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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
On Tuesday, July 11th, we welcomed lawyers, interns, and law students to our 35th annual “Supreme Court: View from the Press Gallery” event. This event peels back the curtain on the recently concluded Supreme Court term through the eyes of the journalists who have covered the Court for decades. We were excited to welcome everyone back in person for the first time since 2019!
Washington Council of Lawyers’ Annual Summer Forum began on June 7 with an inspiring and enlightening discussion by keynote speaker Nicole Austin-Hillery. Nicole is the President & CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., and a former Washington Council of Lawyers President and Board Member. Nicole was joined in conversation by current Washington Council of Lawyers President Debbie Cuevas Hill, Supervising Attorney at Legal Aid DC. During her opening remarks, Nicole covered her journey, as a way to inspire everyone to follow a purposeful path on their own personal and professional journeys. Nicole shared her “Nikki-isms”, guiding principles that have helped her on her journey, you can find the complete list below.
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...." Such reads the inscription on the Statute of Liberty, the sight that many of the early immigrants of the United States first saw. Our country is a beautiful mixing bowl of different cultures, beliefs, and nationalities, thanks in large part to centuries of immigrants coming to the United States hoping to make a better life for themselves and their families. That dream of a better life still rings true in the hearts of those seeking to immigrate here today. However, for those new to the United States, navigating a foreign legal system can be a treacherous undertaking. That's where immigration lawyers become essential. This panel will give you insight into what the field of immigration law looks like today and opportunities in which you can provide assistance.
The Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Panel will explore the critical role that lawyers play in protecting individuals' fundamental rights. Although there are legal safeguards that prevent discrimination in many parts of our daily lives, these rights can often go unprotected and ignored without the help of pro bono and public interest attorneys. Our Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Panel will give attendees a glimpse at the great need for talented lawyers in this field and showcase ways that you can help protect individual rights.
Over the past year, our communities have continued to engage in deep reflection on the systemic harms of abusive policing and mass incarceration. There is no area of law more central to those discussions than the criminal legal system. In this session, our panelists will share their work and insights in the criminal law space to uphold central individual liberties, stem the tide of mass incarceration, and protect communities. Learn more about these important topics at our 2023 Summer Forum Panel on Criminal Law & Death Penalty Panel.
People living in poverty struggle daily to meet basic needs for themselves and their families. Critical relief: housing, nutrition, health care, fair employment, and protection from violence, often turn not on rights but on access to those rights and remain out of reach for many trying to navigate complex rules and requirements. While legal representation can transform an individual’s ability to access what they need to survive and thrive, low-income litigants are the least likely to have an attorney to help them exercise their rights. Pro bono attorneys who fill this gap literally change and save lives. Learn more about the wide-ranging legal issues individuals living in poverty face and what pro bono opportunities are available in D.C. and across the country to help address these needs at our 2023 Summer Forum Panel on Poverty Law on Thursday, June 15 from 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm ET. Register here to join the virtual conversation.
Environmental law issues impact residents in D.C. and across the country in a variety of unforeseen ways. People in poverty and communities of color are more likely to live in environmentally unhealthy places. Climate change motivates immigration all over the globe. Join us for our newest summer forum panel discussion about the many ways environmental justice implicates human rights and racial justice. We are excited to hear our inaugural panel discuss how legislative advocacy, individual representation, class action and other tools can bring us closer to achieving environmental justice. Find out more on June 8th.
Pro bono: it’s not just for litigators. There are a variety of pro bono matters that don't require you to step foot in the courtroom. Opportunities include setting up businesses; drafting or revising employee handbooks; protecting intellectual property; and providing tax advice among many others. And there are opportunities for system change through legislative advocacy and policy work. Trained lawyers can help draft wills for vets, navigate uncontested divorce proceedings, research novel issues, and much more. If you want to help but don't care to go to court, this panel is for you.
We are thrilled to welcome Nicole Austin-Hillery, President & CEO of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, as the keynote conversation for the 2023 Summer Forum. Ms. Austin-Hillery has dedicated her life and career to fighting for systemic change for marginalized communities. Her advocacy efforts not only work to change oppressive systems, but also lead the change for how Americans understand those systems and the interconnectedness of human rights concerns. Her work is an inspiration as it uplifts the voices and experiences of those that are not typically heard or seen to better society for all. Read on to find out more.
We had a great time working with the Association of Corporate Counsel’s National Capital Region to host the In-House Pro Bono Program and Fair: Making Pro Bono Work in a Virtual World. Over the course of an hour, our panelists told us about how their respective organizations adapted their pro bono offerings in response to the pandemic and shared advice for audience members looking to get involved in pro bono work.