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Photo: 40th Anniversary Panel With Patricia Wald

The Public-Interest Legacy of Judge Patricia Wald

By Gregory M. Lipper Public-interest lawyers can and did learn a lot from Judge Patricia Wald, who died at age 90 on January 12. Many knew her as a giant of the District’s bar and bench—an influential writer turned successful public-interest litigator turned pathbreaking federal judge turned international war-crimes jurist. Fewer, perhaps, know that she was one of the lawyers who founded our own organization, Washington Council of Lawyers, in the early 1970s. Through it all, she marched to the beat of her own drummer, retaining a zeal for helping vulnerable people, a refreshing sense of humility and candor, and a willingness to push hard—and tell people what they didn’t want to hear—on behalf of society’s most vulnerable.
Photo: Overhead Of Nicole Austin-Hillery And David Cole

2018 Summer Forum: Photos

Yesterday we held our annual Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum, featuring a discussion with ACLU National Legal Director David Cole and breakout panels on different types of pro bono and public-interest practice. Enjoy a few photos from the event.
Photo: Deborah Birnbaum Acceptance Speech

2017 Awards Ceremony: Photo Album

Thanks again to everyone who joined us last week for our 2017 Awards Ceremony, and special thanks to our award winners for the work that they do to serve our community. (more…)
Graphic: 2017 Awards Ceremony

Our 2017 Award Recipients

Our 2017 Awards Ceremony takes place on December 5, and this year we'll honor the following extraordinary lawyers and firms: (more…)
Photo: Mike Nardotti

Pro Bono Week Profile: Mike Nardotti (Squire Patton Boggs)

By Maureen Thomas Major General Mike Nardotti (US Army, Retired and former The Judge Advocate General, US Army) is a Senior Partner at  Squire Patton Boggs. The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program recently recognized Mike for over 20 years of service to veterans and their families, caregivers and survivors, as a member of TVC’s National Volunteer Corps. Over the past 25 years, lawyers like Mike from Squire Patton Boggs have supported The Veterans Consortium with over 92 engagements in federal courts, participated in specialized Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims trainings, and assisted TVC in dramatically improving our ability to provide free legal services to veterans and their loved ones. (more…)
Photo: Fannie Mae Lawyers

Pro Bono Week Profile: In-House Lawyers at Fannie Mae

Kaley, age 13, was living with her grandmother in El Salvador when local gangs began to target her and her family. Her grandmother owns a local diner where neighborhood police officers and prosecutors often ate; as a result, gang members decided that she was pro-government and anti-gang. Gang members assaulted Kaley’s grandmother and targeted Kaley, threatening to kidnap and assault her. Kaley fled the country. (more…)
Photo: Alexis DeBernardis

Pro Bono Week Profile: Alexis DeBernardis (Crowell & Moring)

By Children's Law Center Sleigh bells ring, judge is listening—is not your typical holiday medley. But it provided the soundtrack last December for five-year-old Charlie Young while Alexis DeBernardis, his pro bono counsel, fought for him in his custody case.  (Names have been changed to protect client anonymity.) Alexis is an associate at Crowell & Moring, but she also volunteers as a pro bono lawyer with Children’s Law Center (CLC). (more…)
Photo: Lara Burke

Pro Bono Week Profile: Lara Burke (Bruch Hanna)

By Priya Konings Representing unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children is challenging, and Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) is always looking for pro bono lawyers with the time, patience, and enthusiasm to handle a pro bono immigration case for our clients. When Lara Burke of Bruch Hanna came to us, we knew that we'd found someone who could rise to the occasion. (more…)
Photo: Ryan Guilds

Pro Bono Week Profile: Ryan Guilds (Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer)

By Melanie Orhant Ryan Guilds is a lawyer at Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer and board chair of Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC). Over the past eighteen years, he's found that pro bono work offers the chance to do "that not only feels good but also gives you skills as a lawyer." And Ryan has done pro bono work in spades.  Ryan's pro bono work started before he was actually a lawyer. While a 1L at the University of North Carolina School of Law, he worked on capital cases and developed an interest in prisoner's rights. (more…)
Photo: David Young

Pro Bono Week Profile: David Young (Ropes & Gray)

By Jodi Feldman and Neesa Sethi Earlier this year, David Young, an antitrust associate at Ropes & Gray, received the Klepper Prize for Volunteer Excellence from the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Over the past six years, David has been one of Legal Aid’s most active pro bono volunteers: He's regularly taken on Social Security Disability Insurance/Supplement Security Income (SSDI/SSI) cases and other public benefits matters referred from Legal Aid and other legal-services organizations. (more…)
Photo: Ahuva Battams

Pro Bono Week Profile: Katie Towt & Ahuva Battams (Federal Govt)

By Vanessa Batters-Thompson Katie Towt and Ahuva Battams do not hide from challenges. In April, they made an extraordinary commitment to representing a pro bono client, Ms. E, in her custody case—with only one month to prepare for a trial scheduled to take place over three days.  Ms. E had tried for several months to find counsel, and she struggled to understand court procedures and rules while her children’s father—who sought sole custody of the parties' young children—was represented by an experienced (and well-paid) lawyer. The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advocacy & Justice Clinic recognized that Ms. E was at a tremendous disadvantage and tried to find a lawyer for Ms. E, despite the tight timeline. Fortunately, Katie and Ahuva understood Ms. E’s predicament and got to work right away. “For me, it is the duty of every attorney to help represent people in need," said Ahuva. "I am never too busy to help. I go home to a safe environment with a family who loves me, and I want to give others that safe environment, too.” (more…)
Graphic: DC Pro Bono Week 2017

DC Pro Bono Week 2017: Entertaining an Idea

By Megan Jeffery We all, at times, get disenchanted by the daily grind. Sometimes it's nice to break up the monotony by exploring something new—perhaps sparing an hour or two to investigate something new could inspire you or someone else. With DC Pro Bono Week 2017, Washington Council of Lawyers is offering an opportunity to explore other aspects of the law, in a way that is concise and manageable. Events include: trainings, a happy hour, tours of pro bono sites, a cocktail hour, legal clinics, a luncheon, and a panel. Subject areas include: landlord-tenant, domestic violence, probate, small business, family law, veterans law, children’s law, expungements, and immigration. There is something for everyone. (more…)
Photo: 2017 New Board Members

Our New Board Members (2017)

This year six fine lawyers are joining our Board of Directors: Emily Batt is an associate in the Employment Law Department at Paul Hastings and also serves as the Pro Bono Coordinator for the firm's DC office. Before moving to the District, Emily attended University of Virginia School of Law, worked with the Legal Aid Justice Center and Migrant Farmworker Project, and coordinated UVA’s Immigration Law Program. Emily and her fiancé Noah enjoy hiking and camping with their dog, Liam (recently featured on The Dogs of Public Interest Law). (more…)
Photo: Liam

Dogs of Public Interest Law: Liam

Our new board member, Emily Batt (Paul Hastings) has a great Australian Sheppard named Liam. Check out Liam and all the other public-interest dogs at The Dogs of Public Interest Law.
Graphic: DC Pro Bono Week 2017

DC Pro Bono Week: Coming October 2017

We're just over two months away from D.C. Pro Bono Week 2017, which runs from October 22–28. Although we're still finalizing the schedule of events, here's a taste of some of the events we're planning (more…)
Photo: Ovi The Dog

The Dogs of Public Interest Law: Ovi

New at The Dogs of Public Interest Law: Ovi! Courtesy of Federal Public Defender Caroline Platt.  Check out Ovi and all our other favorite public-interest pups at The Dogs of Public Interest Law on Pinterest.
Photo: RBG With Summer Forum Audience

RBG at #sumfo17

Our 2017 Summer Forum is in the books. Thanks to Justice Ginsburg, everyone who helped plan the event, and all the students who attended! More photos to come soon… (more…)
Photo: Fellowships 101

Fellowships 101: Video + Resources

If you missed last week's Fellowships 101, we've got some resources for you: Delisa Moris's presentation slides about PSJD online resources and Malik's Walker's slides slides about resources available from the Partnership for Public Service. (more…)
Graphic: LSC Funding

Trump Budget Would Eliminate Funding for Legal Services Corp.

This week the White House released its $1.15 trillion budget—which, among other things, that targets domestic programs and calls for eliminating the National Endowment for the Arts, low-income heating assistance, and the AmeriCorps national-service program; it would also reduce funding for, among other things, Environmental Protection Agency, medical research, help for homeless veterans, and community-development grants. Another agency on the chopping block is the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). In FY16, Congress gave LSC $385 million—less than one-ten-thousandth of the federal budget. Our court systems are not designed for people to go it alone; cutting or eliminating LSC funding would especially harm the elderly, victims of domestic violence, veterans, tenants, and those in rural areas. And in many places, LSC-funded legal-aid organizations are the only sources of civil-legal services.
Photo: Global Pro Bono Panelists

Crossing the Border: Global Pro Bono

By Cheryl Polydor "Think globally, act locally." The two increasingly have become one in this age of the global village and the global economy. Local lawyers and judges interested in promoting justice beyond U.S. borders now can do so without leaving home. They also can work directly in the field—whether that means traveling to rural Mexico or North Darfur, Sudan. (more…)
Graphic: 2016 Awards Ceremony

Our 2016 Award Winners

Every year we give out awards to recognize lawyers and firms who provided exceptional pro bono and public-interest service. This year's Awards Ceremony will take place on December 1, and we're pleased to announce this year's winners: (more…)
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