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Nominations now open for our 2021 Legal Services and Government Pro Bono Awards!

16 August 2021   Blog, Featured

We are now accepting nominations for our 2021 Legal Services Award and Government Pro Bono Award. Each year at our Awards Ceremony, we recognize the extraordinary work of some of the District’s most dedicated public-interest and government pro bono lawyers. Our 2021 Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday, December 2. Our Legal Services Award recognizes a dynamic legal-services lawyer who represents low-income clients, works to improve access to justice, or thinks creatively to solve difficult legal problems. Our Government Pro Bono Award commends a dedicated government lawyer who also volunteers time to organize pro bono efforts or represent low-income clients. Nomination materials are due by 5 pm ET on Monday, October 4, 2021. The awards criteria and nomination instructions are below. Legal Services Award Our Legal Services Award recognizes the work of lawyers who serve in the public interest community: the staff attorneys who provide outstanding representation to low-income individuals day in and day out. These may be rising stars or unsung heroes – but they demonstrate a passion for helping people and a hunger for increasing access to justice. We’re looking for nominees with one or more of the following characteristics: An advocate who has not previously been widely, publicly recognized for her or his work and whose work benefits low-income or otherwise marginalized clients in the Greater DC Metro Region; An individual who supports the DC public-interest community in improving the access to justice for those who cannot afford an attorney; An advocate who has endeavored to bring together the public-interest, pro bono, and government legal communities to improve the quality and availability of free legal services for those in need; and Someone who has gone above and beyond the normal requirements of their job to assist persons in need or has demonstrated outside-the-box thinking about how to resolve difficult legal issues. Past Winners: 2020 Allison Miles-Lee, Bread for the City 2019 Tricia Monroe, The Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia 2018  Lindsy Miles-Hare, Ayuda 2017  Tracy Goodman, Children’s Law Center 2016: Thomas “Skip” Mark, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center 2015: Rebecca Lindhurst, Bread for the City 2014: Jodi Feldman, The Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia Government Pro Bono Award The Government Pro Bono Award highlights the important (and often overlooked) pro bono contributions made by government lawyers. Pro bono service can take many forms and is not limited to direct legal representation or litigation.  Past recipients have promoted access to justice in a variety of ways and in many different substantive practice areas. The Government Pro Bono Award recipient will be a government attorney who has made significant pro bono contributions. The pro bono work performed may include, but is not limited to activities such as: Involvement in establishing or implementing an agency pro bono program; Increasing the level of pro bono service by agency attorneys through promotion or facilitation of pro bono opportunities; Mentoring or training agency lawyers handling pro bono matters, litigating cases or providing non-litigation legal services to low income people or entities; or Participating regularly in pro bono clinics. Please note that the above lists of pro bono activities are not exhaustive. We gladly will consider nominations of attorneys who have performed other kinds of pro bono service. Past Winners: 2020: Jo Bahn, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation 2019   Marissa Schnaith, U.S. Department of Labor 2018   Catalina Martinez, U.S. Small Business Administration 2017   Deborah Birnbaum, U.S. Department of Labor 2016  Katrina Rouse, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2015   Kathryn Legomsky, U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development 2014   John Bowers, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2013   Jay Owen, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2012   Edward Eliasberg, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2011   Karen Shrimp, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 2010   John Warshawsky, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2009   Sean Keveney, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2008   Paul Kendall, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Department of Justice 2007   James Yoon, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2006   Mark Pletcher, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2005   Julie Abbate, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice 2004   Laura Klein, Pro Bono Program, U.S. Department of Justice 2003   Claire McGuire, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation & Department of Treasury Nomination Instructions  Nominations should describe the nominee’s relevant professional activities, including (1) a description of the legal services and/or other efforts upon which the nomination is based, (2) an explanation of the impact of that work on clients, other advocates, and/or others and (3) the time period covered by the activities. Nomination materials should be no longer than 6 pages in length, including the nomination, resume, and any other supporting documents, such as letters of recommendation. Nomination materials should be submitted to info@wclaywers.org. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Lopez at 202.942.5063. Deadline  ​ All nominations must be received by 5:00 pm ET on Monday, October 4. Learn more about the Awards Ceremony and past award winners.

Best Practices in Pro Bono: Difficult Conversations on Racial Justice

28 July 2021   Blog, Featured

The racial justice reckoning that began last year set the stage for many crucial, yet difficult, conversations about how we move forward toward a just and equitable society. On Monday, July 26th, we continued this important discussion through our Best Practices in Pro Bono Series virtual panel event.

50 Years of Leadership: Past President Marc Efron

21 July 2021   Blog, Featured

Marc Efron, part of the group of progressive Washington, DC attorneys who founded Washington Council of Lawyers, was the second board president. Marc shared this background and memories from his tenure as board president.

2021 Fellowships 101 Resources

21 July 2021   Blog, Featured

Annually, Washington Council of Lawyers hosts Fellowships 101, where law students and aspiring public-interest lawyers learn about the fellowship process and receive concrete tips for creating a successful fellowship application. This year’s event was virtual, but our expert panelists made the experience interactive and helpful. This summary also includes additional resources and important dates and links.

Supreme Court: View from the Press Gallery 2021 Recap

14 July 2021   Blog, Featured

On Wednesday, July 7, 2021, over 225 law students, lawyers, and legal aficionados attended Supreme Court: View from the Press Gallery, our annual panel of journalists who dish and discuss the inside scoop on SCOTUS, and the Justices.

50th Anniversary Celebration

25 June 2021   Blog, Featured

50 years ago — Washington Council of Lawyers was founded to reform the DC Bar and fight for social justice. Today — Washington Council of Lawyers is a vibrant voice for the DC pro bono and public-interest community, fighting for access to justice, with more than 70 programs during the past year. Washington Council of Lawyers has a rich history of service and advocacy, and last week we were thrilled to host our founders, past presidents, long-time members, community partners, and new friends for our 50th Anniversary Reunion.

Tips for a Successful Remote Summer Experience

23 June 2021   Blog, Featured

Summer associates and summer interns from across the country joined our Intern Happy Hour last week for a discussion of what to expect from their summer experience. Our expert panel of supervisors from the government, law firms, and legal service providers gave tips and advice on how to make a remote internship successful.

Summer Forum 2021: Criminal Law & Death Penalty Pro Bono Opportunities

22 June 2021   Blog, Featured

The final session of our Summer Forum 2021 was the Criminal Law and Death Penalty Panel. This topic is of utmost importance, especially after the racial reconning this year, because of the unfortunate reality that communities of color are disproportionally affected by the criminal justice system. The panel discussed the impactful work they do and the ways that the broader legal community can help be a part of addressing these injustices within our society.

Summer Forum 2021: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Lawyers Are At The Forefront of Change

22 June 2021   Blog, Featured

The final day of our Summer Forum 2021 began with a panel on civil rights and civil liberties which highlighted how this past year has increased awareness of the disparities in our nation between people groups. Because of these disparities, there is a great need for lawyers to take part in pro bono civil rights and civil liberties work which promotes equal rights and justice for all people.

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