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D.C. Superior Court Open House: Domestic Violence Division

This event is hosted by D.C Superior Court and Washington Council of Lawyers and co-sponsored by DC Volunteer Lawyers Project and Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC). Join us for a D.C. Superior Court Open House where representatives from legal services organizations and experienced pro bono counsel will introduce you to the Domestic Violence Division – one of the Court’s highest-volume branches where pro bono representation is greatly needed. You’ll observe court proceedings, meet with Superior Court Judges, and learn how you can help expand access to justice in our community by providing representation to persons with limited means. The Open House will focus on pro bono opportunities to represent petitioners seeking Civil Protection Orders (CPOs). A person can file for a CPO against someone who has committed or threatened to commit an intrafamily offense, sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sex or labor trafficking against them. By providing pro bono representation, you’ll be helping someone seeking protection from domestic and/or sexual violence, as well as enhancing your professional skills. Please note this event involves a moderate amount of standing and walking. If attendees have accommodation needs or questions, please contact Jodi Feldman at Jodi.Feldman@DCCSystem.gov.

D.C. Superior Court Open House: Domestic Relations Branch

This event is hosted by D.C Superior Court and Washington Council of Lawyers and co-sponsored by D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center and Children’s Law Center Join us for a D.C. Superior Court Open House where representatives from legal services organizations and experienced pro bono counsel will introduce you to the Domestic Relations Branch – one of the Court’s highest-volume branches where pro bono representation in child custody cases is greatly needed. You’ll observe court proceedings, meet with Superior Court Judges, and learn how you can help expand access to justice in our community. Pro bono counsel may represent custodial parents, non-custodial parents, or third-party caregivers in child custody matters. They also serve as guardians ad litem (GALs), representing the “best interests” of the children involved. Whether representing a party or serving as a GAL in a custody case, you’ll be helping to secure stability for a family with limited means, as well as enhancing your professional skills. Please note this event involves a moderate amount of standing and walking. If attendees have accommodation needs or questions, please contact Jodi Feldman at Jodi.Feldman@DCCSystem.gov.

Join Our Board!

Applications for the 2024-2025 board year are now open! Serving on our board is both professionally and personally rewarding and a great way to become more involved with our organization and the DC public-interest community. Here is a peek at what's involved:
Graphic: DC Bar Office Candidates Endorsements List

2024 D.C. Bar Candidate Endorsements

The leadership of the D.C. Bar focuses on priorities and sets the tone for the largest unified bar association in the country. Since Washington Council of Lawyers is devoted to promoting pro bono service and public-interest law, we think it is essential that D.C. Bar leaders understand firsthand the importance of, and have a demonstrated commitment to, increasing access to justice in our community. Washington Council of Lawyers endorses the following 2024 candidates, listed alphabetically, and not in order of preference.  

Volunteer at the DC Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advice and Referral Clinic (May 2024)

Trying to find a way to fit pro bono service into your schedule? Join us for a rewarding day of service, where your skills can make a significant difference in the lives of those seeking legal guidance and support! Volunteer on Saturday, May 18th to gain experience in serving the D.C. community in a variety of matters! At the clinic, you'll provide brief advice (and referrals) to people who otherwise wouldn't have access to legal help. We meet at DC Bar Office, 901 4th St NW, Washington, DC 20001. Street parking is available. Please arrive at 9:00 am, a brief orientation takes place at 9:15 am, and volunteers are asked to stay until the last client is seen, usually at least 3:00 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. The deadline to volunteer is Wednesday, May 8 by 5:00 pm ET. Once you register to attend, our Program Director and volunteer coordinator, Chris Marin, will be in touch with additional details. We are currently looking for volunteers in private practice, including solo practitioners and those at firms. If you are currently in a government position and would like to volunteer please contact Lara Eilhardt at Lara.Eilhardt@usdoj.gov. If you are currently a law student and would like to volunteer please contact Rachel Lawrence at lawrencera@cua.edu. Thank you!

Litigation Skills Series: Trial Advocacy

Join us for two jam-packed days of Trial Advocacy on Thursday, May 2 and Friday, May 3. The training will take place from 9:00 -5:00 pm ET both days! View the  2024 Litigation Skills Series: Trial Advocacy Full Schedule here. We will focus on the four fundamental trial skills: Opening Statements, Direct Examinations, Cross-Examinations, and Closing Arguments.  Each topic will begin with a lecture by an expert trainer and a demonstration by skilled litigators showing how to put the lesson into practice. Then, we will move to small group breakout rooms where each attendee will get up and practice the skill of the day. Breakout room facilitators will offer individualized, constructive feedback to each participant. Attendees should plan to spend some time between each session to prepare for the on-your-feet breakout sessions. We are so excited to bring this training back in person! Our in person sessions offer the incredible individualized practice and feedback. You will be able to practice every part of litigation with experienced attorneys. Our fact pattern features a Domestic Violence CPO case, but you need not know anything about substantive law in this area to benefit from the training. For Washington Council of Lawyers members, this comprehensive Trial Advocacy training costs just $135. For non-members, the cost is $235. (Join Washington Council of Lawyers to take advantage of the discounted member rates.) Scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please complete this online scholarship form. CLE credits are pending for this training for CA, NY, NJ. This session always sells out. Save your seat today! Registration closes Monday, April 29 at 5:00 pm ET.

Members Only Series: Client Storytelling

Conquering client interviewing is only half the battle. The other half comes when its time to share their story with the world. The second part in our Members-Only series will give you insights and advice you need to share their story at the stage of advocacy you're in. Learn how to synthesize your client's story and effectively communicate it to fact-finders or in policy advocacy and organizational reporting. Effectively sharing your client's story is important to both seeking justice in individual cases and advocating for justice on a systemic level. We will explore how to communicate your client's position in a way that helps the factfinder understand the facts and be persuaded to act in your client's favor. You will walk away with tips for using emotional, metaphorical language to turn the events of your case into a meaningful narrative. Client Storytelling takes place on Wednesday, May 8 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm via Zoom. If you haven't registered for Client Interviewing yet, there's still time! Check it out here.

Members-Only Series: Client Interviewing

We want to help you maximize your client interactions and your ability to communicate their story. Join us for this Members-Only series to gain the insights you need to be an empathetic and effective advocate at every stage. Refine your client interviewing skills in the first part of this Members-Only series - Client Interviewing! Hear from seasoned experts about effective communication techniques, rapport-building strategies, and advice that will help you understand clients' needs. Join us to ensure you are gathering the information you need for a successful representation while centering your client. We'll discuss initial intakes and first attorney interviews, trauma-informed practices, and effectively putting your client in control of their case among other topics. Client Interviewing takes place on Wednesday, April 17 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm via Zoom. Then mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 8th for the second part - Client Storytelling! Learn how to synthesize your client's story and effectively communicate it to fact-finders or in policy advocacy and organizational reporting. Effectively sharing your client's story is important to both seeking justice in individual cases and advocating for justice on a systemic level. We will explore how to communicate your client's position in a way that helps the factfinder understand the facts and be persuaded to act in your client's favor. You will walk away with tips for using emotional, metaphorical language to turn the events of your case into a meaningful narrative. If you'd like to register for this event, but are not yet a member, join now!  

Litigation Skills Series: Impeachment

Join us for an intensive and comprehensive training designed to equip you with the essential skills and strategies for effectively impeaching witnesses during trial proceedings. Impeaching a witness can be a critical element in shaping the outcome of a case, and mastery of this art is essential for any trial advocate. Through a combination of expert-led seminars, practical demonstrations, and interactive workshops, participants will delve into the nuances of witness impeachment techniques. Seasoned trial lawyers will provide insights, best practices, and real-world examples, offering invaluable guidance on: Identifying opportunities for impeachment Utilizing prior inconsistent statements, bias, and credibility challenges Cross-examination tactics to discredit witnesses Admissibility of impeachment evidence Effective use of exhibits and demonstrative aids This training takes place on Friday, April 5 from 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm at Arnold & Porter (601 Massachusetts Ave NW). We will provide the drinks, cookies, and answers! You come with your lunch and questions! Scholarships are available due to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please complete this online scholarship form. CLE credit is approved for this course 1.75 CA general, 2.0 NJ general, and 2.0 NY skills (newly admitted and experienced). Credit may be available in other jurisdictions. Don't forget to add this event to your calendar when you register! Click the "Add to My Calendar" button at the top right hand corner of the registration page.

DC Superior Court Open House: Domestic Relations Branch

This event is  co-sponsored by: D.C. Superior Court, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, Children’s Law Center, and Washington Council of Lawyers. Join us for a D.C. Superior Court Open House where representatives from legal services organizations and experienced pro bono counsel will introduce you to the Domestic Relations Branch – one of the Court’s highest-volume branches where pro bono representation in child custody cases is greatly needed. You’ll observe court proceedings, meet with Superior Court Judges, and learn how you can help expand access to justice in our community. Pro bono counsel may represent custodial parents, non-custodial parents, or third-party caregivers in child custody matters. They also serve as guardians ad litem (GALs), representing the “best interests” of the children involved. Whether representing a party or serving as a GAL in a custody case, you’ll be helping to secure stability for a family with limited means, as well as enhancing your professional skills. Please note this event involves a moderate amount of standing and walking. If attendees have accommodation needs or questions, please contact Jodi Feldman at Jodi.Feldman@DCCSystem.gov. Don't forget to add this event to your calendar when you register! Click the "Add to My Calendar" button at the top right hand corner of the registration page.

D.C. Superior Court Open House: Domestic Violence Division

This event is co-sponsored by: D.C Superior Court, DC Volunteer Lawyers Project, Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC), and Washington Council of Lawyers. Join us for a D.C. Superior Court Open House where representatives from legal services organizations and experienced pro bono counsel will introduce you to the Domestic Violence Division – one of the Court’s highest-volume branches where pro bono representation is greatly needed. You’ll observe court proceedings, meet with Superior Court Judges, and learn how you can help expand access to justice in our community by providing representation to persons with limited means. The Open House will focus on pro bono opportunities to represent petitioners seeking Civil Protection Orders (CPOs). A person can file for a CPO against someone who has committed or threatened to commit an intrafamily offense, sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sex or labor trafficking against them. By providing pro bono representation, you can help protect a petitioner from harm, as well as enhance your professional skills. Please note this event involves a moderate amount of standing and walking. If attendees have accommodation needs or questions, please contact Jodi Feldman at Jodi.Feldman@DCCSystem.gov. Don't forget to add this event to your calendar when you register! Click the "Add to My Calendar" button at the top right hand corner of the registration page.

2023 Justice Impact Awards: Photo Album

Thank you so much to everyone that came to the 2023 Justice Impact Awards Ceremony! We enjoyed a beautiful evening with everyone and are glad to share these memories! A special thanks to our award winners and all they do for our community

Litigation Skills Series: Advanced Hearsay

Hearsay may be common, but that doesn't make it any less complicated. There are so many obstacles to navigate and challenges that may arise in the courtroom but with a strong understanding of the rules you can navigate it all like a pro. Build your courtroom confidence with some practice! Join us for Litigation Skills Series:  Advanced Hearsay for a practical review of the hearsay rules, common examples, and how to navigate applying all the nuances. This training will be run by experienced faculty, Barbara Butterworth, Counsel, Litigation Mentor Program at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP and Jessica Kurtz Zagoren, Senior Supervising Attorney at Children's Law Center. The program is geared to go beyond the basics by allowing more space for practice and practical questions. This training is appropriate for public-interest, law firm, in-house, and government lawyers. Scholarships are available thanks to the generosity of the D.C. Bar Foundation. To apply for a scholarship, please complete this online scholarship form. CLE credit is available  as follows: 2.0 CA general, 2.3 NJ general, and 2.0 NY skills (newly admitted and experienced).  Reciprocal credit may be available in other jurisdictions. There will be cookies and light refreshments provided, but please feel free to bring your lunch!

Members-Only: Public Interest 101

Join us where career and community development collide! This members-only event is an incredible opportunity to learn more about how to find your niche in the public interest legal community, either in your career or volunteer work! Our panelists will discuss the intersectionality of the public interest legal community and ways you can tap into the robust community that wants to support you. Creating community is helpful for both your career and your clients. With a supportive community you can get connected to resources that can help you accomplish everything from building a more robust case for your client to reaching your career goals. Our panel will be moderated by Jodi Feldman, Pro Bono Manager, District of Columbia Courts. Our panel includes: Kelli Neptune, Executive Director, DC Bar Pro Bono Center Stephanie Johnson, Director of Externships and Public Interest Programming, Howard University School of Law Kathleen Wach, Pro Bono Counsel, Miller & Chevalier Dana Busgang,  Civil Rights & Employment Associate, Cohen Milstein There is space for everyone in the fight for access to justice, we love helping you find yours! Not a member yet, but want to join the conversation? Become a member today for this and other incredible member benefits!

Volunteer at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advice & Referral Clinic (February 2024)

In the new year, discover new ways to do pro bono service in your community! Not sure where to start? The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center's Advice & Referral Clinic is perfect for those looking to dip their toes in pro bono! Volunteer on Saturday, February 24th to gain experience in serving the D.C. community in a variety of matters! 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's Michelle Obama Southeast Center, at 1700 Marion Barry Ave SE. Parking is available. Please arrive at 9:00 am, a brief orientation takes place at 9:15 am, and volunteers are asked to stay until the last client is seen, usually at least 3:00 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. The deadline to volunteer is Wednesday, February 7 by 5:00 pm ET. Once you register to attend, our Program Director and volunteer coordinator, Chris Marin, will be in touch with additional details.

Graphic: Racial Justice Series Ending The School To Prison Pipeline

Racial Justice Series: Ending the School to Prison Pipeline: Changing Outcomes and Creating Paths for Success Recap

On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, panelists discussed the ongoing consequences of the "School to Prison Pipeline." We broke down the narrative, highlighted the ongoing and significant effects on students of color, particularly those with disabilities, and laid out action steps for students, educators, and legal professionals to promote systemic change and end disparate discipline practices.
Graphic: 2023 Justice Impact Awards Corporate Counsel Pat McGlone With Pat's Headshot In The Middle

2023 Justice Impact Awards Corporate Counsel: Pat McGlone

Patrick McGlone exemplifies the values of excellence, commitment to justice, and dedicated community service. He is a worker, a joiner, and a true trailblazer in the legal world. For his leadership and inspiration to the legal profession and the DC community, we are proud to recognize Pat with the 2023 Justice Impact Awards Corporate Counsel Award.

2023 Justice Impact Awards Law Firm: Ted Howard

Ted Howard is the quietest legend you will ever meet. To speak with him, you would not know of the thousands of hours he’s personally dedicated to pro bono service or the hundreds of lawyers he’s mentored and supported as Wily Rein’s Pro Bono Partner. What you will hear and feel is his passion for closing the access to justice gap and his commitment to serving his neighbors. He is a leader in our community, and we are proud to loudly announce Ted as the distinguished recipient of our 2023 Justice Impact Award for Law Firm Lawyers.
Graphic: 2023 Justice Impact Awards Government Recipient Chris Jennison With Chris' Headshot In The Middle

2023 Justice Impact Awards Government: Chris Jennison

Chris Jennison, a lawyer at the U.S. Department of Transportation, goes above and beyond in his commitment to pro bono service and his dedication to encouraging others to make pro bono service part of their career. For his strong and steady commitment to doing pro bono work and the many ways he has encouraged other government lawyers to do pro bono work, Chris is the recipient of the 2023 Justice Impact Award for Government Lawyers.
2023 Justice Impact Awards Legal Services Wes Heppler With Wes' Headshot In The Middle

2023 Justice Impact Awards Legal Services: Wes Heppler

Wes Heppler is an inspiring, one-of-a-kind champion. He advocates strenuously for his clients, is a true colleague and friend to his co-workers, and is a dedicated advocate for just systems to help the homeless. It is with immense pride and admiration that we announce him as the recipient of the 2023 Justice Impact Award for Legal Services Lawyers.
Graphic: 2023 Justice Impact Awards Presidents Award Nancy Drane With Headshot Of Nancy Drane Centered

2023 Justice Impact Awards Presidents Award: Nancy Drane

In the world of public service, some people shine brightly. They stand out for their exceptional talents and unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on their community. Nancy Drane is one such individual. Although few beneficiaries of her work know her name, countless DC residents have benefited from her zealous advocacy and commitment to ensuring equal access to justice for all. We are thrilled to recognize Nancy Drane as our 2023 Presidents Award recipient for her outstanding contributions to the DC legal services community.
Photo: Collage Of Headshots Of (top Left To Bottom Left) Diane Dauplaise Jess Davis-Ricci Krista Selnau LieAnn Van-Tull

Welcome Our New Board Members!

Join us in welcoming Diane Dauplaise, Jess Davis-Ricci, Krista Selnau, and LieAnn Van-Tull! We are proud to have these inspiring leaders join our Board. You can meet our new board members at the 2023 Fall Kickoff on September 26 at 6:00 pm at Goodwin Procter.
Graphic: Nominations Now Open For Justice Impact Awards

Nominations Now Open for our newly renamed Justice Impact Awards

We are now accepting nominations for our newly named Justice Impact Awards. We will recognize government and legal services lawyers go above and beyond for our community and law firm and corporate legal department lawyers who demonstrate exceptional commitment to pro bono service. Read on for nomination criteria and deadlines.
Ethan Cornell Standing Picture

Thank you and good luck to our 2023 Summer Intern Ethan Cornell!

While the summer isn't quite over, we do have to say goodbye to our 2023 Summer Intern Ethan Cornell. Although Ethan only joined us for the month of July, he made positive contributions to our team and brought a unique perspective to our work. We are thankful for the ways Ethan helped move our mission forward this summer. Thank you, Ethan!

Fellowships 101 Recap

On July 13, current fellows and fellowship program administrators provided insight into the fellowships process at Fellowships 101. The conversation touched on why folks choose to pursue fellowships, the application process for different programs, important considerations when looking for programs and host organizations, and helpful tips and tricks for applying! We concluded the conversation with a presentation from NALP on the PSJD. 
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