Each fall, as part of the annual National Pro Bono Celebration, we organize DC Pro Bono Week.
DC Pro Bono Week 2021 will take place from October 24-3, 2021. The week explores lots of opportunities to do pro bono work, learn new pro bono skills, meet other pro bono lawyers, and expand pro bono horizons.
Get involved! Join us in planning DC Pro Bono Week. Our upcoming meeting dates are listed below. Click the links to sign up to attend. The Zoom meeting link will circulate prior to the meeting.
If you are interested in joining the planning committee, please email Christina Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Join the conversation on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook using #DCProBono21!
You also can check out these highlights from DC Pro Bono Week 2020.
If are interested in taking on a pro bono project, the DC Virtual Pro Bono Fair can help you connect with the right organization.
During DC Pro Bono Week 2019 we profiled lawyers who made a profound difference in the lives of their pro bono clients despite heavy demands on their time. We hope they have inspired you to take on your own pro bono case.
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. Check out the full list here.
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. Check out the full schedule of events here.
During DC Pro Bono Week 2018 we profiled lawyers who made a profound difference in the lives of their pro bono clients despite heavy demans on their time. Here are their stories.
Nicholas Nyemah, Dominique Casimir, and Daniel Dovev from Arnold & Porter LLP, recently won an asylum claim for an LGBT man from Swaziland who faced death in his home country. Working with their mentors from CAIR Coalition, the team’s case was one of the first before a new immigration judge. There were a number of unusual challenges in the case and the team identified and tackled each one with sharp precision and elegance. Their arguments were so compelling that DHS stipulated to 90% of the elements. The hearing lasted less than 30 minutes and the client is now reunited with his community here in the United States.
For Tracey Ohm, of counsel at Stinson Leonard Street LLP and dedicated D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center volunteer, the reward of pro bono work isn’t out-of-the-park wins. It’s the gratitude she gets for the simple act of being an advocate. “The clients are so grateful to have someone standing up for them,” she said. “That’s both what I enjoy and what keeps me going.”
Amanda McGinn, an associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, had just presented her Children’s Law Center pro bono caregiver custody case before a DC judge, alongside co-counsel, Megan Greer, a counsel at Akin Gump. While daunting, Amanda knew that together, and through the resources Children’s Law Center provides its pro bono teams, she and Megan could use their legal skills to help children thrive.
Representing unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children is challenging. Bradley T. Lennie, a partner at Pepper Hamilton, LLP, embodies the patience, flexibility, and compassion necessary to successfully advocate for KIND’s clients.
If you are looking for a pro bono opportunity to help a family achieve stability and hone your litigation skills, consider representing a parent in a child custody case. Just ask Kirkland & Ellis associate Nickolas Barber who, over the course of a year representing the father of two young sons referred from the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, appeared in court seven times, including for two evidentiary hearings and a full-day trial.
Brendan McNamara, a staff attorney at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, has made a consistent effort over the last three years to represent elderly clients referred to the firm through Legal Counsel for the Elderly’s (LCE) Pro Bono Project. Brendan’s experience illustrates why pro bono attorneys are so important to the lives of low-income and modest means individuals.
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. Here is the full list.
DC Pro Bono Week 2018 takes place from October 21–27, 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. Here is the full schedule of events.
DC Pro Bono Week is coming soon! DC Pro Bono Week 2018 will take place from October 21–27. Why not come explore our annual celebration of pro bono service? There is something for everyone….. clinics, volunteering opportunities, a panel, a court tour, and a hackathon!
By Aoife Delargy
This spring, law students from American University, Catholic University, Georgetown, and George Washington University sponsored the DC Alternative Spring Break Pro Bono Service Project. Held for two weeks last March, students from these local law schools spent their spring breaks engaged in hands-on, legal volunteer work. (more…)
By Maureen Thomas
Major General Mike Nardotti (US Army, Retired and former The Judge Advocate General, US Army) is a Senior Partner at Squire Patton Boggs. The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program recently recognized Mike for over 20 years of service to veterans and their families, caregivers and survivors, as a member of TVC’s National Volunteer Corps. Over the past 25 years, lawyers like Mike from Squire Patton Boggs have supported The Veterans Consortium with over 92 engagements in federal courts, participated in specialized Court of Appeals for Veteran Claims trainings, and assisted TVC in dramatically improving our ability to provide free legal services to veterans and their loved ones. (more…)
Kaley, age 13, was living with her grandmother in El Salvador when local gangs began to target her and her family. Her grandmother owns a local diner where neighborhood police officers and prosecutors often ate; as a result, gang members decided that she was pro-government and anti-gang. Gang members assaulted Kaley’s grandmother and targeted Kaley, threatening to kidnap and assault her. Kaley fled the country. (more…)
By Children’s Law Center
Sleigh bells ring, judge is listening—is not your typical holiday medley. But it provided the soundtrack last December for five-year-old Charlie Young while Alexis DeBernardis, his pro bono counsel, fought for him in his custody case. (Names have been changed to protect client anonymity.) Alexis is an associate at Crowell & Moring, but she also volunteers as a pro bono lawyer with Children’s Law Center (CLC). (more…)
By Priya Konings
Representing unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children is challenging, and Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) is always looking for pro bono lawyers with the time, patience, and enthusiasm to handle a pro bono immigration case for our clients. When Lara Burke of Bruch Hanna came to us, we knew that we’d found someone who could rise to the occasion. (more…)
By Melanie Orhant
Ryan Guilds is a lawyer at Arnold & Porter Kay Scholer and board chair of Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC). Over the past eighteen years, he’s found that pro bono work offers the chance to do “that not only feels good but also gives you skills as a lawyer.” And Ryan has done pro bono work in spades.
Ryan’s pro bono work started before he was actually a lawyer. While a 1L at the University of North Carolina School of Law, he worked on capital cases and developed an interest in prisoner’s rights. (more…)
By Jodi Feldman and Neesa Sethi
Earlier this year, David Young, an antitrust associate at Ropes & Gray, received the Klepper Prize for Volunteer Excellence from the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia. Over the past six years, David has been one of Legal Aid’s most active pro bono volunteers: He’s regularly taken on Social Security Disability Insurance/Supplement Security Income (SSDI/SSI) cases and other public benefits matters referred from Legal Aid and other legal-services organizations. (more…)
By Vanessa Batters-Thompson
Katie Towt and Ahuva Battams do not hide from challenges. In April, they made an extraordinary commitment to representing a pro bono client, Ms. E, in her custody case—with only one month to prepare for a trial scheduled to take place over three days. Ms. E had tried for several months to find counsel, and she struggled to understand court procedures and rules while her children’s father—who sought sole custody of the parties’ young children—was represented by an experienced (and well-paid) lawyer. The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advocacy & Justice Clinic recognized that Ms. E was at a tremendous disadvantage and tried to find a lawyer for Ms. E, despite the tight timeline.
Fortunately, Katie and Ahuva understood Ms. E’s predicament and got to work right away. “For me, it is the duty of every attorney to help represent people in need,” said Ahuva. “I am never too busy to help. I go home to a safe environment with a family who loves me, and I want to give others that safe environment, too.” (more…)
By Megan Jeffery
We all, at times, get disenchanted by the daily grind. Sometimes it’s nice to break up the monotony by exploring something new—perhaps sparing an hour or two to investigate something new could inspire you or someone else. With DC Pro Bono Week 2017, Washington Council of Lawyers is offering an opportunity to explore other aspects of the law, in a way that is concise and manageable.
Events include: trainings, a happy hour, tours of pro bono sites, a cocktail hour, legal clinics, a luncheon, and a panel. Subject areas include: landlord-tenant, domestic violence, probate, small business, family law, veterans law, children’s law, expungements, and immigration. There is something for everyone. (more…)
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: (more…)
We’re just over two months away from D.C. Pro Bono Week 2017, which runs from October 22–28. Although we’re still finalizing the schedule of events, here’s a taste of some of the events we’re planning (more…)
By Erin Mee
Serving on nonprofit boards can help expand access to justice and give back to the community, while at the same time providing board members an opportunity to expand their networks and build meaningful skills. So explained the speakers at Washington Council of Lawyers’s DC Pro Bono Week panel discussing service on nonprofit boards. (more…)
A dozen lawyers and law students gathered at Judiciary Square on Tuesday morning, October 25 for The Housing Crisis from the Inside: A Guided Tour of D.C. Superior Court’s Landlord and Tenant Branch. This Pro Bono Week event was co-sponsored by Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and Neighborhood Legal Services Program; the tour, led by Legal Aid’s Beth Mellen Harrison, sought to educate participants about the lack of safe, affordable housing in the District and the experience of low-income tenants forced to defend themselves in eviction cases in a fast-paced, high-volume court. (more…)
For DC Pro Bono Week 2016, we whipped up five profiles of lawyers who’ve done fantastic pro bono work despite extremely busy schedules: (more…)
By Children’s Law Center
When you ask Gerald Richman why he volunteers as a pro bono lawyer for Children’s Law Center, he is quick to talk about vulnerable children who need someone in their corner.
“A lot of these families are walking on a tightrope,” he says. “But when you take a case, you can see immediate benefits for someone who needs help, who doesn’t have a lot of advantages in life.” (more…)
By Lise Adams
For Katrina Rouse, public service transcends her day job. Despite her challenging career as a trial lawyer with DOJ’s Antitrust Division, Katrina regularly makes time to volunteer with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, working with the Center’s Advocacy & Justice Clinic to provide extended representation for low-income clients. This volunteer service is central to Katrina’s professional life: “I have a goal of taking on at least one case per year. If that case gets dismissed quickly, I take another. It is my personal commitment to being a good resident of the city.”
Katrina first became aware of the Pro Bono Center when she started working at the Antitrust Division. Her orientation packet included a flier about pro bono opportunities for federal government lawyers. Katrina immediately contacted Laura Klein, manager of the Federal Government Pro Bono Program, and Laura encouraged Katrina to take a Pro Bono Center case. (continued…)
By Michael Lukens
It takes a special and dedicated pro bono team to fight for a noncitizen facing deportation and exile from his family. Cases like these often combine immigration law and criminal issues and require lawyers willing and able to articulate why their client, despite past mistakes, deserves to stay in the United States. This year, Williams & Connolly’s Will Ashworth and Shauna Kramer successfully made that case—and did so with poise, strength, and compassion. (more…)
By Jodi Feldman
Just a few weeks ago, the Legal Aid Society recognized Joseph J. Patry, an associate at Blank Rome, with the first Making Justice Real Pro Bono Award. The award came at a special celebration recognizing Legal Aid’s Generous Associates Campaign and pro bono volunteers. (more…)
By Amy Nelson
“Public service is a privilege,” says Angela Buckner, a volunteer lawyer at Whitman-Walker’s Name and Gender Change Clinic. Angela has sought out public service throughout her career, and is one of the clinic’s many proud volunteers. (more…)
For DC Pro Bono Week, we’ll be posting from certain events on two additional social-media platforms.
You can find us on Snapchat at WashLawyers; and we’ll have geofilters for a few events, including Monday night’s Hacky Hour. (more…)
In addition to the main schedule of DC Pro Bono Week events, there are lots of other pro bono trainings taking place throughout the month. Here are some of the upcoming highlights. (more…)
DC Pro Bono Week is coming up soon, and we’ve got trainings, clinics, site visits, and more. Check out the full schedule, and click on the links to sign up. (more…)
For Pro Bono Week, the Expungement Clinic at DC Law Students in Court sponsored Put the Past Behind You: Sealing Your Record in DC Superior Court.
Advocates got an inside look into Children’s Law Center’s medical-legal partnership with Unity Health Care on Oct. 29, as part of a DC Pro Bono Week site visit.
The partnership with Unity’s Minnesota Avenue Center is the sixth medical-legal partnership for Children’s Law Center and the first for Unity.
By Michael Lukens As part of this year’s DC Pro Bono Week, the Capital Area Immigrant’s Rights (CAIR) Coalition teamed up with area law firms to provide immigration-focused “Know Your Rights” presentations to students and families at three DC high…
DC Pro Bono Week concluded on October 30 with a tour of the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Although it operates under the radar, OAH makes decisions about cases that are important for scores of people in Washington, DC, many of them low-income. Cases affect schools, unemployment insurance, housing rentals, public safety, health, and benefits. As a result, adequate representation in OAH is essential to improving access to justice in DC.
As part of DC Pro Bono Week, on October 27th a group of 10 attorneys, clerks, law students, and other members of the legal community met for a morning tour of the Landlord and Tenant Branchof DC Superior Court. The Housing Crisis from the Inside: A Guided Tour of DC Superior Court’s Landlord and Tenant Branch was led by Beth Mellen Harrison, Supervising Attorney of Legal Aid’s Housing Law Unit and Director of Legal Aid’s Landlord-Tenant Court-Based Legal Services Project.
The DC Pro Bono Week tour of DC Superior Court focused on domestic violence and resources for crime victims. The tour was led by Rachel Kohler of the Network of Victim Recovery of DC and Paige Allmendinger of DC SAFE. NVRDC and DC SAFE offer counseling, child protective service advocacy, litigation, and many other timely resources to ensure that victims have the resources they need to move forward.
As DC Pro Bono Week 2015 got underway, we convened on Monday, October 26 for Cheers for Justice! Representatives from various local bar associations were on hand to discuss their organizations and answer attendees’ questions about getting more involved in pro bono work. (Plus there was food, drinks, music, and great conversation!)
DC Pro Bono Week 2015 got started on Monday, October 26, wtih Advancing Social Justice Through Pro Bono and Advocacy Work. Roughly 30 law school students from schools around the DC area gathered at Steptoe & Johnson for a panel organized by law schools at Catholic University of America, Georgetown University, American University, George Washington University, and Howard University.
Dignity. Respect. Justice. Service. These words appear on the homepage of Bread for the City and in the lobby of its center in Northwest DC. They are the intangible contributions that Bread for the City makes to the lives of those living in poverty in the District—while also providing them with food, clothing, medical care, legal assistance, and social services.