of progressive Washington, DC attorneys who founded Washington Council of Lawyers, was the second board president. Marc shared this background and memories from his tenure as board president.
I moved to Washington in 1970 to start my first job after law school. (It also turned out…45 years later… to be my only job.) In the early 1970s, Washington was the place to be for young, idealistic lawyers. So much was going on… Richard Nixon and his cronies, the Vietnam war protests, civil rights struggles, the beginnings of DC home rule, and the creation of a new mandatory bar association for DC lawyers. The combination of this turmoil and the wave of new, progressive lawyers made the creation of an organization like the Washington Council of Lawyers almost a no-brainer. Of course, Washington Council of Lawyers would never have been created had it not been for people like Rod Boggs, Marna Tucker, and Greg Gallo, who created an organization out of nothing but a passion for responsible lawyering and change.
I was the second board president, following Russell Stevenson. I have no recollection of how that happened, but it did. The biggest issue on our plate as I recall it was providing legal observers for the Vietnam war protests (lots of stories there) and creating a response to the new DC bar association. The prior bar association had an ugly history of discrimination and was largely run by lawyers with local practices and, in our view, narrow outlooks and designs. The new bar provided a perfect opportunity for the new wave of DC lawyers to have an immediate impact. Long story short, through an incredibly organized campaign, led by the Washington Council of Lawyers and its then leaders, we…the insurgents… captured all of the spots on the nominating committee for officers of the new bar, which led to the election of officers who better reflected the concerns and interests of the new generation of DC lawyers. The impact of this take-over is felt even today, with a bar that actively promotes pro bono work and other issues of justice. Because of its lasting impact, this was the accomplishment of which I am most proud during my involvement with Washington Council of Lawyers in the early 1970s.
For 50 years, Marc has been an avid supporter of our work and his early influence helped shape the organization we are today. We are grateful for his leadership and his vision in helping Washington Council of Lawyers become the public-interest bar association for the District of Columbia.