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Graphic: Supreme Court View From The Press Gallery

Supreme Court: View from the Press Gallery

Grab your lunch and join us (virtually!) on Thursday, July 7, from 12:00-2:00 pm ET for an insightful evaluation of the recently-concluded Supreme Court term with those who know it best - the press who cover the Court. Our panel of journalists will highlight significant cases, discuss the implications of those decisions, and make a few educated guesses about what lies ahead for the Court. Get a look behind the curtain about how the Court is changing with its newest appointments. Part news, part law, and part conjecture, this panel is sure to be intriguing! Our invited panelists include: Robert Barnes (Washington Post) Joan Biskupic (CNN) Ariane de Vogue (CNN) Amy Howe (Howe on the Court) Adam Liptak (New York Times) David Savage (Los Angeles Times) The panel will be moderated by Art Spitzer, Senior Counsel, ACLU-DC. The cost of this program is just $15 for Washington Council of Lawyers members, $20 for public interest and government lawyers, and $25 for the general public & law firm attendees. (Join here to receive the discounted member price.) Don't miss this discussion of the Supreme Court term! Finally, if you'd like your summer associates or interns to attend, but don't yet know their names, you can register them as guests (First name: Guest 1, Last Name: Organization Name); email Christina Jackson at cjackson@wclawyers.org if you need assistance. Join and follow the conversation on Twitter using #SCOTUSpress!

Graphic: 2022 Summer Forum Civil Rights & Civil Liberties And Immigration & Human Rights Panel

2022 Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties and Immigration & Human Rights

Our Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum is an annual tradition that brings together lawyers, summer associates, summer interns, and others interested in using their law degrees to help those in need. It’s also a great way to highlight the importance of pro bono and public-interest work throughout one’s legal career. You may register to attend the Summer Forum anytime before Thursday, June 23. If you missed previous sessions, we will send you links to the recordings of those earlier events.  The forum kicked off with keynote speaker Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. Attorney-General Clarke is a lifelong civil rights lawyer who has spent her entire career in public service. She has a wealth of legal experience including working as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division, working on voting rights and election law with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, serving as head of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York State Attorney General's Office, and as president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  This conversation will take place in person on Wednesday, June 8 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm ET at Arnold & Porter. Doors open at 11:45 am with lunch from 12:00-1:00 pm and AAG Kristen Clarke's remarks from 1:00-2:00 pm. A live stream is also available. The first virtual practice-area panel discussion will follow on Thursday, June 9 from 12:00 – 1:15 pm ET. There will be networking time before and after the panel. Then, over the following two weeks, you will have the opportunity to attend the remainder of the virtual panel presentations where you can learn more about pro bono and public-interest work in DC and all across the country. Each panel will focus on a different practice area, featuring presentations by national and local experts in that legal specialty. The panel topics will include: June 9 – Non-Litigation Pro Bono June 16 – Poverty Law June 16 – Criminal Law & Death Penalty June 23 – Civil Rights & Civil Liberties - 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 23 – Immigration & Human Rights - 1:15-2:30 pm ET The Summer Forum is open to Washington Council of Lawyers members (join), participants in summer associate and summer intern programs, lawyers in law firms, government and public-interest organizations, law students, and others interested in learning more about incorporating public-interest law into their practice. You can attend from anywhere! A single registration provides access to all four days of Summer Forum sessions. And if you miss a session, don't fret. Recordings of each session will be sent to all registered attendees. The cost is just $35 for WCL Members; $45 for Government & Public-Interest Lawyers, Interns, and Individual Law Students; and $65 for Law Firm Lawyers, Summer Associates, Corporate Law Department Lawyers, and Law Department Interns, and the General Public.  Summer Program Coordinators: If you’d like your summer associates or interns to attend, but don’t yet know their names, you can register them as guests (First name: Guest 1, Last Name: Organization Name). Please email Christina Jackson (at cjackson@wclawyers.org) if you need any assistance. Look for updates and join the conversation about the Summer Forum using #SumFo22 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

Graphic: 2022 Summer Forum Poverty Law & Criminal Law Panel

2022 Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum: Poverty Law and Criminal Law & Death Penalty

Our Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum is an annual tradition that brings together lawyers, summer associates, summer interns, and others interested in using their law degrees to help those in need. It’s also a great way to highlight the importance of pro bono and public-interest work throughout one’s legal career. You may register to attend the Summer Forum anytime before Thursday, June 23. If you missed previous sessions, we will send you links to the recordings of those earlier events.  The forum kicked off with keynote speaker Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. Attorney-General Clarke is a lifelong civil rights lawyer who has spent her entire career in public service. She has a wealth of legal experience including working as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division, working on voting rights and election law with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, serving as head of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York State Attorney General's Office, and as president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  This conversation will take place in person on Wednesday, June 8 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm ET at Arnold & Porter. Doors open at 11:45 am with lunch from 12:00-1:00 pm and AAG Kristen Clarke's remarks from 1:00-2:00 pm. A live stream is also available. The first virtual practice-area panel discussion will follow on Thursday, June 9 from 12:00 – 1:15 pm ET. There will be networking time before and after the panel. Then, over the following two weeks, you will have the opportunity to attend the remainder of the virtual panel presentations where you can learn more about pro bono and public-interest work in DC and all across the country. Each panel will focus on a different practice area, featuring presentations by national and local experts in that legal specialty. The panel topics will include: June 9 – Non-Litigation Pro Bono June 16 – Poverty Law - 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 16 – Criminal Law & Death Penalty - 1:15-2:30 pm ET June 23 – Civil Rights & Civil Liberties - 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 23 – Immigration & Human Rights - 1:15-2:30 pm ET The Summer Forum is open to Washington Council of Lawyers members (join), participants in summer associate and summer intern programs, lawyers in law firms, government and public-interest organizations, law students, and others interested in learning more about incorporating public-interest law into their practice. You can attend from anywhere! A single registration provides access to all four days of Summer Forum sessions. And if you miss a session, don't fret. Recordings of each session will be sent to all registered attendees. The cost is just $35 for WCL Members; $45 for Government & Public-Interest Lawyers, Interns, and Individual Law Students; and $65 for Law Firm Lawyers, Summer Associates, Corporate Law Department Lawyers, and Law Department Interns, and the General Public.  Summer Program Coordinators: If you’d like your summer associates or interns to attend, but don’t yet know their names, you can register them as guests (First name: Guest 1, Last Name: Organization Name). Please email Christina Jackson (at cjackson@wclawyers.org) if you need any assistance. Look for updates and join the conversation about the Summer Forum using #SumFo22 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

Graphic: 2022 Summer Forum Non-Litigation Pro Bono Panel

2022 Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum: Non-Litigation Pro Bono Opportunities Virtual Panel

Our Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum is an annual tradition that brings together lawyers, summer associates, summer interns, and others interested in using their law degrees to help those in need. It’s also a great way to highlight the importance of pro bono and public-interest work throughout one’s legal career. You may register to attend the Summer Forum anytime before Thursday, June 23. If you missed previous sessions, we will send you links to the recordings of those earlier events.  The forum kicked off with keynote speaker Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. Attorney-General Clarke is a lifelong civil rights lawyer who has spent her entire career in public service. She has a wealth of legal experience including working as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division, working on voting rights and election law with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, serving as head of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York State Attorney General's Office, and as president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  This conversation will take place in person on Wednesday, June 8 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm ET at Arnold & Porter. Doors open at 11:45 am with lunch from 12:00-1:00 pm and AAG Kristen Clarke's remarks from 1:00-2:00 pm. A live stream is also available. The first virtual practice-area panel discussion will follow on Thursday, June 9 from 12:00 – 1:15 pm ET. There will be networking time before and after the panel. Then, over the following two weeks, you will have the opportunity to attend the remainder of the virtual panel presentations where you can learn more about pro bono and public-interest work in DC and all across the country. Each panel will focus on a different practice area, featuring presentations by national and local experts in that legal specialty. The panel topics will include: June 9 – Non-Litigation Pro Bono - 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 16 – Poverty Law - 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 16 – Criminal Law & Death Penalty - 1:15-2:30 pm ET June 23 – Civil Rights & Civil Liberties - 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 23 – Immigration & Human Rights - 1:15-2:30 pm ET The Summer Forum is open to Washington Council of Lawyers members (join), participants in summer associate and summer intern programs, lawyers in law firms, government and public-interest organizations, law students, and others interested in learning more about incorporating public-interest law into their practice. You can attend from anywhere! A single registration provides access to all four days of Summer Forum sessions. And if you miss a session, don't fret. Recordings of each session will be sent to all registered attendees. The cost is just $35 for WCL Members; $45 for Government & Public-Interest Lawyers, Interns, and Individual Law Students; and $65 for Law Firm Lawyers, Summer Associates, Corporate Law Department Lawyers, and Law Department Interns, and the General Public.  Summer Program Coordinators: If you’d like your summer associates or interns to attend, but don’t yet know their names, you can register them as guests (First name: Guest 1, Last Name: Organization Name). Please email Christina Jackson (at cjackson@wclawyers.org) if you need any assistance. Look for updates and join the conversation about the Summer Forum using #SumFo22 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

Graphic: Fellowships 101 (2022)

Fellowships 101 (2022)

Post-graduate fellowships are a unique way to realize your ideal public interest job. Fellowships allow new lawyers to gain hands-on experience, develop project management skills, and pursue their passions for promoting justice. But the application process is complicated and the programs are competitive. We're here to help you make sense of the process. Our expert panel will walk you through all the steps of the application procedures for the various programs and give you concrete tips for maximizing your chances of landing the fellowship of your dreams. Then, a NALP representative will discuss PSJD and other online resources for finding fellowships. Finally, there will be plenty of time for individualized questions. Fellowships 101 is free for Washington Council of Lawyers members (join) and law students of Public Interest Jobs Clearinghouse (PIJC) subscriber law schools; the cost is just $10 for non-members. Not sure if you attend a law school that subscribes to the PIJC? Contact your law school career development office to find out. Join the conversation on social media #Fellowships101.

Graphic: Co-Sponsored Event

Celebrating Representation: The First Black Woman on the US Supreme Court

Join the Women's Bar Association of the District of Columbia for a discussion of the importance of diversity on the bench and the potential impact of the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. WBA President Bridget Bailey Lipscomb will moderate the discussion. The outstanding panel of speakers, including: The Honorable Bernice Donald, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals The Honorable Vanessa Ruiz, D.C. Court of Appeals Sophia Nelson, CNN Political & Legal Commentator Tiffany Wright, Director, Civil Rights Clinic, Howard University School of Law Michele Goodwin, Chancellor's Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law This event is free to attend but pre-registration is required. Washington Council of Lawyers is pleased to co-sponsor this important conversation about diversity and representation on the bench and the legal profession.

Graphic: Black Women Judges Collage

Black Women in the Judiciary

On Friday, February 25, 2022, President Joseph R. Biden fulfilled a promise to nominate the first Black woman as a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court if given the opportunity.  Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic nomination is momentous, not just because history s being made, but also in recognition of the barriers Black women must overcome in entering and succeeding in the legal profession and, more specifically, on the bench. In honor of Black History Month and Women's History month, we take a look at some amazing D.C. Black women trailblazers.

2022 Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum: In-Person Keynote Luncheon

IN-PERSON LUNCHEON SOLD OUT! Our Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum is an annual tradition that brings together lawyers, summer associates, summer interns, and others interested in using their law degrees to help those in need. It’s also a great way to highlight the importance of pro bono and public-interest work throughout one’s legal career. We’ll kick off the forum with keynote speaker Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. Attorney-General Clarke is a lifelong civil rights lawyer who has spent her entire career in public service. She has a wealth of legal experience including working as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division, working on voting rights and election law with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, serving as head of the Civil Rights Bureau for the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and as president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.  This conversation will take place in person on Wednesday, June 8 from 12:00 – 2:00 pm ET at Arnold & Porter. Doors open at 11:45 am with lunch from 12:00-1:00 pm and AAG Kristen Clarke’s remarks from 1:00-2:00 pm. A live stream is also available. The first virtual practice-area panel discussion will follow on Thursday, June 9 from 12:00 – 1:15 pm ET. There will be networking time before and after the panel. Then, over the following two weeks, you will have the opportunity to attend the remainder of the virtual panel presentations where you can learn more about pro bono and public-interest work in DC and all across the country. Each panel will focus on a different practice area, featuring presentations by national and local experts in that legal specialty. The panel topics will include: June 9 – Non-Litigation Pro Bono – 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 16 – Poverty Law – 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 16 – Criminal Law & Death Penalty – 1:15-2:30 pm ET June 23 – Civil Rights & Civil Liberties – 12:00-1:15 pm ET June 23 – Immigration & Human Rights – 1:15-2:30 pm ET The Summer Forum is open to Washington Council of Lawyers members (join), participants in summer associate and summer intern programs, lawyers in law firms, government and public-interest organizations, law students, and others interested in learning more about incorporating public-interest law into their practice. You can attend from anywhere! A single registration provides access to all four days of Summer Forum sessions, and recordings of each session will be sent to all registered attendees. The cost is just $35 for WCL Members; $45 for Government & Public-Interest Lawyers, Interns, and Individual Law Students; and $65 for Law Firm Lawyers, Summer Associates, Corporate Law Department Lawyers, and Law Department Interns, and the General Public.  Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within the preceding 24 hours is required for in-person attendance. Masks are also required. Summer Program Coordinators: If you’d like your summer associates or interns to attend, but don’t yet know their names, you can register them as guests (First name: Guest 1, Last Name: Organization Name). Please email Christina Jackson (at cjackson@wclawyers.org) if you need any assistance. Look for updates and join the conversation about the Summer Forum using #SumFo22 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

Graphic: Litigation Skills Trial Advocacy

Litigation Skills Series: Trial Advocacy

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED 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 2 - Friday, May 6. The training will take place from 9:00 - 11:00 am ET on Monday, from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm ET on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and from 9:00 - 10:30 am on Friday. View the full training 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 Civil Protection Order case, but you need not know anything about substantive domestic violence 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 credit is pending but not guaranteed in CA, NY, and VA. This session always sells out. Save your seat today!

Graphic: Candidate Forum

Candidate Forum: Attorney General Democratic Primary

Join us virtually on May 5, 2022, for a Candidate Forum to hear how candidates for D.C. Attorney General will address access to justice issues if elected to serve the District. All candidates on the June 21 primary ballot have confirmed attendance. Our conversation with the candidates will be moderated by Colby King, columnist for the Washington Post and the deputy editor of the Post's editorial page, and Shelley Broderick, Dean Emerita and Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Social Justice at UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. All attendees will have the opportunity to submit questions when they register. We will try to incorporate as many audience questions as possible. You can also tweet questions and comments before or during the forum using the hashtag #DCAGForum22 2022 D.C. Attorney General Candidates (in alphabetical order) Ryan Jones, Esq. www.ryanjonesforag.com       Brian Schwalb, Esq. www.brianfordc.com/       Bruce Spiva, Esq. www.spivafordcag.com       Moderators   Shelley Broderick Dean Emerita and Joseph L. Rauh, Jr. Chair of Social Justice University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law       Colbert King Columnist and Deputy Editor of the Editorial Page Washington Post     We are grateful to the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law for hosting our discussion. Thank you to our co-sponsors ACLU-DC, American Constitution Society DC, Council for Court Excellence*, DC Access to Justice Commission, D.C. Bar D.C. Affairs Community, D.C. Bar Antitrust/Consumer Affairs Community, DC Consortium of Legal Service Providers, DC Guaranteed Income Coalition, DC Justice Lab, Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association, Inter-American Bar Association and the Inter-American Bar Association DC Chapter, Neighborhood Legal Services Program, Mother's Outreach Network, Tzedek DC, and Washington Bar Association, Inc. *Please note that candidate Brian Schwalb is a member of Council for Court Excellence's Board of Directors, where he serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the Nominations Committee. As a long-standing organizational policy, CCE does not make endorsements or issue statements of support in this or any other campaign.  

Graphic: Co-Sponsored Event

How Can Clean Air Act Enforcement Effectively Mitigate Climate Change and Improve Environmental Justice Efforts?

Presented by: WBADC, Energy and Environmental Law Forum The Biden Administration has strongly focused on mitigating climate change and improving air quality in overburdened communities. What role can enforcement of the Clean Air Act (CAA) play in meeting these twin goals? Mary Greene, the new Director of EPA's powerful Air Enforcement Division, will speak to enforcement priorities, policies, and the role of enforcement in creating clear and enforceable EPA rules. Ms. Greene will be joined by panelists from the Department of Justice, the private sector, and a prominent CAA-focused NGO. Don't miss the opportunity for this discussion of the future of air pollution enforcement. and how new priorities can impact climate change and environmental justice communities. We are pleased to join D.C. Bar EENR Community and the American Bar Association SEER in co-sponsoring this discussion.  As a co-sponsoring organization, Washington Council of Lawyers members can register at the member rate. Please email Christina Jackson at cjackson@wclawyers.org for the registration code.

Graphic: Litigation Skills: 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 Mary Kennedy and Katherine Oler 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. Mary Kennedy is the Training Counsel at Arnold & Porter. She brings decades of experience litigating trials in D.C. Superior Court and numerous hours of teaching Litigation Skills trainings. She was named a Top Lawyer in criminal defense by Washingtonian in 2018. Kate Oler is a Special Master at the Court of Federal Claims. Prior to her appointment to the Court, she served as an Air Force Judge Advocate where she primarily worked in the criminal litigation area. She has held positions as a first-chair felon prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a trial judge. She also brings many years of trial advocacy teaching experience. CLE credit is approved for CA (2.0 General), NJ (2.0 General), and NY (2.0 Skills). VA is pending. Reciprocal credit may be available in other jurisdictions. Scholarships are available due to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please complete this online scholarship form. Space is limited, so register today!

Photo: Collage Henry Floyd Yaida Ford Stephon Woods Gwen Washington

Black History Month: Perspectives

In closing out Black History Month 2022, we'd like to share thoughts from some of our dedicated board members. They are mentors and leaders in our community. We are inspired by them every day. I'm sure you will be as well.
Graphic: Jobs Digest

Join Our Team as the new Program Director!

Founded in 1971, Washington Council of Lawyers is the only voluntary bar association in the Washington, DC area exclusively devoted to promoting pro bono and public interest law.  We work to ensure 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, legal service providers, government, and other private and nonprofit organizations. We promote pro bono and public-interest law by focusing on four pillars:  training and professional development, mentoring the next generation of public interest lawyers, advocating for issues that expand access to justice, and building a vibrant public interest community. We currently are seeking a Program Director to support our work.
Graphic: Co-Sponsored Event

What Does “Defund the Police” Mean for Schools

Join the DC Bar Public Interest and Courts Community, Criminal Law and Individual Rights Community, and the DC Affairs Community on Wednesday, March 2, at 12:00 pm ET for an insightful conversation about what it means for students to be and to feel "safe" at school?  How does the presence of police in schools criminalize Black children and youth?  How would young people transform their schools into environments where they can thrive?  Please join us for a panel discussion that includes: Samantha Davis, Executive Director, Black Swan Academy Ceon Dubose, Advocacy & Organizing Fellow, Black Swan Academy Naïké Savain, Policy Counsel, DC Justice Lab Kaitlin Banner, Deputy Legal Director, Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs This program organized by the D.C. Bar Public Interest and Courts Community is open to everyone.  Pre-registration for this program is required.  As a co-sponsoring organization, registration is just $15 for Washington Council of Lawyers members (join). To register, simply email communitiesregistration@dcbar.org by COB Tuesday, March 1 with your name, address, that you are a member of a co-sponsoring organization (Washington Council of Lawyers), and the date, time, name of the event. If you are not a member of the D.C. Bar and don't already have a D.C. Bar nonmember account you will need to create one prior to emailing communitiesregistration@dcbar.org. This remote program will be hosted on the Zoom platform. You will receive access information from D.C. Bar Communities staff the afternoon prior to the program. The Zoom access information should not be shared with others, as registration is required. Washington Council of Lawyers is pleased to co-sponsor this opportunity to learn more about what specific changes youth activists are calling for in our DC schools and why.

Graphic: Litigation Skills Series Drafting Client Declarations

Litigation Skills Series: Drafting Client Declarations – Who, What, When, Where, Why

In this skills-based training, you will obtain the skills necessary to draft effective declarations. We will provide you with the tools you need to understand how and when to use a declaration to tell your client’s story. We will provide practice tips for writing declarations, including how to assist clients with language access needs and those experiencing trauma. Additionally, we will cover a range of advocacy and style considerations when drafting a persuasive declaration.  We will draw on examples from immigration, family law, and housing cases, but the skills and information will be applicable to other legal services practices. During this session, you will have a chance to draft a declaration, collaborate with peers, and receive feedback in order to build your skillset. Our conversation will be led by: Andrea Mangones, Managing Attorney, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) Jenadee Nanini, Family Law Staff Attorney, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center This Litigation Skills Series session is free to attend, but registration is required, and donations are encouraged to support our programs! Grab a colleague and reserve your spot today.

Graphic: Best Practices In Pro Bono: Self-Care During Crisis

Best Practices in Pro Bono: Self-Care During Crisis

We continue to live in uncertain and unpredictable times. Self-care is especially important during times of crisis. Whether you’re a pro bono counsel/coordinator or legal services attorney, you can't expect to be able to provide support and guidance to your pro bono lawyers when you're running on empty. The next Best Practices in Pro Bono session focuses on how crisis management takes a toll on wellness and how pro bono coordinators can engage in the work even if we are not on “the front lines.”  We'll talk about strategies for re-charging your batteries and addressing feelings of overwhelm. When you take time to replenish your reserves, you can better serve others. And the best part is you can share these tips and strategies with your volunteers. Join our panelists from different sectors of the legal community for a dive into how to care for yourself and your volunteers. Niki Irish, Outreach and Education Coordinator, D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program Harmony Jones, Deputy Pro Bono Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson LLP Bonnie Prober, Social Worker/Attorney Murray Scheel, Senior Staff Attorney, Whitman-Walker Legal Services Our discussion will be moderated by Lise Adams, Pro Bono Counsel, Sidley Austin LLP. This session will take place on Thursday, March 3, from 12:00-1:15 pm ET. Following the panel, you are invited to join a small group breakout room for 15 minutes with one of our panelists for further discussion and networking. Join us to learn, and stay after the panel to continue the conversation! Best Practices is free to attend, but registration is required, and donations are encouraged to support our programs! RSVP today and invite a friend or colleague to join you!

Graphic: Improv For Lawyers

Improv for Lawyers

Hosted by Washington Improv Theater Attorneys often find themselves in high-stakes discussions and negotiations that are beyond their full control. Along with their knowledge of the law, to be successful they need the ability to listen fully, engage and persuade, read the room, adapt, and creatively solve problems in the midst of uncertainty and change. Every night improvisers hit the stage, they engage and delight audiences entirely without a script. It’s opening and closing night, all at once. Yet despite the impromptu nature of improv, improvisers still rehearse every week, using improv principles and games to build skills in communication, collaboration, and creativity–core competencies equally critical for legal professionals. In this one-hour workshop, participants will learn and explore new improv-based principles and skills to better engage with clients and colleagues, to negotiate effectively and creatively, and present and persuade successfully, including in high-stakes, off-the-cuff situations. About the Instructor John Windmueller, PhD John Windmueller serves as the Director of WIT@Work, the applied improv and organizational training branch of Washington Improv Theater. John has over two decades of experience designing, delivering, and overseeing professional training and graduate education focused on communication, collaboration, and creativity. In addition to his education and training background, he holds a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from the Carter School and has extensive experience working as a facilitator and mediator, helping groups and communities have constructive conversations. Along with directing WIT@Work, John performs regularly at WIT and at improv festivals throughout the U.S. Washington Improv Theater has graciously offered 50% off the full ticket price for Washington Council of Lawyers members (join). You will register on WIT's event page. Email Christina Jackson at cjackson@wclawyers.org for the member discount code.

Graphic: Going Public

Going Public: Tips on Navigating a Career in Public-Interest Law

Going Public: Tips on Navigating a Career in Public-Interest Law offers a real-world, tip-filled conversation on how to navigate your way to a fulfilling public-interest career. Our panelists draw from their expansive legal careers spanning all sectors of the legal community, including fellowships, clerkships, big and small law firms, government service, national non-profits, and local legal services organizations. They have walked the walk. Now they will share what they have learned with you! Our panelists include: Jane Garrido, Senior Attorney for International Affairs and USERRA at the U.S. Department of Labor Taryn Wilgus Null, Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Employment Litigation Section Stuart McPhail, Litigation Counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington The panel will be moderated by Deborah Birnbaum, Washington Council of Lawyers Membership Committee Co-Chair, and Assistant General Counsel at the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Our government panelists will be speaking in their personal capacities. Drawing on their personal experience and knowledge of the legal community, this panel will share tips helpful to law students planning an immediate launch into a public-interest position and practicing lawyers seeking to move from private practice to a public-interest career. Law student attendees who join Washington Council of Lawyers by Monday, February 28 will be able to participate in an informational interview program for law students, get access to Washington Council of Lawyers' bi-monthly newsletter and Public Interest Jobs Clearinghouse (which provides DC area and national public interest legal positions, post-graduate legal fellowship, policy and academic positions, and internship/law clerk positions), and enjoy additional mentoring opportunities with Washington Council of Lawyers members. The program is free for law students and Washington Council of Lawyers members (join) and just $5 for all others.

Graphic: LSS Intensive Legal Writing Workshop

Litigation Skills Series: Intensive Legal Writing Workshop

SOLD OUT! WAITLIST AVAILABLE No matter where you practice, the ability to convey your message in clear, concise, and persuasive terms can be the key to success. Basics such as sentence structure, word choice, and word placement all affect the structure of your argument and the impact of your writing. The art of legal writing can only be learned through repetition, practice, and feedback. This session will give you the opportunity to discuss an actual piece of writing you submit for review and get direct feedback on the finer points of persuasive legal writing. Join us on Thursday, February 24, from 12:00-1:30 pm ET via Zoom for a continuation of our Litigation Skills Series: Legal Writing. In this Intensive Legal Writing Workshop, you will receive one-on-one feedback on your piece, which will include a redline review and a discussion of how to make your writing more effective. This course is $45 for Washington Council of Lawyers members (join) and $75 for non-members. Scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. Reach out to Christina Jackson at cjackson@wclawyers.org if you are interested in applying for a scholarship. This session is limited to 16 participants. You will be matched with a reviewer and given instructions via email about how to submit your writing sample on February 11. Don't miss this opportunity to talk with some of the best legal writers in our community about how to make your arguments more effective.

Graphic: New Year New Direction Blog Post

New Year, New Direction!

Happy New Year! Like many of you, I am reflecting on what has come before and what I’m looking forward to in the new year. Usually, that means making personal New Year’s resolutions that I may or may not keep through February and setting professional goals for the next 12 months. But this year is different. This year marks nearly two years since the start of the global pandemic that changed everything, which has prompted us as a society to think about how those who are low-income are most impacted. How we provide services, what effective client representation means, how the courts operate, client and lawyer well-being, and more all became topics of intense discussion and unprecedented cultural shifts.
Graphic: Litigation Skills Series Legal Writing

Litigation Skills Series: Legal Writing

Every lawyer needs to write well. And, every lawyer can improve their writing skills. Don't miss this opportunity to set yourself up for writing success. Join us for a jam-packed 90 minutes of learning how to write more concisely, clearly, and powerfully for any audience.  Our instructor will be Becky Troth, former D.C. Pro Bono Center Executive Director, Sidley Pro Bono Counsel, and legal writing instructor. Becky joined the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center in February 2017. Previously, she was pro bono counsel for Sidley Austin’s Washington, D.C., office, where she coordinated the firm’s pro bono activities for 10 years. Before joining Sidley, she was the legal director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, taught legal writing and appellate advocacy at American University Washington College of Law, and served as a senior attorney in the Appellate Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Becky was counsel to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno from 2000 to 2001. This workshop is free thanks to the generosity of the DC Bar Foundation. This training is so popular, it's sold out twice. Save your spot today!

Graphic: Government Pro Bono Roundtable

Government Pro Bono Roundtable 2022

Our Government Pro Bono Roundtable is the perfect opportunity to learn about doing pro bono work as a government lawyer. Pro bono work can be a rewarding part of a government career; you just need to be familiar with the resources, policies, and strategies that allow you to do the work effectively. At this lively discussion, you'll learn about established pro bono programs for government lawyers. Our pro bono experts will share why pro bono work is meaningful to them, tips for managing your schedule and finding the support you need, and info about the many different types of pro bono work available to government lawyers. Our panel will include: Nichelle Johnson Billips, USAID Kate Hudson, U.S. Government Accountability Office Jonathan Jacobson, U.S. Department of Justice Laura Klein, Pro Bono Program Manager, U.S. Department of Justice The panel will be moderated by Prianka Sharma, Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration, and Washington Council of Lawyers board member.  The government lawyer panelists will share their experiences from their personal perspectives in their individual capacities, and will not be speaking on behalf of their agencies. Join us to find out how you can dive into pro bono work as a government lawyer!

Graphic: Gifts Blog Post

Give the gift of pro bono inspiration this year!

The hustle and bustle of the holidays are here. Our shopping list now includes gifts for loved ones we hold dear. We want to suggest these six pro bono and racial justice-focused must-reads carefully curated for you or the legal bookworm in your life. We hope these stories inspire you or your gift recipient to spread that holiday feeling of warmth and cheer to others in need by taking on a pro bono commitment in the new year. “A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom” by Brittany Barnett is a riveting memoir about how Barnett’s life was forever changed when she began taking clemency cases pro bono while she worked as a corporate tax lawyer. Her many successes included winning release for many individuals who had been sentenced to life for minor drug infractions. The book is guaranteed to inspire those who read it, as it is a story about hope and justice. “Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much” by Eldar Shafir and Sendhil Mullainathan delves into research from behavioral science and economics to draw surprising connections between busy attorneys and clients living in poverty, in a way that hopefully encourages attorneys to understand how scarcity affects everyone’s daily lives. They also introduce the idea of fault-tolerant systems, which is so important in thinking about how to serve our clients best. “Firekeeper’s Daughter” by Angeline Boulley, which is based on the author’s experience growing up as a biracial woman in the Ojibwe community of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, is a true-crime adventure and an insightful journey into what it means to be a part of two cultures. "Law Man: Memoir of a Jailhouse Lawyer" by Shon Hopwood is about an incarcerated person who, with pro bono counsel, brought some successful prisoners' rights challenges to the Supreme Court of the United States. "Unbillable Hours: A True Story" by Ian Graham is another easy read: first year, big-law associate takes on pro bono case and discovers the "injustice system." “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America” by Clint Smith takes you on an eye-opening tour of various present-day landmarks and explains their connection to the country’s era of slavery.

Graphic 2021 Awardees Collage

2021 50th Anniversary Awards Ceremony and Celebration

Even though our 2021 Awards Ceremony was virtual again this year, we had a lot to celebrate and the atmosphere created by our community made it feel like we were all in the same room. Our public interest community is warm, welcoming, insightful, and inspiring, and we brought all those elements and more to honoring our 2021 Awards Recipients. The Law Firm Award recipient Arnold & Porter has been a long-time and committed partner of Washington Council of Lawyers and the public-interest community since the beginning. Pro bono is a fundamental part of the firm’s culture, values, and history. In 2020 alone, firm lawyers provided more than 121,000 hours of pro bono service. And the firm is consistently recognized as a leader in pro bono service. Lastly, we are grateful for the firm's encouragement of their attorney's participation in outside organizations such as ours. Retired partners Larry Schneider and Phil Horton, Counsel Mary Kennedy, Lead Attorney & Managing Director of the eData Group Melissa Weberman, and Director of Pro Bono Marsha Tucker have been active and engaged members of our Board of Directors. Their contributions are immeasurable. We are proud to call Arnold & Porter an ally and pleased to honor them for their contributions to our organization and our community. Nichelle Johnson Billips of USAID is a leader among her colleagues and the government in service to the community. She not only engages in pro bono work herself but also promotes pro bono work throughout USAID, helping ensure it remains a priority in the office. As her colleagues note, "Nichelle’s work and leadership serves as an inspiration to us all for how to live our values as lawyers and members of the community." We were honored to present her with our Government Pro Bono Award. Our Legal Services Award went to Leah Myers from Legal Counsel for the Elderly for her almost 20 years of service to tenants and older adults. Through her management of LCE's Hotline alone, she has positively impacted nearly 10,000 older adults annually. Her colleagues share that her greatest contribution might be the large number of attorneys and judges that she has trained, mentored, and educated. She is a force to be reckoned with, and a shining example of dedication and commitment. Lastly, it is fitting that in our 50th year, we honored Susie Hoffman, Pro Bono Counsel at Crowell & Moring, with the Presidents Award for Public Service. Susie is a trailblazer, mentor, and leader in the public-interest community. She has dedicated her career to pro bono and has personally made a difference for many families in the District. And she has undertaken numerous leadership roles in our community. But beyond her professional accomplishments, Susie is a true hero to her clients and colleagues. She is simply a legend. 50 Years seems like both a long time and just yesterday. We were thrilled to share this evening with friends old and new, honor truly outstanding pro bono advocates, and celebrate 50 years of service. For more inspiration, rewatch our 50th Anniversary video and Attorney General Karl Racine's remarks.

2021 Government Pro Bono Award: Nichelle Johnson Billips

Washington Council of Lawyers delighted to announce Nichelle Johnson Billips as the recipient of our 2021 Government Pro Bono Award.  Nichelle is an attorney-advisor in the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a leader among her colleagues and the government in service to the community.  
Photo: Christina Jackson Headshot

Welcome Our New Executive Director Christina Jackson

Today we welcome Christina Jackson as our new Executive Director. Christina has spent her career helping lawyers and law students do public-interest work, and we’re thrilled to appoint her to this new role. “I am honored to be selected by our board of directors as our next Executive Director,” said Christina. “I look forward to continuing to support the dedicated pro bono and public-interest advocates who make a difference in the lives of our neighbors and ensuring that our legal system treats everyone fairly, regardless of money, position, or power.” Christina began her career working and doing pro bono at large and small law firms, providing career advice to law students in the Office of Career and Professional Development at American University, Washington College of Law, and brings legal association experience from her time at NALP. She is a graduate of Penn State and the University of Richmond School of Law. Christina also has a long history with Washington Council of Lawyers. She previously was a member of our board of directors where she served as Vice President and co-chaired our Advocacy Committee. She left the board to become our Deputy Director four years ago. In that role, she has coordinated the growth of DC Pro Bono Week into a nationally-recognized initiative, led our groundbreaking Eviction Defense cohort program, supported our stellar communications team, and reinvigorated our longstanding mentoring program.  In welcoming Christina, we say goodbye to our outgoing Executive Director,  Nancy Lopez. Nancy has been a stalwart leader of Washington Council of Lawyers with a passion for our mission and an unwavering commitment to access to justice work. We have been fortunate to have her hand at the helm through unprecedented growth and once-in-a-lifetime challenges.  "Serving as Executive Director of Washington Council of Lawyers has been the privilege of a lifetime," said Nancy. "I carry with me deep gratitude for the many kind and brilliant people with whom I have worked and profound pride in what we have accomplished during the last 11 years." Thank you Nancy for your service. We look forward to great things ahead with Christina's leadership.

Graphic: DC Pro Bono Week 2021

DC Pro Bono Week 2021: Eventful & Inspiring

That's a wrap on DC Pro Bono Week 2021! But the increased legal need for pro bono lawyers continues beyond Pro Bono Week. As we move into the next phase of the pandemic recovery, the unprecedented legal needs crisis will only increase. Now is the time to volunteer your time to help a neighbor in need. As lawyers, we have a duty and obligation to help bridge the access to justice gap. Whether it’s by taking on a pro bono case, volunteering for an advice and referral clinic, contributing to systemic advocacy, or financially supporting a legal services organization, we can all do something for the public good.
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