Washington Lawyer

D.C. Bar Annual Report

From Washington Lawyer, July/August 2006

annualreportD.C. Bar President John C. Cruden took the phrase “Lawyers Render Service” as his term’s theme. To illustrate his vision, Cruden invoked the image of a three-legged stool, with each leg providing support for an exceptional Bar. Those legs, explained Cruden, stood for professional excellence through education and mentoring, dedication to the provision of pro bono legal service to the poor and disadvantaged, and service to the larger community.

“Many of us were, and are, attracted to the practice of law by the shared beliefs that we can make our world a better place,” Cruden wrote in his inaugural column in Washington Lawyer. “We wanted to become part of an old and honored profession, not merely to hold a job.”

During the past year, the D.C. Bar has lived up to Cruden’s vision, committing its resources to advance professional excellence, provide legal services to needy individuals and organizations, and reach out to others in the community to support mutual goals. The following is a brief summary of those efforts during the 2005–2006 year.

Advancing Professional Excellence
A comprehensive, four-year study of the D.C. practitioner’s code of ethics by the Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee concluded in the summer of 2005. The committee focused its review on the 2002 and 2003 changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association and how those changes affect the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct. The Bar’s Board of Governors reviewed and adopted the 203-page report with suggested modifications and forwarded it to the D.C. Court of Appeals for consideration. After a thorough review of its own, the court is expected to announce its decision on the committee’s recommendations in the coming weeks.

Similarly, the Disciplinary System Study Committee (DSSC) recently completed its analysis of Rule XI of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the District of Columbia Bar. Formed in 2003, the DSSC was tasked with reviewing particular areas of the Bar’s disciplinary system and suggesting improvements in fairness and efficiency. This massive undertaking was rewarded with the D.C. Bar’s 2006 Frederick B. Abramson Award for professional excellence.

The DSSC’s report, whose comment period closed in May 2006, made several substantive recommendations. These include permitting the Office of Bar Counsel to enter into consent-to-discipline agreements with respondent attorneys; eliminating the role of the hearing committee and the Board on Professional Responsibility (BPR) in uncontested reinstatement cases that would be considered directly by the Court of Appeals; expanding the category of cases that may be diverted to remedial programs; and permitting the BPR to impose final discipline in cases not involving disbarment or suspension but requiring a showing of fitness for reinstatement.

The Bar also took time this year to focus on the importance of mentoring to the profession—formal and informal connections between experienced and novice lawyers. The Board of Governors spent a significant portion of its annual retreat studying successful mentoring models. The Practice Management Advisory Service made a valuable contribution by dedicating a page on the Bar’s web site to mentoring resources. The Bar’s sections also had a vital role, as with the creative “speed mentoring” event hosted by the Health Law Section.

Another significant way the D.C. Bar upholds professional excellence is through a variety of educational programs presented by the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program and the Bar’s 21 sections. The CLE Program offered over 100 courses during the past year to more than 5,000 participants. The Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice, required for all lawyers newly licensed in the District, had 3,600 attendees. Each session included an introduction from a D.C. Court of Appeals judge and either President John Cruden or President-Elect James Sandman.

The D.C. Bar sections held 600 programs this year on a myriad of topics. Section events have been particularly helpful for educating practitioners about new developments in the law and regulations. For example, the Taxation Section was the first group to sponsor a program on the new 409A tax regulations.

Government officials frequently speak at section events, providing great insight into emerging legal issues. These have included Mark Everson, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, as well as Donald Korb, chief counsel; Eric Solomon, acting deputy assistant secretary for tax policy of the U.S. Department of the Treasury; and Deborah Taylor Tate, a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.

The sections also realize that lawyers serving the poor and disadvantaged sometimes find registration fees prohibitively expensive. Therefore, the sections have offered significant discounts on fees to frontline poverty lawyers.

One of the showcases of professional excellence this year was the 2006 Judicial & Bar Conference. Themed “State of Emergency: Is the District’s Justice System Prepared?” the conference brought together distinguished speakers, judges, and attorneys to discuss lessons learned from Louisiana’s experience with Hurricane Katrina and New York’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and how the District of Columbia can rise to similar challenges. Held on March 30 and 31, the event featured, as keynote speaker, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu and a plenary session on disaster preparedness and recovery, along with 10 seminars on topics ranging from domestic violence to the Access to Justice Commission.

Also taking place during the conference was a special member meeting called by the Board of Governors to allow active D.C. Bar members to vote on a resolution extending the board’s authorization to make public statements on behalf of adequate funding for the D.C. courts. The vote extends that permission for another five years, with annual review.

Over the past year, D.C. Bar members have been able to take advantage of many valuable discounts and offers arranged by the Bar’s Membership Benefits Program. Some of these benefits include a fee recovery service, various health insurances, discounts on overnight shipping services, and special annual percentage rates on D.C. Bar credit cards.

Serving the Poor and Disadvantaged
The Bar continues to mobilize the legal profession to provide much-needed pro bono assistance to those who cannot afford adequate representation. The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program operates a number of innovative programs that draw lawyer volunteers to aid legal service organizations and the poor throughout the District of Columbia. Its array of programs offers outlets for attorneys of every background and experience level.

One of the Pro Bono Program’s newest initiatives, the Senior Lawyer Public Interest Project, has attracted much interest. The project focuses on attorneys considering scaling back their legal practice, encouraging them to donate their hard-earned wisdom and experience to local legal service and public interest organizations. A reception held on May 22 highlighted several lawyers who made a late-career transition to pro bono practice, and featured a networking opportunity for legal assistance organizations and senior attorneys.

The Pro Bono Program benefited from President John Cruden’s focus on pro bono by government lawyers and supported his efforts to increase government pro bono. Cruden’s first act as president was to send a letter to all federal agency general counsel encouraging them to adopt pro bono policies and to join the federal interagency pro bono working group. Several agency general counsel volunteered at the Advice and Referral Clinic this year, sending a symbolic message of support, and several agencies adopted new policies supporting pro bono. The web site LawHelp.org/DC devoted a page to government pro bono, and the December 2005 issue of Washington Lawyer featured government pro bono possibilities.

Another new pro bono initiative, the Affordable Housing Preservation Project, focuses on the needs of low-income District residents being squeezed out of the affordable housing market. Maintaining Section 8 housing, negotiating with landlords to preserve tenant associations’ right of first refusal in a building sale, and providing landlord–tenant court representation are some of this project’s aspects. Working with legal service providers, the project preserves affordable housing by matching the providers and their clients with law firms to undertake the wide range of representation needed. The June 2006 issue of Washington Lawyer featured an article on the Affordable Housing Preservation Project and the attorneys assisting D.C. tenants. The effort also received the Bar’s 2006 Best Bar Project award, emphasizing the impact it has had on the community.

Last summer the Pro Bono Program sprang into action to assist individuals dislocated by Hurricane Katrina. The program partnered with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and Hogan & Hartson LLP to aid the more than 300 evacuees sheltered at the D.C. Armory. The Hurricane Katrina Pro Bono Legal Relief Project organized attorneys to staff a “legal services” table at the Armory, perform intake, offer advice to help the evacuees negotiate the process of applying for government assistance and other legal needs, and function as a hotline after the evacuees were dispersed throughout the community.

Finally, the D.C. Bar continues to support the Access to Justice Commission in its goal of ensuring that everyone who needs access to legal assistance will receive it, regardless of ability to pay.

Reaching Out to Others in the Community
The Bar recognizes that to prosper and advance shared goals, it must stay connected to the community. The sections have taken a leadership role in this capacity, serving as active participants in a variety of community initiatives.

Now in its seventh year, the Youth Law Fair, an educational community outreach event sponsored by the Litigation Section, continues to identify issues that resonate with D.C. youth, teaching them about rights, responsibilities, and the justice system. Several hundred persons were drawn to the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse on March 18 for a program focusing on drugs, alcohol, and truancy. The Intellectual Property Law Section’s longstanding community sponsorship of the Benjamin Banneker Academic High School Science Fair, to which it sends volunteers to serve as judges, entered its 10th year.

The District of Columbia Affairs Section, in partnership with the Litigation Section, hosted the first District-wide mayoral candidate forum on November 9 at the University of the District of Columbia. Approximately 1,000 citizens turned out to hear from candidates Michael Brown, Linda Cropp, Adrian Fenty, Marie Johns, and Vincent Orange. The International Law Section held its Annual Event to Honor Public Service in International Law on October 11, with Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer as keynote speaker. Georgetown University Law Center professor Robert Drinan received the section’s Public Service Award.

Other community outreach programs have addressed the large and growing non-English-speaking population of the District of Columbia. An ongoing process to translate some of the Bar’s community-focused literature into Spanish, such as the Patient Rights Manual, began in 2005. The Law Practice Management Section undertook a Spanish translation of the web-based publication How to Work With a Lawyer.

2005–2006 BOARD OF GOVERNORS

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

President-Elect
James J. Sandman
Arnold & Porter LLP

Secretary
Annamaria Steward
Jack H. Olender & Associates

Treasurer
Gregory S. Smith
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary

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

Deborah B. Baum
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Felicia L. Chambers
U.S. Department of Justice

La Verne Fletcher
Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration

Nathalie F. P. Gilfoyle
American Psychological Association

Sharon M. Harris
Baach Robinson & Lewis PLLC

Abram E. Hoffman, D.B.A.

Antonia B. Ianniello
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Ellen M. Jakovic
White & Case LLP

Kim M. Keenan
Jack H. Olender & Associates

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

Douglas N. Letter
U.S. Department of Justice

Esther H. Lim
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

Charles R. Lowery Jr.
Center for Responsible Lending

William H. Ng
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Laura A. Possessky
Gura & Possessky

DeMaurice F. Smith
Latham & Watkins LLP

Paul M. Smith
Jenner & Block LLP

Melvin White
McDermott, Will & Emery LLP

D.C. BAR COMMITTEES AND TASK FORCES

Attorney/Client Arbitration Board
Blanca E. Torres, Chair
Joshua W. Lathrop, Vice Chair

Budget
James J. Sandman, Chair

Community Economic Development Pro Bono Project Advisory
Stephen I. Glover, Chair
Susan R. Jones, Vice Chair

Continuing Legal Education
Virginia A. McArthur, Chair
Paul D. Manca, Program Chair

Court Funding
Carolyn B. Lamm, Chair

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

Election Board
Mark Fajfar, Chair

Executive
John C. Cruden, Chair

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

Finance
John C. Keeney Jr., Chair

Governance Integration Advisory
George W. Jones Jr., Chair

Judicial Evaluation
Stephen P. Murphy, Chair

Landlord–Tenant Implementation
Kim Keenan, Chair

Lawyer Counseling
David J. Taylor, Chair
Laurens Ayvazian, Vice Chair

Legal Ethics
Geoffrey M. Klineberg, Chair
Hamilton P. Fox III, Vice Chair

Membership
Christopher R. Costa, Chair
Sharon M. Harris, Vice Chair

Multijurisdictional Practice
James J. Sandman, Chair

Nominations
William E. Davis, Chair

Pension
John C. Keeney Jr., Chair

Personnel
John C. Cruden, Chair

Practice Management Service
Devarieste Curry, Chair
Christopher G. Hoge, Vice Chair

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

Pro Bono by Small and Mid-Sized Law 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
Mary Lou Soller, Vice Chair

Screening
Felicia L. Chambers, Chair

D.C. BAR SECTIONS

Council on Sections
Robert M. Portman, Chair
Robert W. McKeon Jr., Vice Chair

Administrative Law and Agency Practice
Meredith Fuchs, Cochair
Jonathan D. Tarnow, Cochair

Antitrust and Consumer Law
Sondra L. Mills, Cochair
Laura Ann Wilkinson, Cochair

Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law
Aoi Nawashiro, Chair

Computer and Telecommunications Law
Julie A. Veach, Chair
Kathleen M. Grillo, Vice Chair

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

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

Criminal Law and Individual Rights
Marlon C. Griffith, Cochair
Kelli C. McTaggart, Cochair

District of Columbia Affairs
Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, Cochair
James S. Bubar, Cochair

Environment, Energy and Natural Resources
Sheila D. Jones, Cochair
David M. Williamson, Cochair

Estates, Trusts and Probate Law
Kimberly M. Turner, Cochair
Edward G. Varrone, Cochair

Family Law
Laurie S. Kohn, Cochair
Keely A. Magyar, Cochair

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

Health Law
Dawn R. Crumel, Cochair
Lena Robins, Cochair

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

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

Labor and Employment Law
Brian F. Quinn, Cochair
Bruce Waxman, Cochair

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

Litigation
Eric S. Angel, Cochair
Lorelie S. Masters, Cochair

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

Taxation
Suzanne R. McDowell, Chair
John P. Barrie, Vice Chair

Tort Law
Deborah K. Hines, Cochair
Samuel M. Shapiro, Cochair

AFFILIATED PROGRAMS

Board on Professional Responsibility
Martin R. Baach, Chair
Roger A. Klein, 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

THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BAR AND AFFILIATE
Consolidated Statements of Activities
Years ended June 30, 2005 and 2004
Revenue 2005 2004
Members’ dues $13,105,184 $12,105,111
Admissions and registrations 1,454,815 1,476,961
Advertising 408,608 411,756
Books and publication sales 184,719 162,686
Contributions 1,228,332 1,250,890
In-kind contributions 1,088,654 825,049
Investment income 689,384 883,056
Mailing list 44,521 53,037
Miscellaneous 47,263 27,414
Other fees and services 18,632 15,689
Rental income 246,858 136,019
Royalties 280,438 304,192
Subscriber fees 2,263 2,156
Net assets released from restrictions
Total revenue $18,799,670 $17,684,016

Expenses
 
 
Program Services:    
Board on Professional Responsibility $4,633,834 $4,374,786
Regulation Counsel 1,542,412 1,511,681
Conference and Annual Meeting 203,111 345,437
Continuing Legal Education 1,828,925 1,775,200
Sections 1,224,831 1,148,970
Clients’ Security Fund 314,889 88,660
Publications 1,758,216 1,618,755
Pro Bono Program 1,318,293 1,229,807
Total program services $12,824,511 $12,093,296

Supporting Services:

Administration and Finance $4,445,834 $4,152,912
Executive Office 827,544 750,151
Total supporting services 5,273,377 4,903,063
Total expenses 18,097,888 16,996,359
Changes in net assets 701,782 687,657
Net assets, beginning of year 5,977,538 5,289,881
Net assets, end of year $6,679,320 $5,977,538

Consolidated Statements of Financial Position
Years ended June 30, 2005 and 2004
Assets 2005 2004
Cash $199,762 $1,109,429
Investments: Clients’ Security Trust Fund 457,225 645,735
Investments 14,300,731 13,522,786
Due from (to) funds
Receivables, net of allowance 125,395 133,399
Deposits and prepaid expenses 293,827 195,476
Furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements, net 656,262 859,467
Total assets $16,033,202 $16,466,292

Liabilities and Net Assets    
Liabilities:    
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $2,331,333 $2,303,628
Deferred revenue 7,003,883 8,166,460
Rent deposit 18,666 18,666
Total liabilities $9,353,882 $10,488,754

Net Assets:    
Designated:    
Mandatory dues purposes $2,336,939 $1,848,633
Clients’ Security Trust Fund 456,722 645,232
Pro Bono Program 1,979,601 1,794,622
Sections 799,736 678,617
Continuing Legal Education 21,463 6,347
Undesignated 1,084,859 1,004,087
Total net assets $6,679,320 $5,997,538
     
Total $16,033,202 $16,466,292


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, 2005 and 2004. 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.