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2021 Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum

2021 Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum

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 virtual event with a keynote discussion with Eric Holder, former United States Attorney General, on Thursday, June 3 from 12:00 - 1:00 pm ET. Mr. Holder will engage in a wide-ranging conversation about championing change and advocating for justice, his impressive and varied career, and the importance of pro bono in promoting the rule of law and equal access to justice. A practice-area panel discussion will follow the keynote from 1:15 - 2:15 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 five different 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 3 - Non-Litigation Pro Bono June 10 - Poverty Law June 10 - Human Rights & Immigration June 17 - Civil Rights & Civil Liberties June 17 - Criminal Law & Death Penalty The Summer Forum sessions are from 12:00-2:30 pm ET. Each session will feature two practice area panels with networking opportunities after each session. 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 three days of Summer Forum sessions, and recordings of each session will be sent to all registered attendees. Early bird pricing is available until May 1. 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 #SumFo21 on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

Conversation With Ron Flagg, President Of The Legal Services Corporation

Conversation with Ron Flagg, President of the Legal Services Corporation

We are pleased to co-sponsor the D.C. Bar Public Interest and Courts Community's Conversation with Ron Flagg. Ron is the new President of the Legal Services Corporation, which is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation. The virtual conversation with Ron will be moderated by Karen Newton Cole, Executive Director of Neighborhood Legal Services Program. They will discuss the opportunities and challenges facing legal service providers in 2021 and LSC's plans to address them. As a co-sponsoring organization, all Washington Council of Lawyers members (join) are invited to select the non-profit registration option. The program fee is $10 for those registering before March 18, and $15 if registering after. 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, as registration is required. This conversation is also co-sponsored by the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.

New Member Coffee Break

New Member Coffee Break

Join us for a casual coffee break and an opportunity to meet other members of Washington Council of Lawyers. We will share tips for coping in the new normal of 2021 and hopefully share a few laughs, too. It’s a time to decompress and reconnect! You can learn more about how Washington Council of Lawyers can support you professionally and help you navigate these challenging times. We extend a special invitation to newer members of Washington Council of Lawyers, but all are welcome!  

Litigation Skills Series: Legal Writing

Litigation Skills Series: Legal Writing

Every lawyer needs to write well. And, every lawyer can improve their writing skills. Thus, every lawyer should attend our Legal Writing workshop! 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 Noah Messing, Yale Law School's Lecturer in the Practice of Law and Legal Writing. Professor Messing is the author of "The Art of Advocacy: Briefs, Motions, and Writing Strategies of America's Best Lawyers," and will share tips on effective legal writing. Professor Messing graduated in 2000 from Yale Law School, where he was a Coker Fellow. While at Yale, he received the Benjamin Cardozo Prize for the best moot court brief and the Potter Stewart Prize in the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals program, awarded to the spring semester competition winning team. Following graduation, Noah worked as a trial and appellate litigator in Washington D.C., as Counsel to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and as Associate Counsel to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. This workshop is free, but donations are encouraged. This training was so popular that we had to upgrade our Zoom license to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend. If you can chip in $5, $10, or $20 toward the cost of the Zoom license, we would appreciate it!

Racial Justice Series: Rising To The Top: Diverse Executive Leadership For Non-Profits

Racial Justice Series: Rising to the Top: Diverse Executive Leadership for Non-Profits

During these times when diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging are at the forefront of discussions and we are seeing an increase in trainings and proposed legislation, there is still a small number of minorities that command the leadership of non-profit organizations. If you're interested in exploring and discussing how to expand and increase diversity within the leadership of legal non-profits, this is the program for you! At this important and necessary discussion, you will hear from top minority executives as they share details of their amazing journeys in rising to the top level of their respective organizations. Our executives also will share how they overcame the challenges and obstacles placed before them and provide tips on how to navigate the non-profit leadership space. Our panelists include: Avis Buchanan, Director, The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia Rochanda Hiligh-Thomas, Executive Director, Advocates for Justice and Education Glen O'Gilvie, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Nonprofit Advancement Our conversation will be moderated by Henry E. Floyd, Jr., Senior Associate Attorney, Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP and Washington Council of Lawyers Board Member. This informative panel is free for Washington Council of Lawyers members (join) and members of co-sponsoring organizations. The event costs $10.00 for non-members. Law students whose schools subscribe to the Public Interest Jobs Clearinghouse also can attend for free. Contact your school's Career Development Office for the registration code. Join us to find out how you can become the next executive in leadership or how you can help support the diversity efforts of non-profit organizations. We are pleased to co-sponsor this program with the Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (GWAC), the Hispanic Bar Association of DC, Region XII (D.C.) of the National Bar Association, the Washington Bar Association, and the Women's Bar Association for the District of Columbia.

Litigation Skills Series: Remote Hearings

Litigation Skills Series: Remote Hearings

Traditional trial advocacy requires preparation, a mastery of the law and facts of a case, and the ability to persuasively communicate. Effective virtual trial advocacy requires these skills AND a mastery of technology and procedures that may be unfamiliar to even the most seasoned litigator. It's no wonder the continued use of remote hearings may be intimidating to many lawyers. How can you effectively build your case when you are not in the same room with your fact-finder and witnesses? With a mixture of lecture and demonstration, expert litigator Phil Andonian will reveal best practices and etiquette for remote hearings and discuss tips for effectively operating remotely. Phil Andonian is an experienced trial lawyer and Co-Founder of Caleb Andonian PLLC. He has nearly 20 years of litigation experience in criminal defense, labor and employment law, and personal injury law. Phil has tried more than two dozen cases to verdict and has helped many clients through the complexities of civil discovery and motions practice. He also regularly represents clients in administrative hearings and arbitrations. This training is appropriate for public-interest, law firm, in-house, and government lawyers of all experience levels who have or will have to appear virtually. Scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. Email Nancy Lopez to apply. Thank you to Planet Depos for sponsoring this training! Planet Depos is a worldwide court reporting and litigation technology firm with over a decade of experience handling remote proceedings. While remote depositions may be new to many attorneys, they aren’t to Planet Depos. They made remote the new in-person for the last 10 years. Whether your proceeding has participants down the street, or across the country. Planet Depos can make it happen. Their expertise in mobile video conferencing means you can expect a more efficient and streamlined litigation process. To learn more about remote depositions and scheduling contact Alison Barberi at 301-613-4665 or email alison.barberi@planetdepos.com. Be a winner! As a way to bring an additional moment of joy to this training, Planet Depos invites all attendees to enter into a raffle for a drawing of a Yeti cooler. Register for the raffle here.

Best Practices In Pro Bono: Beyond Trump, What Now?

Best Practices in Pro Bono: Beyond Trump, What Now?

The past four years saw a sharp increase in pro bono energy. Volunteers responded passionately to Trump Administration policies that were seen as negatively impacting marginalized communities. As we approach the first days of the Biden Administration, pro bono coordinators are asking, what now? How will pro bono programs rebound from this ongoing period of issue whiplash and volunteer exhaustion?  How can pro bono counsel redirect attention to the many local legal dilemmas affecting our neighbors?  How will the legal community step up to meet the local legal needs that have been exacerbated during the pandemic?  Will pro bono attorneys still feel motivated to rise to the occasion during this new, seemingly friendlier administration? Panelists: Daniel Cantor, Arnold & Porter, Partner & Pro Bono Committee Chair Laurie Ball Cooper, Ayuda, Legal Director Rebecca Troth, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, Executive Director Nancy Drane, D.C. Access to Justice Commission, Executive Director Moderator: Paul Lee, Pro Bono Counsel, Steptoe & Johnson LLP Panelists will weigh in on what pro bono will look like in 2021 – a year of great uncertainty for low-income residents of DC.  Dan Cantor will present on Arnold & Porter's impressive pandemic unemployment assistance project, launched in partnership with The Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia.  Laurie Ball Cooper of Ayuda will give insight into immigration concerns that will continue under the new administration.  Becky Troth will discuss how local civil legal needs will skyrocket, while pro bono recruitment lags behind.  And Nancy Drane will unveil the new DC Represents campaign, a citywide effort to recruit pro bono attorneys for pandemic-related relief projects. Best Practices in Pro Bono brings together pro bono directors at law firms, legal services organizations, corporations, and government agencies to share tips for improving their pro bono programs. There is no cost to attend. Sign up today!

Walk & 5K To End HIV Team Meetup

Walk & 5K To End HIV Team Meetup

Washington Council of Lawyers is fielding a team for the Walk & 5K to End HIV! This virtual event is an "on your own" walk or run to support the work of Whitman-Walker Health. Held for the past 34 years, the Walk & 5K to End HIV is Whitman-Walker Health’s signature fundraiser that calls on thousands to strap up their shoes and walk or run to support WWH’s mission of providing dependable, high-quality, comprehensive and accessible health care to those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. In a city where three percent of adults are known to have HIV and an additional three percent are infected but don’t know their status, the Walk & 5K to End HIV plays a vital role in honoring our lost ones and raising funds and awareness to fight the epidemic. Register to join our team here.  Then complete the walk or run at a time of your choosing. We will have a virtual team meetup on Friday, November 20 from 3:00-3:30 pm. Register below to receive the Zoom link to share your stories and gather together!

The Zoom University School Of Law

The Zoom University School of Law

When I first learned of the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, the last thing I anticipated was how significantly the coronavirus would impact society, my legal education, and my personal life. Shortly after spring break, I received an email from Dean Renee Hutchins informing me that my law courses would be conducted remotely for the remainder of my spring semester at the University of the District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law. Although I was concerned, I knew I could rely upon “the process.”
Virtual Tea Time – April 30

Virtual Tea Time – April 30

Wind down with a cup of tea (or your drink of choice), good conversation, and merriment. Join other public-interest-minded lawyers and law students for a well-deserved opportunity to connect. We'll share tips for staying motivated and productive and maybe a few new ways to stay entertained.

Litigation Skills Series: Trauma-Informed Interviewing

Litigation Skills Series: Trauma-Informed Interviewing

Public-interest and pro bono lawyers often interact with clients and witnesses who have experienced trauma. Better understanding the science of trauma can help you be a more effective advocate. Understanding what your client may be feeling makes you a more compassionate lawyer. Learning skills for interviewing people who have experienced trauma in an appropriate way can help you get the information you need to build a strong case while also minimizing the risk of re-traumatizing your client. Join us on Thursday, March 5, from 12:00-2:00 pm at Mayer Brown (1999 K Street) to learn more about trauma-informed interviewing. Our panelists will be: Tara Graham (Senior Program Manager, Just Detention International) Priya Konings (Deputy Director of Legal Services, Kids in Need of Defense) Bridgette Stumpf (Executive Director, Network for Victim Recovery of DC) The panel will be moderated by Jennifer Grishkin (Pro Bono Coordinating Attorney, CAIR Coalition). This training is free for Washington Council of Lawyers members (join) and $15 for others. Bring your lunch. We will provide drinks and desserts! Thank you to Mayer Brown for hosting this important topic!

Volunteer For Gifts For The Homeless

Volunteer for Gifts for the Homeless

We often roll up our sleeves to help our neighbors in need around the holidays. This year, we will volunteer to sort and bag clothing donations with Gifts for the Homeless on Saturday, December 7, from 11 am until 4 pm. The clothing sorting takes place at 2300 N Street, NW, conveniently located north of Washington Circle and within walking distance of the Foggy Bottom/GW and Dupont Circle Metro stops. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes and bring a water bottle. We will be volunteering with many other groups and individuals to help bring warm clothes to people in need. Learn more here. Last year, Gifts for the Homeless was able to receive, sort, bag and deliver nearly 3,200 bags of clothing and other items to more than 55 homeless service organizations. Join us for a hands-on, worthwhile, and fun volunteer activity that is appropriate for individuals and families. All are welcome!

Volunteer At The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advice & Referral Clinic (November 2019)

Volunteer at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advice & Referral Clinic (November 2019)

DC Pro Bono Week may have ended, but the need for volunteers to provide legal help to those in our community is non-stop!  Volunteer with us on Saturday, November 9, at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center's Advice & Referral Clinic. At the clinic, you'll provide brief advice (and referrals) to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to legal help. We meet at Bread for the City (1640 Good Hope Road SE). Parking is available. A brief orientation (with bagels and coffee) takes place at 9:30 am, and volunteers are asked to stay until the last client is seen, usually at around 2:30 pm. There's no time commitment beyond the clinic itself. As a volunteer attorney, you'll answer questions about consumer law, family law, housing law, public benefits, bankruptcy, and other topics. You don't need to be an expert in these areas of law: D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center staff and expert mentors will be on hand to help. You do need to be a member of the D.C. Bar, or a federal government attorney barred in another state to participate. Once you register to attend, our volunteer coordinator, Sébastien Monzón Rueda, will be in touch with additional details.

Best Practices In Pro Bono: Civil Legal Need In The District

Best Practices in Pro Bono: Civil Legal Need in the District

Our November Best Practices in Pro Bono features a conversation with Nancy Drane, Executive Director of the DC Access to Justice Commission, previewing some highlights of the Commission’s forthcoming report, Delivering Justice: Addressing Civil Legal Needs in the District of Columbia. Nancy will focus on some of what the Commission learned about civil legal needs in our community, the progress we've made, and what the future may hold. How has the civil legal services community innovated, adapted, and changed since the last Legal Needs Report was issued in 2008?  What new areas of need have emerged? What are some of the barriers that low- and moderate-income District residents still face? What is the role of pro bono in moving the needle on our local legal needs? What might be some of the next frontiers in access to justice in the District? Breakfast and networking take place from 8:45-9:00 am. The conversation, facilitated by Lise Adams of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, takes place from 9:00-10:15 am. Thank you to Fried Frank for hosting! Best Practices in Pro Bono is open to pro bono coordinators at law firms, legal services organizations, government agencies, and in-house legal departments. We hope you will join us on Thursday, November 7 – first, to get your morning caffeine buzz, and then, to hear all the buzz about the Commission’s report.