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2023 Summer Forum Preview: Criminal Law & Death Penalty Panel

Over the past year, our communities have continued to engage in deep reflection on the systemic harms of abusive policing and mass incarceration. There is no area of law more central to those discussions than the criminal legal system. In this session, our panelists will share their work and insights in the criminal law space to uphold central individual liberties, stem the tide of mass incarceration, and protect communities. Learn more about these important topics at our 2023 Summer Forum Panel on Criminal Law & Death Penalty Panel.
Graphic: Racial Justice Series

Racial Justice Series: Algorithmic Justice Recap

At our most recent Racial Justice Series, we discussed the intersection of algorithms, machine learning, and discrimination in law and government. One of the most concerning issues is many times the public cannot tell how algorithms make decisions or what data they use to do so. Private citizens’ data is being collected in large swaths. It is important to minimize how easily that data can be collected, but just as important to shed light on how algorithms are using that data to make biased, flawed, and unjust decisions. Read on to find out more.

2023 Summer Forum Preview: Poverty Law Panel

People living in poverty struggle daily to meet basic needs for themselves and their families. Critical relief: housing, nutrition, health care, fair employment, and protection from violence, often turn not on rights but on access to those rights and remain out of reach for many trying to navigate complex rules and requirements. While legal representation can transform an individual’s ability to access what they need to survive and thrive, low-income litigants are the least likely to have an attorney to help them exercise their rights. Pro bono attorneys who fill this gap literally change and save lives. Learn more about the wide-ranging legal issues individuals living in poverty face and what pro bono opportunities are available in D.C. and across the country to help address these needs at our 2023 Summer Forum Panel on Poverty Law on Thursday, June 15 from 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm ET. Register here to join the virtual conversation.

2023 Summer Forum Preview: Environmental Justice Panel

Environmental law issues impact residents in D.C. and across the country in a variety of unforeseen ways. People in poverty and communities of color are more likely to live in environmentally unhealthy places. Climate change motivates immigration all over the globe. Join us for our newest summer forum panel discussion about the many ways environmental justice implicates human rights and racial justice. We are excited to hear our inaugural panel discuss how legislative advocacy, individual representation, class action and other tools can bring us closer to achieving environmental justice. Find out more on June 8th.

2023 Summer Forum Preview: Non-Litigation Pro Bono Panel

Pro bono: it’s not just for litigators. There are a variety of pro bono matters that don't require you to step foot in the courtroom. Opportunities include setting up businesses; drafting or revising employee handbooks; protecting intellectual property; and providing tax advice among many others. And there are opportunities for system change through legislative advocacy and policy work. Trained lawyers can help draft wills for vets, navigate uncontested divorce proceedings, research novel issues, and much more. If you want to help but don't care to go to court, this panel is for you.
2023 Summer Forum Keynote Nicole Austin-Hillery

2023 Summer Forum Keynote With Nicole Austin-Hillery

We are thrilled to welcome Nicole Austin-Hillery, President & CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, as the keynote conversation for the 2023 Summer Forum.  Ms. Austin-Hillery has dedicated her life and career to fighting for systemic change for marginalized communities. Her advocacy efforts not only work to change oppressive systems, but also lead the change for how Americans understand those systems and the interconnectedness of human rights concerns. Her work is an inspiration as it uplifts the voices and experiences of those that are not typically heard or seen to better society for all. Read on to find out more.
Graphic: Litigation Skills Series Trial Advocacy

Litigation Skills Series: Trial Advocacy

Whether in person or virtually, trial advocacy skills are critical to a successful case. The good news is they can be learned. Join us for five jam-packed mornings of Trial Advocacy during the week of Monday, May 1 - Friday, May 5. The training will take place from 9:00 - 11:00 am ET on Monday, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm ET on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and 9:00 - 10:30 am on Friday. View the 2023 Litigation Skills Series Trial Advocacy Full Schedule here. We will focus on the four fundamental trial skills: Opening Statements, Direct Examinations, Cross-Examinations, and Closing Arguments.  Each topic will begin with a lecture by an expert trainer and a demonstration by skilled litigators showing how to put the lesson into practice. Then, we will move to small group breakout rooms where each attendee will get up and practice the skill of the day. Breakout room facilitators will offer individualized, constructive feedback to each participant. Attendees should plan to spend some time between each session to prepare for the on-your-feet breakout sessions. Although this year's Trial Advocacy training will take place virtually, it offers the same individualized practice and feedback as our in-person training. It is not a passive Zoom webinar; it will be a cameras-on, interactive training experience. Our fact pattern features a Landlord Tenant case, but you need not know anything about substantive housing law to benefit from the training. For Washington Council of Lawyers members, this comprehensive Trial Advocacy training costs just $115. For non-members, the cost is $215. (Join Washington Council of Lawyers to take advantage of the discounted member rates.) Scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please complete this online scholarship form. CLE credits are available for 12.25 in CA (general), 13.5 in NJ (general), and 12.5 in NY skills (newly admitted and experienced), VA is pending. This session always sells out. Save your seat today! Registration closes Friday, April 28 at 5:00 pm ET.

Graphic: Litigation Skills Series Impeachment

Litigation Skills Series: Impeachment

Impeachment is a critical - but difficult - skill for trial lawyers to master. An effective impeachment can make your case. A botched impeachment can destroy it. Learn both the mechanics and strategies for impeaching witnesses from expert trial lawyers at this popular Litigation Skills Series CLE training. The course will begin with a lively presentation and top-notch demonstration and end with the opportunity to get on your feet and practice what you have learned. Scholarships are available due to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please complete this online scholarship form. The course has been approved for 2.0 credits in CA (General), NJ (General), and NY (Skills). CLE approval is pending but not guaranteed in VA. Reciprocal credit may be available in other jurisdictions.

Creating Opportunity for Legal Professionals with Past Convictions

Approximately 600,000 people return to their communities following incarceration each year, and it is estimated that more than 1 in 4 returning citizens is unemployed. This is indicative of the collateral consequences of incarceration and the many challenges of reentry – but also shows that there is a massive pool of skilled individuals that employers are missing out on. This is especially true in the legal field. Returning citizens have direct experience in the system, and many have also become practiced legal researchers while incarcerated – skills that would be an asset to any law firm. Five years ago, Georgetown University and the DC Mayor’s Office on Returning Citizen Affairs (MORCA) came together to create a paralegal program with the goal of helping connect returning citizens to sustainable careers while also meeting a need in the industry for qualified and highly skilled paralegals.

Government Pro Bono Roundtable 2023 Recap

Lawyers who work for any government have a couple of extra considerations to make before doing pro bono work. But as our Government Pro Bono Roundtable moderator and panelists showed, doing pro bono as a government attorney is still accessible and rewarding. Read on to learn (or get a refresher on) some tips from the pros:
Graphic: In-House Pro Bono Program & Fair

In-House Pro Bono Program and Fair: Making Pro Bono Work in a Virtual World Recap

We had a great time working with the Association of Corporate Counsel’s National Capital Region to host the In-House Pro Bono Program and Fair: Making Pro Bono Work in a Virtual World. Over the course of an hour, our panelists told us about how their respective organizations adapted their pro bono offerings in response to the pandemic and shared advice for audience members looking to get involved in pro bono work.

Litigation Skills Series: Hearsay

Confidence in the courtroom comes from a dynamic understanding of the Federal Rules of Evidence. But not all rules are created equal. Hearsay is one of those challenging areas that even seasoned litigators need to review from time to time. Under Federal Rule 801, hearsay is an out-of-court statement offered for the “truth of the matter asserted.” What exactly does that mean? Join us for Litigation Skills Series: Hearsay to learn more about when and how the hearsay rules apply, the exceptions to the rules, and how to overcome hearsay objections. This training will be run by experienced faculty, Barbara Butterworth, Counsel, Litigation Mentor Program at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP. The first hour will be a lecture and a short demonstration. During the last half hour, attendees will be able to apply what they've learned and get direct feedback on their impeachment of a witness. Materials will be shared ahead of time so that you can prepare. This training is appropriate for public-interest, law firm, in-house, and government lawyers, as well as law students who have taken evidence and have trial-practice or mock-trial experience. Scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please complete this online scholarship form.

Litigation Skills Series: Exhibits & Evidentiary Foundations

Trials can be fraught with evidentiary minefields. But perhaps none more so than getting a document into evidence over the accompanying objections and roadblocks. Understanding the process is key to planning how to navigate the expected (and unexpected) hurdles. Ensure your trial materials are successfully entered into evidence with Litigation Skills Series: Exhibits & Evidentiary Foundations. Through lecture and demonstration, litigation experts will teach the basics of admitting evidence—including business records, charts, photos, ledgers, drawings, letters, emails, social media posts, and other documents. The course will begin with a lively presentation and top-notch demonstration and end with the opportunity to "get on your feet" and practice what you have learned. This training is appropriate for public-interest, law firm, in-house, and government lawyers, as well as law students who have taken evidence and have trial-practice or mock-trial experience. The Exhibits & Evidentiary Foundations faculty include: Kate Oler, Special Master on the United States Court of Federal Claims Greg Lipper, LeGrand Law PLLC CLE credit is approved for 1.5 CA general, 1.5 NJ general, and 1.5 NY skills (newly admitted and experienced), and is pending but not guaranteed for VA. Reciprocal credit may be available in other jurisdictions. Scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please complete this online scholarship form.

Litigation Skills Series: Ethics

Litigation Skills Series: Ethics

Ethics rules are helpful in navigating difficult issues but what about the grey areas not covered by the rules? Facing a pro se litigant or difficult opposing counsel, advocating effectively for your client before a challenging fact finder, or representing a tough client are among the many challenges faced by public-interest lawyers and pro bono volunteers. These situations can be equally daunting to navigate, and understanding your options are vital to effective representation. The Ethics training panel features: Gwen Washington, Pro Bono Attorney at Cleary Gottlieb, Megan Challender, Legal Manager at NVRDC, and June Lee, Director of the Immigrant Rights Legal Services Project at Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Don't worry, we have a safe space for you to learn how to avoid potential quagmires for public-interest and pro bono lawyers when facing these issues and more. Note, this training is not an Ethics CLE and will not be eligible for CLE credit.  

Graphic: Screenshot Of Panelists For Pro Bono Goes Local

Pro Bono Goes Local Recap

DC Pro Bono Week official;y kicked off with Pro Bono Goes Local! Our panelists began with a lightning round covering where the need for pro bono attorneys exists within our community by highlighting the nuances of our community, statistics that drive their work, and where they see the gaps in justice for District neighbors.
Photo: Chris Marin Headshot

Welcome Our New Program Director, Chris Marin!

Join us in welcoming Chris Marin as our new Program Director. Chris is a recent graduate of the American University, Washington College of Law, where they cultivated a passion for access to justice and finding innovative connections between legal professionals to advance the work of pro bono and the public-interest community.
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