Washington Lawyer

Bar Happenings

From Washington Lawyer, February 2010

By Kathryn Alfisi

happenings 2010 Judicial and Bar Conference Focuses on Survival Strategies
Members of the bench and the bar will reflect on the theme “Survival Strategies for Modern Legal Times” when they convene for the fifth biennial District of Columbia Judicial and Bar Conference on April 8 and 9 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

The first day of the conference features afternoon programs focusing on the theme, while day two offers eight seminar programs and two free membership forums, a musical continuing legal education program called “Ethics Rock Extreme,” a membership forum on the D.C. Bar’s first strategic plan, and another forum on judicial selections.

Two seminars on electronic communications have been lined up for the conference. The first seminar will explore emerging e-communication issues in the court before, during, and after trial, and the other will review the pitfalls for lawyers.

Other programs target topics such as the keys to successful law firm management, perceptions of race and ethnic disparities in the courts, how to navigate District tax disputes, prosecutors’ disclosure obligations, and postconviction issues.

John A. Payton, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Educational Fund, Inc. and past president of the Bar, will be the keynote speaker at the conference luncheon. The luncheon also will feature the presentation of the 2010 Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service to Harry J. Fulton, chief of the Mental Health Division at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia. In keeping with the exceptional accomplishments of Ms. Rosenberg, the annual award honors a Bar member whose career accomplishments include outstanding counsel to a government agency, exceptional service to the legal profession or the community, and unselfish contributions to advance the careers of colleagues.

The conference also features the presentation of the D.C. Bar Foundation’s Jerrold Scoutt Prize to Eric S. Angel, legal director for the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, and Vytas V. Vergeer, the director of Bread for the City’s Legal Clinic, at the Judicial Reception. The prize, named in honor of the founding partner of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger LLP, is awarded annually to an attorney working with an area nonprofit organization that provides direct, hands-on legal services to the poor and disadvantaged. (See “Legal Beat” for more information on the Rosenberg and Scoutt award winners.)

For more information on the 2010 Judicial and Bar Conference, visit www.dcbar.org/conference or contact Verniesa R. Allen at 202-737-4700, ext. 3239, or conference@dcbar.org.

Women’s Bar Holds Luncheon With FCC’s Mary Beth Richards
On February 11 the Communications Law Forum of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia (WBADC) will hold a luncheon with Mary Beth Richards, special counsel to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Julius Genachowski.

Richards recently returned to the FCC, where she previously worked for 23 years, after serving as deputy director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission. At the luncheon, Richards will speak about the latest reform efforts at the FCC and the highlights of her career path.

The luncheon will take place from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at Latham & Watkins LLP, 555 11th Street NW.

For more information, visit www.wbadc.org or contact the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia at 202-639-8880 or admin@wbadc.org.

Program Helps Firms Deal With Substance Abuse Among Attorneys
On February 11 the D.C. Bar Law Practice Management Section, D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program, and the Association of Legal Administrators Capital Chapter will guide law firms on how to deal with attorneys suffering from substance abuse problems.

“Help Me Help You: Dealing With Substance Abuse of Partners and Associates” is a program intended to aid law firm managers and administrators in recognizing the signs of addiction, substance abuse, or depression.

This course will help participants in identifying what assistance is available through the Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program (a free and confidential program that assists lawyers struggling with alcoholism, drug abuse, and emotional illness) and elsewhere; navigating the legal issues (Americans with Disabilities Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and Rules of Professional Conduct); establishing personnel policies that provide guidance on these issues; and crafting responses to protect the firm and its clients as well as assist lawyers and staff through, for example, “last chance agreements.”

Denise Perme, manager of the Lawyer Assistance Program, and Jeffrey Berger of the Berger Law Firm, P.C. who is also cochair of the Law Practice Management Section, will serve as faculty.

The course takes place from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Mayer Brown LLP, 1999 K Street NW. It is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section; Antitrust and Consumer Law Section; Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law Section; Computer and Telecommunications Law Section; Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section; Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section; Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section; Health Law Section; Labor and Employment Law Section; Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section; Tort Law Section; and Taxation Section.

To register, e-mail with your name, firm name, and section affiliation to contactbergerlaw@gmail.com. For more information, contact Brendan Cassidy of the Berger Law Firm at 202-861-1361.

CLE Health Law Series Continues With Four Courses in February
In February the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program will continue its “Introduction to Health Law Series 2010,” which opened in January with an overview of the U.S. health care system and of Medicare.

The course is designed both for lawyers just entering the field of health law and for experienced practitioners looking to expand their ability to represent clients. This year, the series also will cover relevant health care reform provisions.

Part three on February 4 will provide an introduction to Medicaid, including administration, financing, eligibility, coverage, provider/supplier participation, payment methodologies, and current issues.

Adam Falk, a partner at Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP; Steve Hitov, managing attorney of the National Health Law Program’s Washington, D.C., office; and Andreas “Andy” Schneider, chief health counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, will lead this session.

Part four, “Compliance Issues and Privacy” on February 11, will offer an overview of key health care and fraud and abuse statutes with a specific focus on federal enforcement initiatives. This portion of the series also will deal with confidentiality and privacy compliance issues.

Participants will learn about HIPAA Administration Simplification and current status of HIPAA rules, electronic data transactions, security, national identifiers, privacy and confidentiality of health information, antikickback statute, physician self-referral laws, the federal False Claims Act, health care enforcement initiatives of the Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Justice; Medicaid fraud programs, health care enforcement initiatives, and e-Health.

Barbara Ryland, counsel at Crowell & Moring LLP, and Heidi A. Sorensen, of counsel at Foley & Lardner LLP, will serve as faculty.

Part five, “Health Care Transactions and Managed Care Contracting” on February 18, will discuss the key issues in health care transactions, uncertainties in transactions due to Stark II regulations, and how key legal issues are addressed in the different managed care relationships with providers, employers, and members.

This session will feature Cathy Zeman Scheineson, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and Patricia Wagner, a member of Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., as faculty members.

The series ends on February 25 with part six, “Health Care Quality and Patients’ Rights,” an overview of the impact of regulation on health care quality. Participants will hear from Jane Hyatt Thorpe, associate research professor at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and former deputy director of the Office of Policy for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The course is cosponsored by the Hirsh Health Law and Policy Program at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and the D.C. Bar Health Law Section and Labor and Employment Law Section.

All sessions take place from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, first floor.

For more information, contact the CLE Office at 202-626-3488 or visit www.dcbar.org/cle.

D.C. Superior Court Celebrates Black History Month
The Superior Court of the District of Columbia will hold a series of events to celebrate Black History Month in February, starting with a step show on January 29.

Superior Court Senior Judge Nan Shuker will give the presentation “Those Who Have Helped Us” on February 5, followed by Senior Judge Arthur Burnett Sr.’s “Excellence Through Adversity” talk on February 12.

A program on February 19 will focus on the role of the black church in African American history, and the court will cap off the celebration on February 26 with performances by court employees.

All events will be held at noon in the Jurors’ Lounge of the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Avenue NW.

For more information, contact Louis Kelly at 202-879-0492 or louis.kelly@dcsc.gov.

CLE Series Teaches Essential Trial Skills
Attorneys should take advantage of the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program’s essential trial skills series in February for an overview of the skills a lawyer must possess in the courtroom.

The series will explore everything from jury selection and opening statements to witness preparation, direct examination and cross-examination, and closing arguments. Lectures, discussions, and demonstrations will emphasize the rules, practices, and procedures in both local and federal courts in the Washington metropolitan area. Faculty experts also will discuss civil and criminal trial considerations.

Part one, “Jury Selection” on February 2, will examine the process and procedures for jury selection, including the composition of the jury pool, peremptory strikes, and use of jury selection services. Paulette Chapman of Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P. and Dwight Murray, a partner at Jordan Coyne & Savits L.L.P., will serve as faculty.

Part two on February 9 will look at opening statements and closing arguments from several key perspectives, including preparation, presentation, and objections, and the legal and ethical considerations. This session will be taught by Amy Jeffress, national security adviser to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and John J. McDermott of John J. McDermott PLLC.

Part three, “Witness Preparation and Direct Examination” on February 16, will cover the vital task of preparing witnesses to testify credibly at trial. Participants will learn about the techniques and strategies for effective direct examination, maximizing the witness’ potential and minimizing his or her weaknesses.

Faculty experts Bernie S. Grimm, a member of Cozen O’Connor, and Philip Inglima, a partner at Crowell & Moring LLP, also will discuss legal ethics issues in the context of witness preparation and direct examination.

The series ends on February 23 with a session on cross-examination and, more specifically, how to use cross-examination to tell the story, to control the witness, and to impeach the witness. This session is useful both for attorneys who have yet to cross-examine a witness and those who have a modest level of trial experience. It will take a look at the objectives, strategies, tactics, mechanics, and legal principles governing an effective cross-examination and the ethical concerns involved.

Faculty includes Patrick James Attridge of King & Attridge, and Barry Boss, a member of Cozen O’Connor.

All sessions take place from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, first floor. The series is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section; Family Law Section; Labor and Employment Law Section; Law Practice Management Section; Litigation Section; Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section; and Tort Law Section.

For more information, contact the CLE Office at 202-626-3488 or visit www.dcbar.org/cle.

Law Students In Court Reception Launches Alumni Association
On February 10 the D.C. Law Students in Court Program (LSIC) will hold a reception to launch the LSIC Alumni and Friends Association, an entity that will raise money for the program and provide opportunities for LSIC alumni to network and mentor.

Future events will include happy hours, sports outings, and networking receptions.

The reception takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, 1300 I Street NW. Tickets are $30 per person. Alumni, board members, staff, and friends of the organization will be in attendance.

To register or for more information, contact Flordelisa Pérez Dolan at 202-638-4798 or fperezdolan@dclawstudents.org. For more information about the D.C. Law Students in Court Program, visit www.dclawstudents.org.

Save the Date!
2010 Presidents’ Reception & Annual Business Meeting and Awards Dinner
The 2010 Presidents’ Reception and the D.C. Bar Annual Business Meeting and Awards Dinner will be held on Thursday, June 24, at The Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW. The Presidents’ Reception will be held at the hotel’s State Room from 6 to 7:30 p.m., while the Annual Business Meeting and Awards Dinner takes place at the Grand Ballroom starting at 7:30. For more information on the Presidents’ Reception, contact Kathy Downey at 202-588-1857 or kmdowney@erols.com. For details on the Annual Business Meeting and Awards Dinner, contact Verniesa R. Allen at 202-737-4700, ext. 3239, or vallen@dcbar.org.

February Offerings Feature Three Topical Courses
The D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program will offer three topical courses in February: “Hot Topics for Banks and Other Financial Institutions Under the Uniform Commercial Code and Related Federal Law,” “Covenants Not to Compete—More Than a Primer,” and “Protecting Content on the Internet.”

“Hot Topics” takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on February 11 and will be led by Barkley Clark, a partner at Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP.

Clark will cover hot topics in the areas of secured lending and payments under the UCC, including enforcement of security interests in a time of economic downturn, avoidance of security interests by bankruptcy trustees and debtors-in-possession, documentation pitfalls, legal and political challenges to overdraft banking, how the courts are handling check fraud cases, and letters of credit and wire transfers.

This course is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section and Litigation Section.

Meanwhile, Edward Lee Isler, a partner at Isler Dare Ray Radcliffe & Connolly, P.C., and Leslie Stout-Tabackman of Fortney & Scott, LLC will discuss the ins and outs of covenants not to compete, including drafting, negotiating, and enforcing from the perspective of both the employer and the employee.

Participants will learn about special considerations that may affect federal service contractors and employers whose workforce includes independent contractors.

“Covenants” takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on February 23 and is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Labor and Employment Law Section; Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section; and Litigation Section.

Finally, on February 24, the “Internet” course will discuss legal strategies that will protect content—third-party content included—on the Internet.

Topics to be discussed include anticircumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, “bot” policies and protection schemes, copyright protection, disclaimers, password-restricted content, section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act involving immunity, warranties and representation respecting user content, and Web site terms of use/terms of service agreements.

Faculty includes J. T. “Jay” Westermeier, of counsel at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP.

The course, which takes place from 6 to 8:15 p.m., is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law Section; Computer and Telecommunications Law Section; and Intellectual Property Law Section.

All courses will be held at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, first floor. For more information, contact the CLE Office at 202-626-3488 or visit www.dcbar.org/cle.

Copyright Executive Peters Takes Part in Sections Luncheon
On February 24 the D.C. Bar Intellectual Property Law Section will present its annual luncheon program, featuring Marybeth Peters, register of copyrights at the U.S. Copyright Office.

Peters will discuss developments in case law and administrative and legislative proceedings involving the Copyright Office over the past year.

Elizabeth Stanley of Stanley, Marcus & Associates, PLLC will moderate the program, which takes place from 12 to 2 p.m. at the City Club of Washington at Franklin Square, 1300 I Street NW. Space is limited to 75 participants.

The program is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Arts, Entertainment, Media & Sports Law Section and Intellectual Property Law Section, and the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., Washington, D.C.-area chapter.

For more information, contact the Sections Office at 202-626-3463 or sections@dcbar.org.

Reach D.C. Bar staff writer Kathryn Alfisi at kalfisi@dcbar.org.