Washington Lawyer

D.C. Bar Annual Report

From Washington Lawyer, July/August 2005

Upholding professionalism, advancing justice, and assisting the public. These were major themes of the District of Columbia Bar during 2004–2005. With more than 80,000 members, the D.C. Bar has undertaken a wide variety of programs and initiatives designed to advance the principles of service, integrity, and leadership. These efforts are made possible by the leadership of a 23-member Board of Governors as well as by the tireless efforts of literally thousands of volunteers participating in the work of the Bar’s 28 standing and special committees, its 21 sections, and its Pro Bono Program.

This annual report provides a snapshot of these activities and extends an invitation to the membership to become and remain involved.

Serving the Profession
One of the D.C. Bar’s core missions is to safeguard the proper professional interest of the membership. To that end, the D.C. Bar this year used its biannual conference to initiate a freewheeling discussion about a major challenge of the membership: confronting the billable hour as the economic foundation of the practice of law. The 2005 D.C. Bar Conference, with its theme “Billable Hours: It’s About Time,” acknowledged that lawyers increasingly report struggling with not enough time for themselves, their families, and their communities; and considered meaningful alternatives that assist in returning some balance to the profession while maintaining quality legal services and accounting to clients for the work and services provided. The event also served to increase awareness of this issue nationwide, as discussions around the country continue on the current state of affairs and possibilities for the future.

Consistently dedicated to the highest standards in the ethical practice of law, the D.C. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee this year concluded a four-year-long review of changes made to the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, as well as other issues brought to its attention by the Bar’s Legal Ethics Committee, and considered changes that might be recommended in the District of Columbia. The committee presented its final report and recommendations to the Bar’s Board of Governors, which, after additional review and discussion, is expected to submit a report to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

The Bar continues to uphold integrity in the legal profession through its attorney discipline system. The Office of Bar Counsel continues the important work of handling all inquiries about possible attorney misconduct by investigating specific allegations, docketing complaints that appear to have merit, and prosecuting those matters fully before the Board on Professional Responsibility. This year these important programs worked under an extraordinary challenge when their offices had to relocate as renovations got under way at the District of Columbia courthouse complex. Thanks to the generosity of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, a temporary move was completed this spring, enabling the disciplinary system to continue operating in rent-free quarters without interruption.

Recognizing that in all things there is room for improvement, the Bar continued working on a comprehensive examination of the existing disciplinary system in order to make sure it functions as effectively and efficiently as possible. The Bar’s Disciplinary System Study Committee has a goal of concluding its examination and presenting recommendations for public comment later this calendar year.

Another core mission of the D.C. Bar is upholding the professional competence of the membership, which is carried out in part by the activities of the Continuing Legal Education Program, which offers outstanding, reasonably priced programming in various fields of legal practice. Program highlights for the year included the annual appellate advocacy course cosponsored by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, new courses on employment law and intellectual property law, and ongoing courses on lobbying, nonprofit law, and litigation. The program also continued to offer an extensive array of legal ethics courses on topics ranging from attorney–client privilege, conflicts of interest, and retainer agreements to risk management for law firms, ethics and substance abuse, and ethics and the Internet. Of special note, this year marked the program’s 10th anniversary of its administration of the Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and D.C. Practice. Over 3,000 newly admitted members attended in the past year along with more than 130 individuals who were seeking reinstatement to the Bar or a return to active status. The course includes among its instructors distinguished members of the judiciary of the D.C. Court of Appeals as well as the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Also dedicated to advancing professional competency this year were the Bar’s 21 sections, which hosted over 500 events. With over 25,000 memberships and more than 100 committees, the sections presented programs ranging from tours of the U.S. Copyright Office, presentations on careers in sports law and executive privilege, and receptions focusing on career advancement in fields as diverse as environmental and international law.

Helping further to uphold the integrity of the legal profession in the District of Columbia are a number of programs managed by the Bar’s Office of Regulation Counsel, including the Legal Ethics Committee, which, among other services, issues opinions interpreting the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct; the Attorney/Client Relations Program, which manages a number of problem areas that arise during representation of clients, particularly fee and malpractice disputes, as well as claims for financial losses caused by attorney dishonesty brought to the Clients’ Security Fund; the Lawyer Practice Assistance Program, which offers assistance to lawyers in managing their practices effectively and efficiently in order to provide outstanding service to clients; and the Lawyer Counseling Program, which offers counseling, intervention, and referral services to individuals with substance abuse or mental health problems that impact their professional and personal lives.

The D.C. Bar and its individual members continue to benefit from a number of affinity relationships offered through the Bar’s Membership Benefits Program, overseen by the Bar’s Membership Committee. New benefits added this year include discounted fee recovery services from Diversified Services Group, information technology network services from e.magination, discounted professional software from Corel, and a student loan consolidation program from SunTrust Bank. Royalties from these programs provide significant financial support for D.C. Bar programs that are not supported by membership dues including the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program and the Continuing Legal Education Program.

Finally, a unique service to the profession launched this year is the Senior Lawyer Public Interest Project, conceived by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program. The project recognizes that some of the Bar’s most distinguished members approaching retirement age have an interest in “doing good after doing well,” by refocusing their professional energies and expertise to assist local legal service providers and public interest organizations in a significant way.

Serving the Court
The D.C. Bar has long been dedicated to serving the District of Columbia courts in advancing justice and serving the public. This support is reflected in a number of important projects spearheaded by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, including the Landlord Tenant Resource Center in the Superior Court, which offers assistance to numerous unrepresented tenants and landlords annually, and the Family Court Self-Help Center, along with the recent publication on the Bar’s web site of a comprehensive set of pro se pleadings for individuals with matters pending in the family court.

The D.C. Bar is particularly pleased to have contributed to the work leading up to the creation by the D.C. Court of Appeals this past winter of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission, which has been charged with finding lasting solutions to the delivery of quality legal services on the broadest possible scale to low-income and poverty-level individuals in the District of Columbia. Early proponents of the commission, including the D.C. Bar and the D.C. Bar Foundation, along with the Consortium of Legal Service Providers, look forward to supporting its work and advancing its recommendations.

Serving the Community
Recognizing that low-income members of the public are one of its most important constituencies, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program continues working tirelessly to increase the availability of representation for those who are least able to afford it, including:

  • A quarterly Pro Bono Spanish Language Advice and Referral Clinic, reaching out to a growing number of non-English-speaking clients facing legal difficulties;
  • The Pro-Se-Plus Divorce Clinic and the new Pro-Se-Plus Custody Clinic, which prepare individuals seeking uncontested divorces and individuals involved in custody disputes to represent themselves; and
  • The launch of LawHelp.org, a web-based service developed with a number of local legal service providers, to provide legal and referral information written specifically for the low-income community.

Another important way the Bar reaches out to the public is through the Sections Community Outreach Program. Several initiatives this past year have been particularly notable.

The Health Law Section concluded a multiyear project to assist health care consumers by publishing The Patient Rights Manual: A Guide for Patients and Their Families: Understanding Your Legal Rights to Health Care. In 20 chapters this publication provides basic information on topics ranging from family planning to funerals, and appears both in print and on the D.C. Bar’s web site, www.dcbar.org. The section also released a more comprehensive companion guide to the manual for the legal practitioner.

The Litigation Section spearheaded the sixth annual Youth Law Fair, with its theme “Risky Business—Reckless Driving.” The event, cosponsored by seven other sections, the District of Columbia courts, D.C. agencies, and other law-related and community groups, focused on a range of issues of importance to young people and the potential interaction of youths with the District’s legal system.

The International Law Section repeated its popular International Pro Bono Fair, aiming to increase the availability of counsel to assist the growing number of organizations and individuals in the District struggling with international legal matters.

2004–2005 BOARD OF GOVERNORS

President
John C. Keeney Jr.
Hogan & Hartson L.L.P.

President-Elect
John C. Cruden
U.S. Department of Justice

Secretary
Nicholas G. Karambelas
Attorney at Law

Treasurer
Laura A. Possessky
Gura & Day, L.L.C.

Members
Rita M. Bank
Ain & Bank, P.C.

Francis D. Carter
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP

Felicia L. Chambers
U.S. Department of Justice

Robert D. Dinerstein
American University
Washington College of Law

La Verne Fletcher
Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration

Nathalie F. P. Gilfoyle
American Psychological Association

Sharon M. Harris
Baach Robinson & Lewis PLLC

Shirley Ann Higuchi
American Psychological Association

Abram E. Hoffman, D.B.A.

Antonia B. Ianniello
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Ellen M. Jakovic
White & Case LLP

Douglas N. Letter
U.S. Department of Justice

Charles R. Lowery Jr.
Center for Responsible Lending

William H. Ng
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Martha Purcell Rogers
Ober|Kaler

James J. Sandman
Arnold & Porter LLP

DeMaurice F. Smith
Latham & Watkins LLP

Paul M. Smith
Jenner & Block LLP

Melvin White
McDermott, Will & Emery

D.C. BAR COMMITTEES AND TASK FORCES

Attorney/Client Arbitration Board
Joyce A. Mitchell, Chair
Janet W. Duke, Vice Chair

Budget
John C. Cruden, Chair

Community Economic Development
William C. Kelly Jr., Chair
Susan R. Jones, Vice Chair

Continuing Legal Education
James T. Langford, Chair
Lisa B. Koteen, Program Chair

Court Funding
Carolyn B. Lamm, Chair

Disciplinary System Study
John Payton, Chair
Joan L. Goldfrank, Vice Chair

Election Board
James P. Joseph, Chair

Executive
John C. Keeney Jr., Chair

Family Law Representation
Margaret Martin Barry, Cochair
Armin U. Kuder, Cochair

Finance
Shirley Ann Higuchi, Chair

Governance Integration Advisory
George W. Jones Jr., Chair

Judicial Evaluation
Stephen P. Murphy, Chair

Landlord–Tenant Implementation
Kim Keenan, Chair

Lawyer Counseling
Travis A. Murrell, Chair
Elizabeth C. Tower, Vice Chair

Lawyer Practice Assistance
Devarieste Curry, Chair
Donald L. Wilson, Vice Chair

Legal Ethics
Eric Hirschhorn, Chair
Geoffrey M. Klineberg, Vice Chair

Membership
Lois Hochhauser, Chair
Christopher R. Costa, Vice Chair

Multidisciplinary Practice
Charles E. Buffon, Chair

Multijurisdictional Practice
James J. Sandman, Chair

Nominations
Jonathan J. Rusch, Chair

Pension
Shirley Ann Higuchi, Chair

Personnel
John C. Keeney Jr., Chair

Pro Bono
John W. Nields Jr., Chair
David W. DeBruin, Vice Chair

Pro Bono by Small and Mid-Sized Firms
Richard H. Rowe, Chair
Jacquelyn V. Helm, Vice Chair

Publications
Don A. Resnikoff, Chair
Nina Graybill, Vice Chair

Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures
Eileen Sobeck, Chair

Rules of Professional Conduct Review
Leah Wortham, Chair
Anthony C. Epstein, Vice Chair

Screening
James J. Sandman, Chair

D.C. BAR SECTIONS

Council on Sections
Margaret J. McKinney, Chair
Robert M. Portman, Vice Chair

Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section
Meredith Fuchs, Cochair
Marc L. Kesselman, Cochair

Antitrust and Consumer Law Section
Emmitt H. Carlton Jr., Cochair
Laura Ann Wilkinson, Cochair

Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law Section
Maureen C. Harrington, Cochair
John D. Malloy, Cochair

Computer and Telecommunications Law Section
Jonathan J. Frankel, Chair
Julie A. Veach, Vice Chair

Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section
Arthur A. Cohen, Chair
Karen A. Caplan, Vice Chair

Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice Section
Peter Buscemi, Cochair
Linda E. Perle, Cochair

Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section
Marlon C. Griffith, Cochair
Peter S. Spivack, Cochair

District of Columbia Affairs Section
James S. Bubar, Cochair
Bell Clement, Cochair

Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section
Sheila D. Jones, Cochair
Robert I. Van Heuvelen, Cochair

Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section
Julia L. O’Brien, Cochair
Edward G. Varrone, Cochair

Family Law Section
Keely A. Magyar, Cochair
Lisa Vogel, Cochair

Government Contracts and Litigation Section
Harold D. Lester Jr., Cochair
Joseph D. West, Cochair

Health Law Section
Robert M. Portman, Chair
Lena Robins, Vice Chair

Intellectual Property Law Section
Joy R. Butler, Cochair
Richard C. Litman, Cochair

International Law Section
Nancy L. Perkins, Chair
Mary Patricia Michel, Vice Chair

Labor and Employment Law Section
Nicholas W. Clark, Cochair
Jonathan R. Mook, Cochair

Law Practice Management Section
Jeffrey L. Berger, Cochair
James E. Rocap III, Cochair

Litigation Section
Laurence J. Freedman, Cochair
Lorelie S. Masters, Cochair

Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section
Robert W. McKeon Jr., Chair
Vytas V. Vergeer, Vice Chair

Taxation Section
Steven M. Rosenthal, Chair
Suzanne R. McDowell, Vice Chair

Tort Law Section
John G. Harnishfeger, Cochair
Frank R. Kearney, Cochair

AFFILIATED PROGRAMS

Board on Professional Responsibility
Martin R. Baach, Chair
Paul R. Q. Wolfson, Vice Chair

Clients’ Security Fund
Richard L. Cys, Chair
Kathleen A. Carey, Vice Chair

District of Columbia Bar Foundation
Robert N. Weiner, President
Joan H. Strand, Vice President

Consolidated Statements of Activities
Years ended June 30, 2004 and 2003
Revenue 2004 2003
Members’ dues $12,105,111 $11,518,308
Admissions and registrations 1,476,961 1,361,119
Advertising 441,756 417,972
Books and publication sales 162,686 161,129
Contributions 1,250,890 909,042
In-kind contributions 825,049 650,153
Investment (loss) income 883,056 122,260
Mailing list 53,037 41,604
Miscellaneous 27,414 240,512
Other fees and services 15,689 14,342
Rental income 136,019 246,730
Royalties 304,192 264,286
Subscriber fees 2,156 4,151
Net assets released from restrictions
Total revenue $17,684,016 $15,951,608

Expenses
 
 
Program Services:
   
Board on Professional Responsibility $4,374,786 $3,808,884
Regulation Counsel 1,511,681 1,468,365
Conference and Annual Meeting 345,437 235,908
Publications 1,618,755 1,587,875
Continuing Legal Education 1,775,200 1,613,331
Sections 1,148,970 1,008,140
Clients’ Security Fund 88,660 9,202
Pro Bono Program 1,229,807 1,110,863
Total program services $12,093,296 $10,842,568

Supporting Services:


Administration and Finance $4,152,912 $3,982,046
Executive Office 750,151 744,068
Total supporting services 4,903,063 4,726,114
Total expenses 16,996,359 15,568,682
Changes in net assets 687,657 382,926
Net assets, beginning of year 5,289,881 4,906,955
Net assets, end of year $5,977,538 $5,289,881

Consolidated Statements of Financial Position
Years ended June 30, 2004 and 2003
Assets 2004 2003
Cash $1,109,429 $258,257
Investments: Clients’ Security Trust Fund 645,735 706,107
Investments 13,522,786 11,496,569
Due from (to) funds
Receivables, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $5,957 in 2004 and $37,405 in 2003 133,399 113,288
Deposits and prepaid expenses 195,476 524,855
Furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements, net 859,467 1,188,516
Total assets $16,466,292 $14,287,592

Liabilities and Net Assets    
Liabilities:
   
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $2,316,379 $2,260,207
Deferred revenue 8,172,375 6,735,982
Deferred rent 1,522
Total liabilities $10,488,754 $8,997,711

Net Assets:
   
Designated:    
Mandatory dues purposes $1,848,633 $1,731,679
Clients’ Security Trust Fund 645,232 705,573
Pro Bono Program 1,794,622 1,493,685
Sections 678,617 498,158
Continuing Legal Education 6,347 (8,830)
Undesignated 1,004,087 869,616
Total net assets $5,997,538 $5,289,881
     
Commitments $16,466,292 $14,287,592


The above financial reports represent the District of Columbia Bar’s Consolidated Statements of Position and Consolidated Statements of Activities for the years ended June 30, 2004 and 2003. Any member who wishes to receive a full copy of the Bar’s Consolidated Financial Statements and Schedule may request a copy by calling 202-737-4700, extension 241.