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Graphic: 50th Anniversary Reunion

50th Anniversary Celebration

50 years ago — Washington Council of Lawyers was founded to reform the DC Bar and fight for social justice.

Today — Washington Council of Lawyers is a vibrant public-interest voice for the DC legal community, advocating for access to justice, and offering training , mentoring, and a supportive community for those committed to pro bono service and public-interest law.

Graphic: Timeline

Washington Council of Lawyers has a rich history of service and advocacy. On June 22 we were thrilled to host our founders, past presidents, long-time members, community partners, and new friends for our 50th Anniversary Reunion. We shared Mayor Muriel Bowser’s words of congratulations for 50 years of service as a strong public-interest voice and advocate for access to justice. We also shared what makes Washington Council of Lawyers #50YearsStrong in this video.

Galvanizing, justice, community, impactful, endurance. These are the words our Past Presidents panel used to describe Washington Council of Lawyers when they shared their remembrances and thoughts on what makes Washington Council of Lawyers such a vital part of the D.C. public-interest community.

Our past president panelists across the decades included:

  • 1970s — Marc Efron, Retired Partner at Crowell & Moring and president from 1972-1973
  • 1980s — Lawrence Schneider, Active Retired Partner at Arnold & Porter and president from 1984-1985
  • 1990s — Katia Garrett, COO of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs and president from 1995-1996
  • 2000s — Jessica Rosenbaum, Senior Advisor for the DC Access to Justice Commission and president from 2006-2007
  • 2010s — Moderator — Paul Lee, Pro Bono Counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP and president from 2014-2016.

If you were unable to join us, check out the Washington Council of Lawyers’ 50th Anniversary Reunion Program, which included our take on our impact on the world. Our news headlines (some real, some tongue-in-cheek) are not to be missed. And the video recording of our past presidents conversation is now available on our YouTube channel.

Graphic: Newspaper

Washington Council of Lawyers has been led by some of the greatest advocates and thought leaders in our community. Some of them have shared memories of their time as Board President and what they value most about Washington Council of Lawyers on our Pro Bono Publico Blog. Read insights from David Steib, Paul Lee, and Jessica Rosenbaum now. More posts will be added throughout the year.

Community-building is one of the four pillars of our mission. We have nearly 600 members and a public-Interest and pro bono community of thousands. We welcome lawyers from law firms, private and nonprofit organizations, and the government, and law students from across the country. Whether you’re renewing or joining for the first time, you’ll find that being a member of our community has both personal and professional rewards.

The support of our community ensures we continue for another 50 years. We are so grateful to our Founders & Past Presidents for their generosity in creating a matching donation campaign. The first $5,000 in donations will be doubled thanks to their giving match. That’s $1,000 of matching funds for each of our five decades of impact! Contribute now if you, too, support our work!

We are especially grateful to our Golden Giving Circle donors. These organizations have committed to increasing their support by 50% in honor of our 50th Anniversary. Thank you to:

Graphic: Golden Giving Circle sponsors

If your organization would like to join our Golden Giving Circle, please contact Nancy Lopez, Executive Director, at

And in June of our 50th Anniversary year, we were honored to be named the D.C. Bar’s Voluntary Bar Association of the Year in recognition of our exemplary service to our members, the legal profession, and the District of Columbia pro bono and public-interest community through programming, community outreach, special initiatives, and professional activities.

Graphic: Voluntary Bar Association of the Year Award screenshot

We will continue to add 50th Anniversary materials here throughout the year. Join the continuing celebration on social media using #50YearsStrong.


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