Washington Lawyer

D.C. Bar Annual Report

From Washington Lawyer, July/August 2008

logoTransitions and Traditions
Now midway through its fourth decade of existence, the D.C. Bar as an organization is both young enough to appreciate the need for transition and yet old enough to respect the importance of tradition. The events of this past fiscal year, reviewed in this annual report, show the Bar’s leadership has looked closely at its programs and policies, questioned where necessary, adapted where appropriate, and retained where needed. Through it all, the Bar has maintained its steadfast commitment to service, integrity, and leadership.

Transitions …
The D.C. Bar surpassed the 88,000-member mark, placing it as the second-largest unified bar in the nation behind California. To better serve those members, the D.C. Bar rolled out a new, Web-based membership system that effectively integrates all aspects of member involvement with the Bar’s various offices and activities. Web-based applications allow members to join sections, pay dues, register for events, update their profiles, and make contributions to the Bar’s Pro Bono Program quickly and easily, receiving electronic confirmations in the process.

The topic of transitions was central to the 2008 District of Columbia Judicial & Bar Conference. With the theme “Transitions: The Future of the Legal Profession,” the two-day biennial event offered plenary programs on impact litigation, intergenerational changes in the legal profession, and treatment courts, along with nine seminar programs on topics ranging from the importance of diversity on the bench to best practices in law firm management, a forum on access to justice issues, and a continuing legal education course on ethics.

D.C. Bar members also experienced transition in the area of professional responsibility as the Bar entered its second year operating under revised ethics rules. To assist members in staying current in this subject area, the D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Committee, in collaboration with the Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee, identified 22 opinions previously issued by the Legal Ethics Committee that were substantively affected by those rules changes. Jointly, the committees published a table of those opinions both on the Bar’s Web site and as part of its subscription service, an undertaking that drew the award for 2008 Best Bar Project. In addition, the Bar kept members informed of the changes through articles in Washington Lawyer and notices in E-Brief and on the Web site, and it created digital video discs of educational presentations of this topic.

The Bar’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program spearheaded the development of a new Rules Education Program, focusing on revisions to the ethics rules. These changes made a dramatic impact on course content, both in the CLE Program’s core offerings and in its Mandatory Course. Courses included “Ethics and Professional Conduct for Government Attorneys: Complying With Dual Sets of Rules;” “Practical Ethics Issues in Estate Planning;” and a free offering titled “Remaining Ethical While Doing Good: Ethics for Pro Bono and Association Lawyers,” designed for attorneys handling pro bono matters or employed by nonprofit and legal services provider organizations.

There also were major changes to D.C. Bar Rule XI governing lawyer discipline. Having received a comprehensive report from the D.C. Bar Disciplinary System Study Committee, coupled with comments from the Board on Professional Responsibility, the Office of Bar Counsel, and Bar members, the D.C. Court of Appeals adopted changes intended to streamline and improve the effectiveness of the disciplinary system. Among the key changes are a negotiated discipline process, expedited reinstatement, and suspension pending final court action for serious cases of misconduct.

In 2007–2008 the Office of Bar Counsel moved back to its permanent, renovated quarters at 515 5th Street NW, Building A, room 117. The Board on Professional Responsibility Office of the Executive Attorney remains in temporary space at 409 E Street NW, Building B, room 208, until 2009, when it will move to new offices in the renovated Old Courthouse building for the D.C. Court of Appeals at 451 Indiana Avenue NW.

There also was transition in other areas of importance to the membership in 2007– 2008. In response to a recommendation from its Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures Committee, the Bar began implementing a number of procedural changes aimed at increasing the timely payment of dues and clarifying the consequences of nonpayment as well as the necessary steps for resignation and reinstatement following suspension.

The Bar’s leadership continues to be mindful of its stewardship of member dues as well as other income, which was borne out when the Bar, once again, received an unqualified audit opinion. Now in the final year of a dues ceiling set by the D.C. Court of Appeals in 2003, the Bar appointed a Dues Ceiling Committee that worked with staff to develop a plan for the next five years. As the fiscal year closed, the D.C. Bar Board of Governors was in the process of considering the committee’s recommendations and preparing a petition to the D.C. Court of Appeals to raise that ceiling so the Bar can continue to operate in the next five years.

One of the major components of the Bar’s expenditures is the occupancy costs of its headquarters at its present location. Fortunately for the Bar, the D.C. Court of Appeals generously provides office space at no cost for the staff managing the Bar’s disciplinary system, which is comprised of the Board on Professional Responsibility and the Office of Bar Counsel. However, the Bar’s headquarters is located in leased commercial space. Facing the final year of its current lease and aware that the District of Columbia is one of the most expensive real estate markets nationwide, the Board of Governors appointed a Building Committee to consider alternatives. During its discussions, the committee brought up the subject of ownership. To determine if that option is feasible, the Board of Governors convened a special membership meeting where it sought authority to look for public bond financing and lobby the Council of the District of Columbia for a waiver from real estate taxes in the event of a purchase.

Traditions …
Organizations that flourish after times of transition often do so in part because they recognize the importance of retaining their core traditions, day after day. For the D.C. Bar, the traditions of service, integrity, and leadership continue to be important underpinnings of its ongoing programs and activities, which benefit the membership as well as the general public.

Programs operated by the Office of Regulation Counsel continue to touch the members of the Bar as well as the public in a number of important ways. The Bar’s Attorney/Client Arbitration Program, which offers a relatively informal and efficient arbitration service for D.C. Bar members and their clients to resolve disputes about legal fees and legal malpractice, drew high marks from HALT, a nonprofit legal reform organization. HALT ranked the Bar’s overall fee arbitration program number one in the nation based on six criteria: availability of mandatory and binding arbitration on clients’ request, ease of filing claims, program publicity, access to nonlawyer arbitrators, mediation options, and enforcement methods.

Operating under a new name in 2007–2008 to better reflect its mission, the Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) continues to provide support to lawyers, law students, and judges struggling with substance abuse and mental health issues. Recognizing that early intervention is important, the LAP undertook a special outreach to law schools in the District.

Among the Bar’s strongest traditions are the outstanding programs and activities produced by its 21 sections, which are organized around practice and interest areas. With 30,000 memberships and growing, the Sections Office consistently offers a dynamic array of substantive programs and valuable networking opportunities. Sharing top honors for the 2008 Best Section Award were the Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section, which presented a number of successful programs and launched an exciting outreach project in which members provided counsel to high school students grappling with the college admissions process, and the Litigation Section for its comprehensive lineup of community outreach, educational programs, legislative advocacy, member communications, and professional activities. In response to member interest, the sections embraced transition as well, undertaking the e-mail only Exceptional E-Communication, and are looking forward to expanding that approach in the coming year.

Community outreach remains one of the core missions of the Bar’s sections. Leading the way in 2007–2008 was the Government Contracts and Litigation Section, which earned the 2008 Best Section Community Outreach Project Award for its Government Procurement Training Program. Another important outreach initiative was the Youth Law Fair, cosponsored annually by the sections and the D.C. courts. The 2008 version focused on the dangers of social networking sites and blogs.

The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program also is a leader in upholding the highest traditions of public service, targeting those who cannot afford legal counsel. Headlining the program’s list of achievements in 2007–2008 was the Community Economic Development (CED) Project, an initiative that provides legal assistance to community-based nonprofit organizations, low-income tenant associations and limited equity co-ops, and small business entrepreneurs serving low-income communities or the economically disadvantaged. In 2007–2008 the CED Project launched Project 990, providing information to area nonprofits about the newly revised Internal Revenue Service informational tax return for nonprofits. That effort warranted the 2008 Frederick B. Abramson Award for the project’s significant impact.

Not resting on its laurels, the Pro Bono Program continues its proactive efforts to expand the pool of lawyer volunteers willing to assist those in need. After successfully reaching out to the District’s 50 largest law firms, the Pro Bono Initiative expanded its network by asking the next 50 largest firms to join its ranks by committing between 3 percent and 5 percent of their annual billable hours to pro bono work.

The Pro Bono Program operates a number of initiatives that connect lawyer volunteers to those in the community who cannot afford much-needed legal assistance. The Law Firm Clinic continues to match low- and moderate-income clients with lawyer volunteers from 27 major law firms and federal government agencies in areas such as consumer protection, family law, housing, personal injury defense, and public benefits. The Pro Bono Program also brings lawyer volunteers into the community through a number of unique initiatives: The Advice and Referral Clinic, which provides brief services to individuals with civil legal matters governed by District of Columbia or federal law and, if necessary, refers them to firms or legal service agencies for ongoing assistance; the Small Business Initiative, which provides eligible low-income, for-profit businesses with legal information and assistance through various small business development centers throughout the District; and the Affordable Housing Preservation Project, which recruits, trains, and supports lawyers and law firms that represent tenants and tenant associations in protecting their rights under District law to purchase their buildings.

Consistently working to create new opportunities for lawyers to serve their community, the Pro Bono Program continues to nurture its Senior Lawyer Public Interest Project, which in 2007–2008 held its third networking reception to reach out to lawyers regarding public service options as they approach retirement.

The Pro Bono Program, through its projects at the D.C. courts, offers numerous public service opportunities to members. These include the Landlord Tenant Resource Center, which provides unrepresented landlords and tenants with legal information; the Pro Se Divorce and Pro Se Custody Clinics, assisting unrepresented individuals who want to file uncontested divorce and/or custody complaints; and the Probate Resource Center, which provides free legal services to unrepresented parties or potential parties in the Probate Division. The program’s newest effort is the Tax Sale Resource Center, which provides advice to unrepresented taxpayers and other interested parties seeking to redeem their property after a D.C. tax sale has occurred.

The Pro Bono Program also links to cyberspace through www.LawHelp.org/dc, which provides basic legal information to consumers in English and Spanish and soon will launch interactive pleadings in family and landlord–tenant cases.

Many outstanding members and firms have made these efforts possible, but David Cleveland of the Catholic Charities Immigration Legal Services and Seth Galanter of Morrison & Foerster LLP, as well as the law firm of Dickstein Shapiro LLP, deserve special mention for their contributions in 2007–2008.

The D.C. Bar is known for its tradition of offering programs that benefit members and provide significant income to support the Bar’s non-dues-funded operations. In 2007– 2008 the Membership Benefits Program, managed by the Bar’s Membership Committee, added Forrest T. Jones & Company as its new professional liability insurance administrator; partnered with YTB Travel Network for business and leisure travel; and developed additional financial programs, such as mortgage and personal banking options, through Bank of America. The committee also hosted the Annual D.C. Bar Golf Tournament and New Member Reception, two special events welcoming members and showcasing the Bar’s many benefit programs.

Board of Governors

Melvin White
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Robert J. Spagnoletti
Schertler & Onorato, L.L.P.

Rebecca M. McNeill
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P.

Don Allen Resnikoff
Office of the Attorney General

Johnine P. Barnes
Baker & Hostetler LLP

Felicia L. Chambers
U.S. Department of Justice

Paulette E. Chapman
Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.

Judith M. Conti
National Employment Law Project

Judy Deason
King & Spalding LLP

Ronald S. Flagg
Sidley Austin LLP

La Verne Fletcher
Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration

Nathalie F. P. Gilfoyle
American Psychological Association

Antonia B. Ianniello
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Ellen M. Jakovic
Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kim M. Keenan
The Keenan Law Firm

Esther H. Lim
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P.

Charles R. Lowery Jr.
Center for Responsible Lending

Barry C. Mills
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP

Laura A. Possessky
Gura & Possessky, P.L.L.C.

James J. Sandman
District of Columbia Public Schools

Christina G. Sarchio
Howrey LLP

DeMaurice F. Smith
Patton Boggs LLP

Paul M. Smith
Jenner & Block LLP

D.C. Bar Committees and Task Forces 2007–2008
Attorney/Client Arbitration Board

Donna Bright Rubenstein, Chair
Carol P. Stuart, Vice Chair

James J. Sandman, Chair

Robert J. Spagnoletti, Chair

Gary E. Humes, Chair

Community Economic Development
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

Disaster Practice Issues Working Group
Richard B. Nettler, Chair

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

Dues Ceiling
John C. Cruden, Chair

Election Board
Lois Hochhauser, Chair

Melvin White, Chair

Family Law Representation
Margaret Martin Barry, Chair

James J. Sandman, Chair

Governance Integration Advisory
George W. Jones Jr., Chair

Judicial Evaluation
Mark J. Rochon, Chair

Landlord–Tenant Implementation
Kim M. Keenan, Chair

Lawyer Assistance Program
Laurens Ayvazian, Chair
Evan A. Parke, Vice Chair

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

Charles K. Kerby III, Chair
Marilyn E. Mickelson, Vice Chair

Robert M. Portman, Chair

James J. Sandman, Chair

Melvin White, Chair

Practice Management Assistance
Christopher G. Hoge, Chair
Peter C. Wolk, Vice Chair

Pro Bono
John W. Nields Jr., Chair
H. Guy Collier, Vice Chair

Theodore Hirt, Chair
Patrick McGlone, Vice Chair

Regulations/Rules/Board Procedures
Eileen Sobeck, Chair

Rules of Professional Conduct Review
Eric L. Hirschhorn, Chair
Daniel Schumack, Vice Chair

Paulette E. Chapman, Chair

D.C. Bar Sections
Council on Sections
Edward G. Varrone, Chair
James E. Rocap III, Vice Chair

Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section
James J. Gilligan, Cochair
Ilene R. Heller, Cochair

Antitrust and Consumer Law Section
Sondra L. Mills, Cochair
Maribeth Petrizzi, Cochair

Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law Section
Karl W. Means, Cochair
Bradley A. Thomas, Cochair

Computer and Telecommunications Law Section Kathleen M. Grillo, Cochair
Ryan G. Wallach, Cochair

Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section
Daniel J. Hurson, Chair
James E. Day, Vice Chair

Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice Section
Frederick V. Mulhauser, Cochair
Michael J. Zoeller, Cochair

Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section
Ashley N. Bailey, Cochair
Amit P. Mehta, Cochair

District of Columbia Affairs Section
Sally B. Weinbrom Kram, Cochair
Claudia L. McKoin, Cochair

Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section
James W. Rubin, Cochair
Anna L. Wolgast, Cochair

Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section
Morris Klein, Cochair
Anne Meister, Cochair

Family Law Section
Laurie S. Kohn, Cochair
John C. Maginnis, Cochair

Government Contracts and Litigation Section
Warren J. Nash, Cochair
Mary Ita Snyder, Cochair

Health Law Section
Amanda Brino, Cochair
Nalini K. Pande, Cochair

Intellectual Property Law Section
Barbara I. Berschler, Cochair
Darrell G. Mottley, Cochair

International Law Section
Jonathan G. Cedarbaum, Chair
Susan M. C. Kovarovics, Vice Chair

Labor and Employment Law Section
Lily M. Garcia, Cochair
Deirdre E. Hamilton, Cochair

Law Practice Management Section
Jessica E. Adler, Cochair
Conrad J. Jacoby, Cochair

Litigation Section
Mary L. Smith, Cochair
Bruce V. Spiva, Cochair

Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section
Roy L. Kaufmann, Cochair
Robert W. McKeon Jr., Cochair

Taxation Section
James P. Joseph, Chair
Linda E. Carlisle, Vice Chair

Tort Law Section
Catherine A. Hanrahan, Cochair
Christopher H. Mitchell, Cochair

Affiliated Programs
Board on Professional Responsibility
Charles J. Willoughby, Chair
Irvin B. Nathan, Vice Chair

Clients’ Security Trust Fund
Kathleen A. Carey, Chair
Bonnie Robin-Vergeer, Vice Chair

District of Columbia Bar Foundation
Robert N. Weiner, President
Stephen J. Pollak, Vice President

Consolidated Statements of Activities
Years ended June 30, 2007 and 2006
Revenue 2007 2006
Members’ dues $14,953,407 $13,986,458
Admissions and registrations 1,757,265 1,692,626
Advertising 399,784 494,437
Books and publication sales 196,093 190,592
Contributions 1,591,265 1,469,587
In-kind contributions 851,610 915,281
Investment income 1,888,412 806,243
Mailing list 28,543 45,014
Miscellaneous 39,663 111,452
Other fees and services 41,732 22,710
Rental income 272,664 250,180
Royalties 283,470 300,271
Subscriber fees 2,313 2,011
Net assets released from restrictions
Total Revenue $20,306,221 $18,286,862

Program Services:    
Board on Professional Responsibility $5,390,393 $4,844,842
Regulation Counsel 1,571,184 1,513,247
Conference and Annual Meeting 248,310 408,155
Continuing Legal Education 1,951,399 1,784,016
Sections 1,569,711 1,342,964
Clients’ Security Fund 300,166 51,846
Publications 1,939,453 1,832,550
Pro Bono Program 1,746,023 1,398,710
Total Program Services $14,716,639 $13,176,330

Supporting Services:

Administration and Finance $4,872,719 $4,443,503
Executive Office 920,333 829,561
Total supporting services 5,793,052 5,273,064
Total expenses 20,509,691 18,449,394
Changes in net assets 1,796,530 1,837,468
Net assets, beginning of year 8,516,788 6,679,320
Net assets, end of year $10,313,318 $8,516,788

Assets 2007 2006
Cash $272,499 $21,001
Investments: Clients’ Security Trust Fund 750,000 783,566
Investments 18,428,344 16,716,414
Receivables, net of allowance 184,775 114,295
Deposits and prepaid expenses 277,705 389,082
Furniture, equipment and leasehold improvements, net 1,310,832 631,101
Total Assets $21,224,155 $18,655,459

Liabilities and Net Assets    
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $3,176,484 $2,290,555
Deferred revenue 7,715,685 7,829,448
Rent deposit 18,668 18,668
Total Liabilities $10,910,837 $10,138,671

Net Assets:    
Mandatory dues purposes $4,713,268 $3,241,093
Clients’ Security Trust Fund 752,017 783,062
Pro Bono Program 2,669,881 2,372,263
Sections 811,611 868,146
Continuing Legal Education 49,443 58,664
Undesignated 1,317,098 1,193,560
Total Net Assets $10,313,318 $8,516,788
Commitments $21,224,155 $18,655,459

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, 2007 and 2006. 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.