Over the past two years, civil rights in the United States have been under attack. The Dobbs decision marks the first time in its history that the Supreme Court has revoked a previously recognized constitutional right. After the 2020 elections, many state lawmakers have focused their efforts on passing laws erecting unnecessary barriers for people to vote which disproportionately impact people of color, students, the elderly, and people with disabilities. And while many have invoked the name of George Floyd in calling for racial justice and equity in recent years, have we actually achieved any progress in securing those goals? This panel will examine where we find ourselves now in a Post-Dobbs, Post-George Floyd, and Post-Big Lie World.
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 here. You must sign up before 8:00 am ET on Monday, October 24. And join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using#DCProBono22!
Co-Hosted by Bread for the City and Children's Law Center Bread for the City and Children’s Law Center will co-host this event to discuss their respective legal services work East of the Anacostia River and the importance of pro bono in serving D.C. neighbors. Join us to learn how lawyers can address non-medical barriers to health, the benefits of co-locating legal services with non-lawyer professionals, and how you can get involved with Bread for the City and Children’s Law Center. Registrants will receive a Zoom link in advance of the event. Join the conversation on social media using #DCProBono22.
Hosted 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 two, one-day pop-up legal clinics to serve the needs of veterans. These clinics will be held via a virtual platform. Clinics: Advice & Referral Clinic for Women Veterans Tuesday, October 25 10:00 am - 4:30 pm ET Legal Advice & Referral Clinic Friday, October 28 10:00 am - 4:30 pm ET To volunteer, reach out to Chesley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Only female attorneys are allowed to volunteer for the women’s clinic. And join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using#DCProBono22!
Hosted by Children's Law Center, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, Mother's Outreach Network Please join us for a lively panel discussion on the need for pro bono representation in cases impacting families. This panel will discuss the challenges our clients face in securing representation and dispelling myths about who our clients are. Panelists will share their experiences representing parents, third-party caregivers, and the best interests of children. Come learn why access to justice in family law means everyone has a lawyer. Attendees will receive information about how they can get involved, ranging from limited scope to extended representation. Registrants will receive a Zoom link in advance of the event. Our discussion will be led by: Jen Masi (Children’s Law Center) Jenadee Nanini (D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center) Keeshea Turner Roberts (Delaware Law School, Widener University) Melody Webb (Mother’s Outreach Network) Join the conversation on social media using #DCPBW22!
DC Pro Bono Week 2022 officially kicks off with Pro Bono Goes Local on Monday, October 24, from 9:30-10:30 am ET via Zoom. This launch event begins with opening remarks from Chief Judge Blackburne-Rigsby from the D.C. Court of Appeals, and Chief Judge Josey-Herring from the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. Next, we will feature a panel of inspiring legal services attorneys who will provide valuable updates on community legal needs and identify specific ways pro bono attorneys can get involved. Don't miss the chance to find out about the most pressing pro bono needs of the day. Our lightning round experts will give updates about these important pro bono practice areas: domestic violence, family law, immigration, consumer issues, public benefits, housing, and criminal record sealing. Join us for the kickoff of our week-long celebration of pro bono! We'll share a wealth of information on the hot topics in pro bono and give you a chance to connect with great pro bono opportunities! Pro Bono Goes Local is free to attend, but advance registration is required. Spread the word! Invite a friend! #DCProBono22
Hosted by Mother's Outreach Network Mother's Outreach Network is hosting a community-based tax workshop followed by a brief advice clinic that will inform D.C. parents and caregivers about their eligibility for refundable tax credits. In partnership with pro bono attorneys, we will aid families in claiming their rightful tax credits to increase their family income and overall well-being. We are seeking attorneys, paralegals, and law students to provide advice and guidance to parents through one-on-one clinic appointments following the parents' tax workshop information session. A tax law background is not required to volunteer! Parents' Tax Workshop will take place on Tuesday, October 18 at 11:00 am ET at the Southwest Family Enhancement Center, 203 N Street, SW. Volunteers are required to attend a virtual training on Tuesday, October 11 at 7:00 pm ET. Register for the training here.
Hosted by D.C. Environment and Energy Associations (DCEEA) Please join the Washington Council of Lawyers and members of the D.C. Environment and Energy Associations (DCEEA) for a pro bono week panel to discuss ways to get involved in environmental and climate change initiatives. With so much attention being given to climate change, you may be wondering how you can get involved in grass-roots and pro bono efforts. Our panel of experts will discuss ways to get involved in various aspects of pro bono work from litigation, to advocacy, to hands-on non-legal volunteer opportunities. Attendees will leave with tangible ideas and ways to get involved. Our discussion will be led by: Abre’ Conner, Director, Center for Environmental and Climate Justice, NAACP Abbey Doyno, Executive Director, Green Pro Bono Ariel Solaski, Staff Litigation Attorney with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will moderate the discussion.
Hosted by DC Refers This presentation will address ethical implications associated with representing individuals of limited means at a reduced fee. Offering affordable legal representation to people of modest means helps to satisfy a tremendous unmet need in the District of Columbia and many other cities around the country. Topics to be addressed include (i) how the DC Rules of Professional Conduct recognize low bono representation as fulfilling public service obligations under Rule 6.1, (ii) using limited scope representations to serve the needs of low bono clients and lawyers alike, (iii) how applicable ethics authorities permit lawyers to work with non-profit organizations to find clients in need of representation at reduced rates and more. Our speaker will be Charlie Lemley, DC Refers Board Chair, Adjunct Professor of Professional Responsibility at George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School, and Senior Counsel at Wiley LLP. Charlie has years of experience in professional liability and insurance coverage litigation, legal ethics, and issues related to legal diversity. He primarily represents insurance carriers and lawyers in insurance coverage and legal malpractice cases at the trial and appellate levels. He has written numerous articles and presentations on a variety of professional liability and legal ethics topics including third-party claims against lawyers. He recently served as Chair of the District of Columbia Bar’s working group on limited scope legal representation. This program will be choc full of useful and practical information but is not approved for CLE or ethics credits in any jurisdiction. Come and learn! Then join the discussion on social media using #DCPBW22!
A successful trial strategy includes careful planning from the moment you take a case - even if you think it will never get to court. Good case preparation is the key to good advocacy. In this session of our Litigation Skills series, we will explore how to evaluate a case, determine trial strategy, organize the theme of the case, plan for discovery and document review, evaluate witnesses, and make trial decisions during trial. Our discussion will be led by Matthew Edwards, Partner at Ain & Bank. Matthew focuses on high-stakes matrimonial cases involving complex financial arrangements, family-owned or closely held businesses, and complex custody matters. He volunteers as a family law mentor for the D.C. Bar Advice & Referral Clinic and when necessary is a tenacious courtroom advocate at the trial court and appellate levels. 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.
RECONNECT WITH US IN PERSON! Join us as we bring the community back together at our Fall Kickoff. The Fall Kickoff is a chance to meet members of our vibrant pro bono and public-interest community; get more involved in our programs, activities, and committees; meet our new board members and officers; and sign up for our upcoming programs and events. And, it's fun! At this casual happy hour, you can learn about how to get involved in our work, gain pro bono and public-interest advocacy skills, and build strong professional connections. Our Fall Kickoff is free, thanks to our hosts Goodwin Procter. We hope you will attend, and invite friends to join you! Spread the word! #FallKickoff22 RSVPs are requested so that we know how many to expect.
By now, everyone knows not to post inappropriate pictures on their social media page. But do you know how to use social media and digital platforms to position yourself as a knowledgeable, competent, and passionate advocate in your chosen practice area? Do you know how to go beyond the basics to develop a communications plan that will help you reach your career goals? At Professional Presence - Digital Edition, Renata Aguilera-Titus, Director of Communications and Development at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, will show you how to develop a professional communications strategy and give you concrete guidance to make your online time efficient and impactful. We will discuss how to align your professional social media with the mission of your organization (or the organization you'd like to join), how and when to comment on news of the day, and who to go to if you need help. We'll go far beyond the basics of a LinkedIn profile. We'll discuss how to create a professional online presence that will gain you the kind of attention that moves your career forward. This program is ideal for law students, new lawyers, and anyone who wants to take control of their online presence. Once you register, join the conversation, follow along for tips, and share your thoughts on social media using #ProPresence
Lawyers hold leadership positions across many segments of American society -- not only in law firms, corporate legal departments, and public interest organizations, but in public service, business, academia, and a variety of non-profit organizations. But unlike other disciplines, the law profession does not adequately prepare its leaders. In order to be prepared for leadership roles, lawyers must look for opportunities for growth from the very beginning of their careers. During this discussion, we will explore the basics of leadership for lawyers, such as the characteristics that make for strong leaders. We will also discuss leadership styles in various settings and how to plan for leadership development. It's never too early to start developing leadership skills. Jim Sandman teaches Leadership in Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Prior to joining Penn Law full-time in 2020, he was President of the Legal Services Corporation, General Counsel of the District of Columbia Public Schools, Managing Partner of Arnold & Porter, and President of the District of Columbia Bar. He also serves on Washington Council of Lawyers' Honorary Board. Follow the conversation on social media using #LawLeadership.
Our pro bono clients entrust us to share their stories – whether to win their case before a judge, to recruit a volunteer to handle their case, or to promote our pro bono programs. How can we share these compelling, often extremely personal narratives in a responsible manner that respects our clients’ dignity and authenticity, without losing its impact? When recounting the experiences of clients living in under-served communities of color, how can we best convey important economic and racial justice implications without using stereotypes and overgeneralization as a shortcut? Our panel of experts will share their best practices for responsible storytelling. Our panelists include: Allyson Boucher, Communications Director, Children’s Law Center Ciarra Crowe, Senior Communications Coordinator, Children's Law Center Patrick Orciani, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Legal Aid Society of DC Ben Weinberg, Pro Bono Partner, Dentons Paul Lee, Pro Bono Counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP will moderate our discussion. Our conversation will take place 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!
By Don Resnikoff Public Justice and other Washington, D.C. area public interest organizations are advocating for law reform to prohibit overly broad secrecy orders in litigated cases. One goal is legislation that will limit court entry of orders that permit parties to withhold and keep secret important consumer information without substantial justification. Several states have enacted “right to know” anti-secrecy laws that address the problem, including Florida, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, and Washington State. A California anti-secrecy law is being considered by legislators and may be adopted in the near future. Neither the District of Columbia, Maryland, nor Virginia have such laws. The DC Consumer Rights Coalition, D.C. Bar Consumer and D.C. Affairs Communities/Sections, and others, plan to present a program this Summer in which attorneys representing Public Justice will advocate for local “right to know” law reform. One model for such local advocacy is the California “Public Right to Know Act” which was recently passed by the California State Senate. As explained by Public Justice at https://www.publicjustice.net/california-senate-passes-public-right-to-know-act/, California Senate Bill 1149 would protect the public’s right to know the facts about dangerous public hazards that are discovered during litigation. The Public Justice posting explains that the California “Public Right to Know Act”— would do the following: Create a presumption that no court order may conceal information about a defective product or environmental hazard that poses a danger to public health or safety unless the court finds that the public interest in disclosure is clearly outweighed by a specific and substantial need for secrecy. Prohibit settlement agreements that restrict the disclosure of information about a defective product or environmental hazard that poses a danger to public health or safety, and make any provision in an agreement void as against public policy, and thus unenforceable. Narrowly tailor its application to only information about a “danger to public health or safety” that is likely to cause “significant or substantial bodily injury or illness, or death.” Sponsoring California Senator Connie M. Leyva explained that “Information about defects and hazards created by companies should never be hidden behind a veil of courthouse secrecy that can endanger the lives and safety of Californians . . . .The public must have access to this vital information so that they can decide—for themselves—how they can protect themselves and their families from these defective products or toxic hazards. It is unconscionable that any company would ever seek to keep critical information that can lead to injuries or even deaths from the public—and all because of their desire to keep making profits. I thank my Senate colleagues that voted for SB 1149 today, as they are standing on the side of the public by helping to prevent future injuries or deaths.” The Public Justice posting explains that for decades, overly broad court protective orders have enabled companies to shield evidence of threats to public safety and other corporate wrongdoing. Consumers Union has for many years supported “right to know” legislation in California. Elisa Odabashian, Senior Policy Analyst with Consumers Union’s West Coast Office, made the following statement in 2000 in support of legislative proposals resembling the current SB 1149 that would limit secret out-of-court settlements in product defect, environmental hazard, unfair insurance claims practice or financial fraud lawsuits. “Many lives could be saved and much suffering could be averted if corporations were not allowed to use secrecy orders in court settlements to hide information about product defects, environmental hazards, or financial fraud.” “The Firestone/Ford tire tragedies highlight how secrecy orders can have very serious consequences on public safety. Over the last decade–long before the recent recall of millions of Firestone tires sold largely on the popular Ford Explorer–there were 50-100 Firestone tire lawsuits. Most of these court cases were settled with secrecy orders in place that effectively kept information about the potential dangers associated with the tires from the public. According to the Detroit Free Press, to date, there have been 119 deaths and 500 serious injuries associated with Firestone tire tread separations. Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented if secret settlements had been barred.” Further information will be forthcoming about the upcoming DC Consumer Rights Coalition, DC Bar Consumer and D.C. Affairs Communities/Sections program in which attorneys representing Public Justice will advocate for local “right to know” law reform. Don Resnikoff is a member of Washington Council of Lawyers' Advocacy Committee.