Welcome Amelia Patrick, our 2021 Summer Intern. Amelia is a rising senior at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia with a double major in Economics/International Affairs and a minor in Religion and Public Diplomacy. We are excited to have her contributing to our mission.
The first practice-area panel discussion of the 2021 Summer Forum was held on Thursday, June 3, and the conversation focused on opportunities for pro bono work outside the courtroom. Not all pro bono work involves litigation. There are many opportunities for public-interest careers and pro bono opportunities in areas such as advocacy, transactional work, legal guidance, and advising that can make a powerful impact.
Washington Council of Lawyer’s Annual Summer Forum 2021 began on June 3rd with an enlightening conversation on racial equity and public justice provided by keynote speaker Eric Holder. Eric Holder is a former U.S. Attorney General and self-described, life-long public interest lawyer. For this forum, Mr. Holder was in conversation with Nicole Austin-Hillery, U.S. Program Executive Director for Human Rights Watch and Washington Council of Lawyers Board Member. Throughout this first session of the Summer Forum, a multitude of topics were highlighted, all with the connecting message that lawyers need to utilize their “unique capabilities and responsibilities” for public justice.
Over-policing, inequitable applications of the law, excessively harsh punishments, mass incarceration, and racial injustice are just some of the issues facing criminal defense and death penalty lawyers. The criminal law system disproportionally impacts communities of color and badly needed reform is one step toward a just and equitable society. The scope of the problem requires creative and innovative approaches and increased pro bono representation must be part of the solution. Join us for our final virtual panel, Criminal Law & the Death Penalty, on Thursday, June 17 at 1:15 pm ET to learn how you can get involved.
At our 2021 Summer Forum, the Civil Rights & Civil Liberties panel will explore the critical role lawyers play in protecting individuals’ fundamental rights. Almost daily, there is news of another example of rights violations and ways protections are eroding. Demands to advance racial justice, protect voters’ rights for future elections, safeguard unemployment, and reverse the tide of racial disparity in education are rising. How lawyers can respond to these issues and more will be discussed at the Civil Rights & Civil Liberties panel on Tuesday, June 17, from 12:00-1:15 pm ET.
The 2021 annual Summer Forum Human Rights & Immigration panel features a discussion of the challenges facing human rights and immigration practitioners during the Covid-19 pandemic in DC and across the country. Under normal circumstances, there are often significant barriers for immigration and human rights practitioners to navigate when their clients are detained. As in many areas of legal practice, the pandemic has created new hurdles and exacerbated those that already exist for practitioners in these fields. These practical challenges, language barriers, and the vulnerability of immigrants and other marginalized populations make pro bono representation vital in these cases. This panel presents an opportunity for law students, recent graduates, and new lawyers to learn how to advocate for immigrants across diverse practice areas. It also provides a look at some of the avenues for pro bono and volunteer work as well as a view of the practical and legal issues that attorneys and clients in this area face.
Over the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated socio-economic, health, racial, and gender inequalities in America. It has threatened working and middle-class communities with financial instability and wreaked havoc on families and individuals living in poverty. In the current economic climate, the legal and policy issues discussed at Washington Council of Lawyer’s annual Summer Forum’s Poverty Law Panel take on increased significance. Join us on Thursday, June 10 at noon for the second in our series of five breakout panels exploring ways to incorporate pro bono practice into your professional life and avenues to support under-represented individuals. Our expert panel will discuss the strategies that poverty lawyers employ to serve their clients, explore the wide-ranging legal issues that individuals living in poverty face, and discuss available pro bono opportunities in D.C. and nationwide to help address these needs.
While litigation is likely the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of practicing law, some practice areas involve advising clients on actions to take to avoid disputes or matters that bring parties together rather than break them up. Often these proceedings can be less time-consuming than a litigation matter. Some transactional attorneys may never see the inside of the courtroom. This can be attractive for pro bono lawyers seeking a short time commitment with a big impact.
Jess Rosenbaum was board president during a pivotal point in our history. She shared the following remembrances from her tenure.