About the Bar

D.C. Bar Standing Commitees

Much of the work of the D.C. Bar is done by the committees listed below. Appointments to these committees as well as designation of chairs are made by the Bar president with the confirmation of the Board of Governors. The exceptions are the Attorney/Client Arbitration Board, Legal Ethics Committee, Judicial Evaluation Committee, and Nominations Committee, which are elected by the Board of Governors.

For more information about D.C. Bar committees, contact D.C. Bar Chief Executive Officer Katherine A. Mazzaferri, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005-4210 or via e–mail at executive.office@dcbar.org.

View current committee and board vacancies.

Attorney/Client Arbitration Board
The Attorney/Client Arbitration Board (ACAB) oversees a Fee Arbitration Service which includes a Voluntary Mediation Program. The Fee Arbitration Service has jurisdiction over disputes about fees paid, charged or claimed for legal services between attorneys and their clients. It includes a mandatory program for attorneys when named as respondents, and for clients when named as respondents where the parties entered into a pre–dispute agreement to arbitrate fee disputes if the agreement complies with Legal Ethics Opinion 218. It also includes a voluntary program when clients are named as respondents in the absence of a pre–dispute agreement between the parties addressing how fee disputes will be handled. The ACAB consists of 11 members—seven active members of the Bar and four nonlawyers. The ACAB holds approximately five to six committee meetings, one arbitrator training session, and one arbitrator and mediator appreciation reception per year. The Committee normally meets from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every other month, except in August. ACAB members are also encouraged to apply for selection as an arbitrator for the ACAB, when such vacancies occur.
Audit
The Audit Committee shall consist of three members of the Board, including the Immediate Past–President, and two persons who, by virtue of training and/or occupation, are knowledgeable about finance and audits, and are appointed by the President with the approval of the Board to staggered three–year terms. The immediate Past–President shall serve as Chair. The Treasurer shall not serve on the Audit Committee.
Budget
The Budget Committee is chaired by the president-elect of the Bar and includes the president, the treasurer, one representative designated by the Board on Professional Responsibility, and three other voting members of the Board of Governors appointed by the president with the approval of the Board for one–year terms.
Community Economic Development Pro Bono Project Advisory
The Community Economic Development Pro Bono Project Advisory Committee provides oversight for the Pro Bono Program’s Community Economic Development Project, which makes pro bono corporate and transactional legal services available to community–based nonprofits working to strengthen the District’s low–income neighborhoods. The project also conducts periodic clinics to assist small disadvantaged businesses, and offers seminars and training sessions for potential clients and volunteer attorneys. The committee consists of 11 active members of the Bar and four nonlawyers, who serve staggered two–year terms, with no person to serve more than three consecutive terms. The president, president–elect, and Pro Bono Committee chair serve as ex officio members of the committee.
Continuing Legal Education
The Continuing Legal Education Committee oversees the District of Columbia Bar CLE Program and the education component of the Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice. The committee evaluates course proposals and generates course ideas. Committee members recommend course chairs and faculty members. The committee also evaluates and approves requests from D.C. Bar sections to cosponsor programs for continuing legal education (CLE) credit with outside CLE sponsors. The committee consists of 15 active members and normally meets from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month except August. Appointments are made in the fall.
Election Board
The president of the D.C. Bar, with the approval of the Board of Governors, appoints seven members of the Bar to serve as the Election Board, with no person to serve more than three consecutive terms. The Election Board is charged with reviewing and counting votes cast by members of the Bar in the election of officers of the Bar, members of the Board of Governors, and delegates to the American Bar Association, and in Bar referenda.
Executive Committee
The Executive Committee consists of the president of the Bar, the president–elect, the immediate past–president, and four other voting members of the Board of Governors, appointed by the president with the approval of the Board for one–year terms.
Finance
The Finance Committee consists of the immediate past–president of the Bar as chair, the current Bar treasurer, and three members appointed by the president with the approval of the Board of Governors. The three members of the committee serve staggered three–year terms, with no person serving more than two consecutive terms.
Judicial Evaluation Committee
The Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) conducts confidential evaluations of judges who preside over the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Judges are evaluated in their 2nd, 6th, 10th, and 13th years of service. Senior judges are evaluated during the second year of their four–year terms and once during their two–year terms. Each evaluated judge, along with the chief judge of each court, receives a copy of the survey results. Also, evaluation results of senior judges and judges in their 6th, 10th, and 13th years of service are sent to the D.C. Commission on Judicial Disabilities and Tenure. Attorneys who appeared before the selected judges in the 24 months prior to the evaluation period are invited to participate. The JEC is responsible for reviewing the timetable, the survey instrument, the survey method, and the results of the survey, to ensure a fair, secure and anonymous process every year. The JEC is comprised of seven active members of the D.C. Bar. The Committee usually meets four times a year.
Lawyer Assistance Committee
The Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) assists individuals with substance abuse, mental health (including stress), and emotional problems that interfere with their professional or personal lives. The LAP’s services are available to members of the D.C. Bar, judges serving on any court located within the District of Columbia, applicants for admission to the D.C. Bar, and law students enrolled in law schools located in the District of Columbia if they have stated the intent to apply for D.C. Bar membership. Members of the Lawyer Assistance Committee address policy issues, help with outreach, and identify ways to improve the program. The Lawyer Assistance Committee consists of 15 D.C. Bar members and two nonlawyers. The committee meets on the second Monday of every other month from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. beginning in November. Appointments are made in the fall.
Leadership Development Committee
The committee shall consist of not more than 15 persons, appointed by the President, with the approval of the Board for staggered two–year terms, with no person to serve more than three consecutive terms.
Legal Ethics Committee
The Legal Ethics Committee issues formal opinions on questions arising under the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct. The committee consists of 11 active members of the D.C. Bar and four nonlawyers. It normally meets from 12:15 to 2:00 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month, except in August. Traditionally, the Board has appointed lawyers with a background in legal ethics including teaching, advising one’s firm or agency, writing and/or serving on a related committee.
Membership Committee
The Membership Committee was established in 2000, tracing its origins to the Insurance Committee that was created in 1983. The primary responsibility of the committee is to manage the Membership Benefits Program, which provides discounts on products and services for Bar members and generates nondues revenue for the Bar. It also oversees the review of the Bar’s internal administration regarding the billing and collection of membership dues, Sections dues and Pro Bono contributions. The 9–member committee meets quarterly, and collaborates with staff between meetings by e–mail and conference calls. Appointments are made in the fall.
Nominations Committee
The Committee on Nominations nominates candidates for Bar office who will run in the next Bar election. Any active member of the Bar who is not an officer or member of the Board of Governors may be appointed to the nominating committee, except that no one who has served on the Committee on Nominations at any time during the past three years is eligible for appointment to this year’s committee. Under the Bar’s by–laws, the Board of Governors must appoint each year a seven–person Nominations Committee. The Committee on Nominations will have at least five meetings late–November through early March. Appointments are made in the fall.
Pension
The committee shall consist of the president, the immediate past president, and three persons, who, by virtue of training and/or occupation, are knowledgeable about pension and pension plans and are appointed by the president with the approval of the Board to staggering three–year terms. The immediate past president shall serve as chair. {Amended January 9, 2007]
Practice Management Service
The Practice Management Service Committee (PMSC) designs and implements educational programs on law office management. This includes making available practice monitors and acting as a clearinghouse of resources available to attorneys interested in improving their legal and management skills. PMSC consists of 10 active Bar members and three nonlawyers. The committee normally meets the third Tuesday of every other month from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Appointments are made in the fall.
Pro Bono Committee
The Pro Bono Committee oversees the Bar’s pro bono programs carried out by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program. Working through several active subcommittees, the committee develops, oversees, and evaluates programs to recruit volunteer attorneys, train them, and match them with low–income clients. The committee also undertakes efforts to encourage pro bono service by all segments of the Bar. The committee also identifies areas of unmet legal need and proposes topics for comprehensive study and systematic reform to increase access to the justice system. The committee has 15 members and meets every month except August. Appointments are made in the fall.
Publications Committee
The Publications Committee oversees the Bar’s communications program with the membership, providing editorial guidance for its magazine, the Washington Lawyer, and its Web site, www.dcbar.org, and ensuring that the Bar’s advertising standards are followed in those publications. The committee also promotes other publishing efforts that serve the interest of the membership and have the potential to raise nondues revenue for the Bar. The committee meets quarterly, and offers informal guidance and advice to staff concerning publications and advertising matters between meetings by telephone. Appointments are made in the fall.
Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures Committee
The Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures Committee was established in 1999 as the successor to the Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures Task Force. The committee reviews the Rules Governing the D.C. Bar and, as requested by the president and/or the Board of Governors, the Bar’s by–laws, policy statements, and related procedures, and if appropriate, recommends changes to the Board. It also seeks to codify current Bar practice, or to propose changes in Bar practice, where necessary. The committee does not address rules, by–laws, and procedures covered by other Bar standing committees, the Clients’ Security Fund, or the Board on Professional Responsibility unless there are overarching procedural issues. The committee consists of five active members of the Bar, and meets approximately every six weeks, or more often, as the need arises. Appointments are made in the fall.
Rules of Professional Conduct Review
The Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee regularly reviews the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct for possible revisions and amendments. All proposed amendments are considered by the Board of Governors. The Board sends recommended changes to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which has sole authority to promulgate the Rules. The committee consists of 15 active members of the Bar. It normally meets from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. on the second Monday of every month except August. Appointments are made in the fall.
Screening Committee
The Screening Committee consists of five persons appointed by the president of the Bar with the approval of the Board of Govenors in July of each year for one–year terms, with no person to serve more than three consecutive terms. Of the five members, three are to be attorney members of the Board, one is to be a nonlawyer member of the Board, and one is to have been a member of the most recent Committee on Nominations.
Technology
The Technology Committee assists in the process of planning and budgeting for technology and is charged with the following: Receive information from the Technology Stakeholders Committee to assure stakeholder participation in the IT planning and budgeting processes; to develop a long-term, multi-year IT plan for the approval of the Board of Governors (Board); review the long-term IT plan periodically to evaluate whether it continues to meet the needs of the Bar and to propose revisions as needed; provide an objective and informed assessment of short-term IT plans and projects, including evaluation of the costs and benefits, and feasibility of alternative solutions, and to assure that they are consistent with the long-term IT plan; and act as a resource to the Board, its Budget Committee, and other committees designed by the Board in annual budget planning, dues ceiling planning, and implementation of the strategic plan.
Trustees of the Clients’ Security Fund of the District of Columbia Bar
The Clients’ Security Fund (Fund) is a court-appointed board of trustees charged with maintaining the integrity and protecting the good name of the legal profession by reimbursing losses caused by dishonest conduct of District of Columbia Bar members, when acting either as attorneys or as fiduciaries. Reimbursements are made to the extent authorized by the Fund’s rules and as deemed proper and reasonable by the trustees. Operating through its five trustees appointed by the D.C. Court of Appeals, the Fund represents a fundamental commitment by lawyers in the District of Columbia to protect the integrity of the profession through reimbursing losses suffered by people who have had a D.C. Bar member dishonestly retain money or something of value from them while acting as an attorney or fiduciary customary to the practice of law.