In addition to the main DC Pro Bono Week events, a series of affiliated trainings will take place before, during, and after Pro Bono Week. The full list is below: October 2 Children’s Law Center: Custody Guardian ad Litem Training Wednesday, October 2 9:30 am—4:00 pm McDermott Will & Emery (500 North Capitol St NW) Register October 15 Childrens' Law Center: Special Education Training Tuesday, October 15 9:30 am—1:30 pm Steptoe & Johnson LLP (1330 Connecticut Ave NW) Register October 17 Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless: New Volunteer Training Thursday, October 17 10:30 am–2:30 pm (lunch will be provided) Crowell & Moring (1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register for this training. October 23 DC Bar Pro Bono Center: Landlord/Tenant Practice in the District of Columbia Part 1 Tuesday, October 23 5:45—8:45 pm DC Bar (901 4th Street NW) Register October 24 NVRDC Pro Bono Training: Trauma-Informed Lawyering Thursday, October 24 10:00 am—12:00 pm Hogan Lovells (555 13th Street NW) Register DC Volunteer Lawyers Project: Advocating for Children: Representing At-Risk Children as Guardians Ad Litem Thursday, October 24 9:30 am—2:00 pm DLA Piper (500 8th Street NW) Register October 30 DC Bar Pro Bono Center: Landlord/Tenant Practice in the District of Columbia Part 1 Wednesday, October 30 5:45—8:45 pm DC Bar (901 4th Street NW) Register Children's Law Center: Housing Conditions Training Wednesday, October 30 9:30 am—12:30 pmSidley Austin LLP (1501 K Street NW) Register October 31 NVRDC: Civil Protection Order Representation Thursday, October 31 12:00—4:00 pm Williams & Connolly LLP (725 12th St NW) Register by Wednesday, October 30 November 5 DC Bar Pro Bono Center: Handling Child Abuse & Neglect Issues in Child Custody Cases Tuesday, November 5 5:45—8:45 pm DC Bar (901 4th Street NW) Register November 6 DC Bar Pro Bono Center: Public Benefits Training Series: Social Security Disability Benefits (SSI/SSDI) and Interim Disability Assistance (IDA) Wednesday, November 6 12:00—2:30 pm DC Bar (901 4th Street NW) Register
DC Pro Bono Week 2019 takes place from October 20–26, and will offer lots of opportunities to do pro bono work, learn new pro bono skills, meet other pro bono lawyers, and expand your pro bono horizons. The full schedule of events is below. There are also many Affiliated Trainings taking place before, during, and after Pro Bono Week. WEDNESDAY, OCT 16 DC Pro Bono Week Kickoff Event! Pro Bono Goes Local: A Launch Celebration for DC Pro Bono Week Wednesday, October 16 8:30–9:30 am Crowell & Moring (1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) Register THURSDAY, OCT 17 Legal Aid Brown Bag Lunch & Learn: Helping Families Secure Safety and Stability Thursday, October 17 12:00–1:30 pm Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia (1331 H Street NW) Register MONDAY, OCT 21 Coding Justice Monday, October 21 6:00–8:00 pm Dechert (1900 K Street NW) Register DC Superior Court Courthouse Tour Domestic Violence and Criminal Divisions Monday, October 21 10:00–11:00 am DC Superior Court (500 Indiana Avenue NW) Register TUESDAY, OCT 22 Pro Bono in Protest: Protecting First Amendment Freedoms in the District Tuesday, October 22 6:00–7:30 pm Steptoe & Johnson (1330 Connecticut Ave NW) Register PART Luncheon Tuesday, October 22 12:00–2:00 pm By invitation only WEDNESDAY, OCT 23 Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic Wednesday, October 23 5:00–7:30 pm John A. Wilson District Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW) Register THURSDAY, OCT 24 DC Superior Court Courthouse Tour Domestic Violence and Criminal Divisions Thursday, October 24 2:00–3:00 pm DC Superior Court (500 Indiana Avenue NW) Register Medical Legal Partnership Site Visit at Children's Health Center Thursday, October 24 9:30–11:30 am Children's Health Center-Anacostia (2101 Martin Luther King Ave SE, 5th floor) Register FRIDAY, OCT 26 Veterans Consortium Legal Muster Pop Up Clinics Friday, October 26 9:30 am–2:00 pm Locations: Transition & Care Management Center, DC VA Medical Center (50 Irving Street NW) DC VAMC Women Veterans Health Clinic, DC VA Medical Center (50 Irving Street NW) VA Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) (1500 Franklin St NE) Register Walk-A-Month Poverty Simulation Friday, October 26 1:00–5:00 pm Georgetown University Law Center (600 New Jersey Avenue NW) Register SATURDAY, OCT 26 Expungement Clinic Saturday, October 26 11:00 am - 3:00 pm UPO Petey Greene Community Center (2907 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE) Registration coming soon
Washington Council of Lawyers and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force are collaborating to bring a new initiative to family law practitioners in D.C. this September. The Family Law Career Development Program is a 12-month intensive mentoring program for newer family law practitioners. It's also a way for family law attorneys to give back to their community by providing critical pro bono representation to D.C. families unable to afford a lawyer. Lawyers who wish to participate in the Family Law Career Development Program can apply here. The deadline for applications is 5 pm on Friday, September 27. The Family Law Career Development Program will address the critical need for legal services in family law cases in DC. Pro se litigants often have trouble navigating complicated issues of child custody, visitation, and child support because they are understandably unfamiliar with the law, courtroom procedures, and the rules of evidence. The presence of a skilled lawyer is important to ensure cases are correctly decided, parties feel the legal process was fair, and that the judges have heard the evidence and arguments on both sides of each case. The goal of the Family Law Career Development Program is to provide an intensive professional development experience to family law practitioners in the District of Columbia and to foster a commitment to pro bono service. The participating attorneys will agree to take on two family law pro bono cases and will be paired with a supportive Mentoring Law Firm. Some of the most respected and knowledgeable family law practitioners in the area will serve as Mentoring Law Firms: Delaney McKinney LLP and Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP. "The Family Law Career Development Program will help fulfill the core goal of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force – increasing access to justice by expanding the number of lawyers providing pro bono representation in our local courts," explains Ronald S. Flagg, Chair of the Task Force. "It combines two key elements that the Task Force is seeking to promote – innovative pro bono programs and leadership to initiate and carry out that innovation. Many thanks to the Washington Council of Lawyers and the Mentoring Law Firms of Delaney McKinney LLP and Feldesman Tucker Liefer Fidell LLP for providing the leadership for the Program." The Family Law Career Development Program is a great way for anyone practicing family law, or considering a career in family law, to expand their subject matter expertise while also giving back to their community. Apply today! See our press release here.
We are thrilled to welcome eight new board members to our Board of Directors. Deborah Birnbaum is an attorney at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Solicitor where she advises on international labor standards and veteran employment issues. Deborah also serves as the coordinator of the Department of Labor’s pro bono program. Additionally, she teaches an externship seminar at Georgetown Law School. Deborah holds a B.S. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University, and a J.D. from Columbia University. Fun facts: Deborah loves doing adventurous international travel. She has just returned from Sri Lanka! And she is into scotch (not bourbon!) and has an informal scotch group with some female friends where they track the scotches they have tried on an excel spreadsheet. Raziya Brumfield is an associate at Guerrieri, Bartos & Roma P.C., and her practice involves representing unions in arbitrations, administrative hearings and in federal court. Prior to her current position, Raziya worked in the General Counsel's office of the Pennsylvania State Education Association. Fun facts: Raziya is a California native. She is excited to be getting married in October and honeymooning in Italy! Deborah Cuevas Hill works as a bilingual attorney in the Consumer Fraud & Financial Abuse Unit at Legal Counsel for the Elderly (LCE). Prior to joining LCE, Debbie was a senior staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia in the Housing Unit. Debbie previously clerked at the DC Court of Appeals for the Honorable Inez Smith Reid. She was also an Equal Justice Works Fellow at the National Partnership for Women & Families. Debbie received her Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School. She is a native Spanish and English speaker and a member of the California and District of Columbia Bars. Fun facts: Debbie moved to Mexico City with her husband and son for 4 years. During this time period, she was a stay-at-home mom to her two boys. In fact, her second son was born in Mexico City. Sébastien Monzón Rueda is a Legal Aid Attorney at Legal Counsel for the Elderly. Prior to joining Legal Counsel for the Elderly in March 2018, Sébastien clerked for the Honorable Tyrona De Witt and the Honorable Diane Lepley at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Sébastien received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and his B.A. from The University of British Columbia. Sébastien is also an active member of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia Legislative and Policy Issues Committee. Fun facts: Sébastien studied abroad in Copenhagen during university. And he once won classic rock trivia contest on a cruise to the Caribbean. Rachel Rintelmann is a Supervising Attorney in the Housing Law Unit at the Legal Aid Society for the District of Columbia. In addition to her work with the Housing Law Unit, Rachel is Project Director of the Reentry Justice Project. Prior to joining Legal Aid as a Staff Attorney, Rachel completed a two-year AmeriCorps fellowship with Legal Aid of Western Ohio. Rachel received her B.A. from Butler University and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Fun facts: Rachel loves to bake, and unwind by watching the Great British Bake Off. She is also a PADI certified open water scuba diver. Etienne Toussaint is an assistant professor of law at the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law. He teaches Contracts and co-directs the Community Development Law Clinic. Prior to joining the law faculty at UDC, Etienne served as a Visiting Associate Professor of Clinical Law and Friedman Fellow with the Small Business & Community Economic Development Clinic at The George Washington University Law School. Etienne began his legal career as a project finance associate with the international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. Subsequently, he served as a Law & Policy Fellow with the Poverty & Race Research Action Council. Prior to embarking on a career as a legal advocate, Etienne worked as a strategy consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton. Etienne earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He completed an M.S.E. in Environmental Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University. And he earned his J.D. at Harvard Law School. Most recently, Etienne earned his LL.M in Advocacy at The George Washington University Law School. He is admitted to practice in New York and the District of Columbia. Fun facts: Etienne has watched all nine seasons of The Walking Dead, one of his favorite television series. And, as a kid, he was obsessed with yo-yo's for a brief period of time. He can still "rock the baby" and "walk the dog", two well-known yo-yo tricks. Melissa Weberman is a senior associate with Arnold & Porter. Her practice focuses on complex litigation and investigations and compliance. Prior to joining the firm, Melissa was a law clerk to the Honorable Charles R. Wilson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She was also an associate in the New York office of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Melissa graduated with honors from Emory University School of Law and received her BA with distinction from the University of Virginia. Fun facts: Melissa is a former competitive figure skater. And she loves flamingos and has a flamingo-themed birthday party every year. Stephon Woods is an Assistant Attorney General at the Office of the Attorney General…
We had a busy summer here at the Washington Council of Lawyers. In addition to some amazing events, we launched our very first virtual #BookClubFriday series. Members sent in suggestions for books they were reading or wanted to read this summer, and in some cases, fun facts about themselves. If you missed these posts, do not fret, we have recapped all of them here, and suggested some other great book lists from which to select your next literary adventure. Thank you to all who participated, and we’ll pick this list back up next summer. And now, without further ado, we present our Washington Council of Lawyers, 2019 Book Club Friday Reading List: 1 & 2: Our first two suggestions came from Communications Committee Member Ava. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a multi-generational narrative that incorporates twentieth-century Korean and Japanese history. True Refuge by Tara Brach is a great read for anyone exploring meditation and mindfulness, and the author teaches locally at the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. 3: Board Member Etienne is reading Teaching Law: Justice, Politics, and the Demands of Professionalism by Robin West. The book discusses how the study of justice and the political sources of law can help improve the quality of legal education. A great read for all of our members who are educators! 4: Board Member Mia took us back in time with her suggestion of A Nation of Immigrants by John F. Kennedy. “The book is a powerful reminder of the critical role immigrants have played in America,” she says about this choice. 5: Board Member and Communications Co-Chair Prianka had us doing a deep dive on the quest for inner peace with her selection The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. 6: Communications Committee Member Ayush’s provocatively titled suggestion, Sex and the Constitution by Geoffrey R. Stone, offered a great discussion of the relationship between law and sexual conventions in the western world. 7: Washington Council’s Administrative Director Jean-Marie had members working to manage chronic stress with her suggestion The Healing Self by Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Rudolph Tanzi. 8: Board Member Jack had us deep in thoughtful discussion with his choice, The Chief by Joan Biskupic, a biography of Chief Justice John Roberts. 9: On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, author of The Hate You Give is Communications Director and Board Member, Alexis’ choice for summer reading. She likes that it continues to tell the story of Garden Heights but with different characters and perspectives. 10: Executive Director Nancy Lopez took our book club to the next level with her bi-lingual suggestion of Michelle Obama's book, Becoming. Nancy attempted reading it in Spanish because the English version had a 37 person waitlist at the library. It's a work in progress. 11: Board Member and D.C. Bar President Susie Hoffman is reading The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss. She was inspired to read it after the Bar decided to hold a conference commemorating the centennial of the 19th amendment. It’s a compelling story and, though we know how it ends, is still a nail biter! 12: Board Member Rachel took us back in time for an overlooked history lesson with her choice, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. Did your history class skip from reconstruction straight to the civil rights movement? If so, then this beautifully-written account of the Great Migration of southern blacks after the Civil War is a must-read. 13: And finally, we're ending our list with a selection from Board Member Deborah, who suggests the book $2 a day-Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathyrn Edin and H. Luke Schaefer. A great follow-up read if you’ve participated in our poverty simulation, or if you want to dive deeply into the issue of poverty in America. Still searching for more suggestions? Why not try celebrity book list suggestions from Bill Gates, Oprah, and former President Barack Obama. Finally, if you’re looking for some fresh reads for fall, the National Book Festival is taking place here in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, August 31, 2019. More info here. *Sent us a suggestion but don’t see it on this list? We tried to compile every suggestion received at the time of publication of this blog, but if we missed yours, please find it on our social media channels!
While the summer isn't technically over, we do say good-bye to our summer intern Lydia Kotowski this week. She has been a wonderful addition to our team and has brought a new perspective to our work. We are exceedingly grateful for all the ways Lydia has helped move our mission forward this summer. Thank you, Lydia! We asked Lydia to share a bit about herself and her plans for the future. Lydia is a rising-senior in the Ball State University Honors College with a major in political science, a second, self-designed major in health policy, and a minor in economics. During her undergraduate career, Lydia has been named a finalist for the 2019 Harry S. Truman Scholarship, a 2019 recipient of the Leadership Scholars Award through The Fund for American Studies, held several officer and leadership positions in the Student Honors Council, and co-led a 15-credit hour, full semester, immersive learning project with an honors college professor through the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry. Lydia also served a one-year term as a student representative for the Mid-East Honors Association Executive Council and completed three Honors Undergraduate Research Fellowships. Through these fellowships, Lydia conducted research and edited for a book by Dr. Darren Wheeler entitled, Congress and the War on Terror: Making Policy for the Long Run, co-authored an article about terrorism policy under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, and co-authored several articles with Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani about health policy topics including global health spending, electronic health records, syringe exchange programs, and teen dating violence. All articles are under peer-review currently. In the Muncie community, Lydia has taken on a very active role. Starting in January 2018, she helped pilot weekly lessons at the Ross Community Center through the Student Honors Council. Most notably, Lydia and an honors college professor, Dr. Jason Powell, started a nonprofit in December 2018. This nonprofit, called Beneficence Family Scholars, Inc., an affiliate of Family Scholar House, strives to help single-parent families overcome the cycle of poverty in Delaware County, IN community by empowering families to achieve long-term growth and stability through education and comprehensive support. The organization had its official launch on April 26th, 2019, and has started to provide assistance to qualifying families in Delaware County. Lydia currently serves as both President and Chief Possibility Officer. To learn more, visit bfscholars.org. Looking to the future, Lydia plans to complete a joint program and earn both MPH (Master of Public Health) and JD degrees. With this background, Lydia hopes to be able to promote positive change surrounding health policy at both the state and national level. We have been very fortunate to have Lydia's ingenuity and talent hard at work for us this summer. We wish Lydia good fortune as she pursues her future goals.
Washington Council of Lawyers was honored to host A Conversation with Justice Elena Kagan and Dean William Treanor of Georgetown University Law Center on Thursday, July 18, 2019. The conversation began with a discussion about the career of the late Justice John Paul Stevens, whose seat Justice Kagan filled after Justice Stevens retired. Justice Kagan praised Justice Stevens both in his role as a Supreme Court Justice and as an extraordinarily kind man and mentor. Speaking to an audience largely comprised of law school students, public-interest lawyers, and pro bono advocates, Justice Kagan commented on Justice Steven’s commitment to continued learning on the job and his fierce independence. The afternoon’s conversation ranged from discussions about Justice Kagan’s opinions during the Court’s most recent term to the roles of stare decisis and dissenting opinions on today’s Court. She also gave insight into how she works with her colleagues and law clerks when writing her opinions. The afternoon wrapped up with a question and answer session, where one of the students from George Washington University asked about the Court’s recent decision in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, a recent patent opinion concerning the development of a Spiderman toy, which considered the role of stare decisis in the applicable patent laws. Referencing her opinion, which cited to a Spiderman comic book, Justice Kagan reminded the audience “[I]n this world, with great power there must also come—great responsibility.” The full video of the conversation can be found on C-SPAN. And a collection of news clips about the afternoon can be found at the links below: A Conversation with Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan: John Paul Stevens, Gerrymandering, Writing and More (Georgetown Law) Kagan Rallies Gerrymandering Foes To 'Go For It — Because You're Right' (National Law Journal) Justice Kagan discusses Justice Stevens' legacy and more (SCOTUSblog) Kagan Says She Didn't 'Pull Punches' in Gerrymandering Dissent (Bloomberg Law) Justice Elena Kagan Uses Spiderman to warn of Supreme Court's "great responsibility" to follow precedent (CNN) Elena Kagan says she'll "never" accept partisan gerrymandering decision (CBS News) Kagan: I will "never accept" Supreme Court's ruling on partisan gerrymandering (The Hill) Justice Elena Kagan encourages gerrymandering protesters: 'Carry On the Efforts' (Washington Times) Kagan Says Colleagues 'Immodest' In Ignoring Precedent (Law 360) Elena Kagan Says She'll Never Accept Supreme Court's Partisan Gerrymandering Decision (Huffington Post) Justice Kagan Is Supere Peeved Her Colleagues On The Supreme Court No Longer Care About Precedent (Above the Law) Elena Kagan: I will Never Accept Supreme Court's Gerrymandering Decision (Law and Crime) Elena Kagan: 'No Part of Me' Will Accept Gerrymandering Decision (Newsmax)