For our 2017 Summer Forum, we are delighted to welcome as our keynote speaker The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Before she became a judge, Justice Ginsburg was a pioneering civil-rights lawyer and won several landmark Supreme Court cases affecting women's rights. At the Summer Forum, Justice Ginsburg will discuss her public-interest career and the importance of lawyers who serve the poor and work toward a legal system that provides justice for all. After lunch and Justice Ginsburg's remarks, we'll offer five different breakout sessions where you can learn more about pro bono and public-interest work in DC. We'll cover the following practice areas: civil rights & civil liberties, criminal law & death penalty, human rights & immigration law, poverty law, and non-litigation practice. The Summer Forum is open to Washington Council of Lawyers members (join) and to participants in summer-associate and summer-intern programs. This event is an annual tradition for many summer programs because it highlights the value of incorporating pro bono or public-interest work into future legal careers. And it routinely sells out, and we expect a larger-than-ever crowd this year—so save your spot today! (Summer programs: You may purchase tickets to the Summer Forum even before you know the names of the people who will attend. Input "Guest 1" as the first name, and the name of the employer as the last name.)
Spend a Saturday volunteering with us at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center's Advice & Referral Clinic. The clinic provides free advice (and referrals) for people with questions about a variety of subjects, including bankruptcy and debt collection, consumer law, employment law, family law, health law, housing law, personal injury, probate, public benefits, and tax law. Most people have fairly basic questions, and you need not be familiar with the substantive areas of law; program staff and expert mentors will be on hand to offer guidance and supervision. For lawyers, the morning begins with a short orientation over bagels and coffee at 9:30 am. (Non-lawyer volunteers are asked to arrive at 9:15 am to get ready to greet early-arriving individuals.) All volunteers are asked to stay until the last individual has been seen, sometimes as late as 3 or 4 pm. There is no ongoing time commitment beyond the day of the clinic. Once you register our volunteer coordinator, Linda Popejoy, will be in touch with additional information and to answer any questions.
Our Intensive Litigation Skills training uses lecture, demonstration, and small-group sessions to teach the basics of opening statements, closing arguments, direct and cross examinations, using documents—and more. It’s two days full of training, provided by top-notch trial lawyers, featuring lots of individual attention and feedback. For Washington Council of Lawyers members, the cost is just $80. For non-members, the cost is $120 for public interest and government lawyers and $160 for those in the private sector. (Join Washington Council of Lawyers to take advantage of the membership rates.) We also provide lunch on both days. This year, we are thrilled to feature two great lunchtime speakers. On Thursday we will be joined by Christine Clapp from Spoken with Authority. She will highlight skills and strategies for effective public speaking skills. On Friday, the Honorable Christopher Cooper from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia will share thoughts on the importance of pro bono and public-interest lawyers to promoting access to justice. Scholarships are available due to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation; please email our Executive Director, Nancy Lopez, for information on how to apply. In past years, this program has been accredited in California, New York, and Virginia. Our application for MCLE approval in those states for this year's program is pending and not guaranteed. Space is limited, so sign up soon! Then look for an email with the materials and instructions for the course to arrive about a week before the training. Significant advance preparation time is recommended. If you have not received the materials by April 28, please reach out!
At our next Best Practices in Pro Bono breakfast, we'll discuss ways to keep volunteers focused on the important ongoing needs of low income people in our community—even when high-profile policy changes monopolize the limelight. Much of our local pro bono work seeks to protect housing, family security, income stability, and basic immigrant rights for our neighbors in need. Yet recent high-profile changes to federal policies have attracted considerable pro bono attention. How can we work together to find volunteers to handle the existing legal struggles of our community, in addition to responding to new issues? For this session, we will have a facilitated discussion among all attendees led by panelists Lise Adams (D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center) and Jim Feroli (Catholic Charities) and moderated by Paul Lee (Dechert). We'll identify strategies for continuing to staff everyday pro bono cases even when new, higher-profile challenges emerge. We'll have breakfast and informal conversation from 8:30–9:00 am. Our facilitated discussion will take place from 9–10.
**Our Dinner & Discussion is now sold out. You may click the register button below to add your name to the waiting list. We will contact you if additional spaces open up.** Our March Dinner & Discussion program features Karl Racine, the District of Columbia's first elected Attorney General. Mr. Racine is the District's chief legal officer. In that role, he advises the Mayor and agencies, defends the city in court, and uses the law to advance the public interest. Since he was inaugurated in 2014, he has prioritized data-driven juvenile justice reform, protecting the District's most vulnerable consumers, advancing democracy and safeguarding public integrity, and protecting affordable housing. More recently, Mr. Racine has helped lead a national conversation about immigration policy and the District's status as a sanctuary city. Mr. Racine's career includes serving as an attorney with the DC Public Defender Service, Associate White House Counsel under President Clinton, and managing partner at Venable. Join us for an informative and engaging evening where the District's Attorney General Racine will talk about his career path, goals for the District, and the challenges that lie ahead. Space is limited, so please register promptly.