D.C. Bar 2013–2014 Annual Report
From Washington Lawyer, July/August 2014
A New Era of Service
The D.C. Bar entered a new era of professional excellence and service to the community in fiscal year 2013–2014 through fresh technological initiatives and the provision of a broad range of substantive programs and projects.
One of the major highlights of the year was the launching of the Bar’s new Web site, which features a streamlined navigational system designed to facilitate a more user-friendly experience. Lawyers and the general public now have greater access to legal information; a greater capacity to obtain and file forms; an enhanced ability to register for courses, clinics, and programs; and the convenience of a new one-stop online marketplace. The mobile-friendly site allows users to obtain Bar information and services on portable devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
The new Web site has propelled the Bar into a new era of interactive communications, and in the coming months the Bar will continue to expand its range of online capabilities and services, including the provision of online continuing legal education courses that fulfill MCLE requirements in other jurisdictions.
As one of her signature efforts during her tenure, Bar President Andrea Ferster addressed the challenge of access to justice for all through the Bar’s sponsorship of a “low bono” initiative. In November, Ferster convened a meeting of 24 leaders of the District of Columbia legal community to discuss what could be done to expand access to legal help for persons of modest means who do not qualify for pro bono legal services but who cannot afford a private, market-rate lawyer. Participants of the daylong dialogue identified possible approaches that could be undertaken by the local legal community, including a law school-based incubator program, a reduced-fee lawyer referral service, and expanded self-help centers. The participants also sought to identify opportunities for lawyers who find themselves in a market with limited employment options by exploring ways to pair those who are willing and able to provide legal assistance at a reduced rate with clients who would benefit from reduced-fee legal services.
Following the dialogue, the Bar published a summary report, which outlined the participants’ recommendations.
Advancing Professional Excellence
This year the Bar’s Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program offered an expanded range of specialized courses in a variety of in-demand practice areas. This was made possible through a revised marketing strategy that allowed the CLE Program to target audiences more effectively. The CLE Program offered 147 courses this fiscal year, including 112 two- to three-hour individual courses, 11 multisession series, 24 full-day courses, and 12 monthly sessions of the Mandatory Course on the D.C. Rules on Professional Conduct and District of Columbia Practice for new members.
In 2013 the CLE Program published Family-Based Immigration: A Lawyer’s Guide, a comprehensive manual written, edited, and reviewed by a group of volunteer CLE faculty members. The new course book, which has been named Bar Project of the Year, covers the life cycle of a family-based immigration case and is available for purchase from the Bar’s new online marketplace.
New courses on legal ethics, litigation skills, same-sex marriage, the use of DNA evidence in criminal trials, and an introduction to white collar criminal investigations were also popular additions to the CLE curriculum.
More than 20,000 lawyers were actively involved in the Bar’s Sections, and this fiscal year the Sections continued their mission to provide members with substantive educational programming; information about breaking legal developments; topical and timely speakers; and opportunities to engage with others in community outreach, receptions, and other networking events. The Sections were responsible for more than 240 events this year, highlighting the many experts of the D.C. legal community. The Sections utilized advanced technological resources such as Webinar programming to provide members with a wider range of options for participation.
Another highlight was the District of Columbia Affairs Section’s inaugural D.C. Cup Moot Court Competition, which drew participants from six D.C. area law schools and was a major success.
Bolstering Members, Community
There were several exciting developments within the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program, which continued to provide thousands of low-income residents with access to free legal services and pro se assistance.
The Pro Bono Program, which hosts the community-based LawHelp.org/DC, launched a new tool for pro se litigants in family law cases. The program generated six interactive online interviews that enable pro se litigants with divorce, custody, and child support matters to fill out form pleadings without need for outside assistance. By employing a user-friendly, plain-language format that avoids legal jargon, the Pro Bono Program is able to assist more individuals in their pro se filings. The interactive interviews gather a pro se litigant’s information, and, based on the individual’s answers to those questions, the tool would then display a printable document that the litigant can file in D.C. Superior Court. The family law online interviews are also a convenient and easy-to-use resource for other legal services organizations.
In March the Pro Bono Program launched the Unaffiliated Lawyers Working Group to explore ways to enhance volunteer opportunities for solo and small firm practitioners, senior lawyers, and recent law school graduates. By leveraging volunteer and staff resources, the working group seeks to serve the greatest number of clients and provide them with high-quality representation while simultaneously expanding opportunities for lawyer participation.
The Pro Bono Program’s Community Economic Development (CED) Project continued to create new resources and post information online to assist nonprofits and small businesses. As part of its outreach, the CED Project organized two training forums for local small businesses and nonprofits to familiarize employers with the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act and how to maintain compliance. Throughout the year the CED Project also offered a series of free legal clinics to help nonprofit organizations comply with the requirements set out by the IRS and in the D.C. Nonprofit Corporation Act involving conflicts of interest, record retention, and whistleblower policies.
The Pro Bono Program’s continuing partnership with area law firms and government agencies through its Advocacy & Justice Clinic has enabled income-qualified individuals to get full representation in family law, housing, public benefits, consumer, and personal injury defense cases.
Preparing Future Leaders
The Bar renamed its Leadership Academy the John Payton Leadership Academy to honor the legacy of its former president. Payton devoted much of his career to the training of young lawyers and served as a mentor to many.
Now in its second year, the academy kicked off in March and produced 16 new graduates. The academy’s intensive three-day curriculum provides instruction on effective skills and the structure and activities of the Bar, while encouraging participants to use their leadership skills in professional settings, local bar associations, and community organizations.
Graduates from last year’s inaugural class have been active in Bar leadership roles, with a number of alumni serving on Bar committees or running for election to Bar offices. The third leadership academy will be held in the spring of 2015, and applications will be available this fall.
In June 2013 Andrea Ferster was sworn in as the 42nd president of the Bar during its 2013 Celebration of Leadership. Ferster is the first Bar president who has devoted an entire practice to public interest and nonprofit law, and only its second solo practitioner. In her remarks after taking the oath, Ferster spoke of the importance of unity among members of the Bar in working to find innovative solutions to close the access to justice gap and to help attorneys find employment.
Among the highlights of the Celebration of Leadership was the presentation of the William J. Brennan Jr. Award to DC Appleseed’s Walter A. Smith Jr., a public service attorney who has dedicated much of his career to working on civil rights and individual liberties issues in the District. The event also marked a milestone for the Bar—the introduction of its 100,000th member.
The Bar’s Practice Management Advisory Service (PMAS) continued its successful initiative of helping lawyers to transition to productive, efficient, and ethical methods of serving clients through its “Basic Training and Beyond” and “Successful Small Firm Practice” programs. The programs teach participants the methods and skills necessary for starting and growing a solo practice or building a small law firm. PMAS also continued its “Lunch and Learn Series,” presented several times each month, on topics of particular interest to members who are starting, managing, or growing their own firms in the District.
The Bar’s Lawyer Assistance Program (LAP) received the Caron Employee Assistance Excellence Award from Caron Treatment Centers in recognition of its service to the legal community over the past 28 years. The LAP offers free, confidential assistance to lawyers, judges, and law students experiencing problems such as alcohol and drug addiction, depression, job dissatisfaction, or any other mental health issues that interfere with their personal and professional lives.
During educational outreach efforts and visits to area law schools, LAP staff and volunteers spoke about substance abuse and mental health concerns prevalent in the profession and their impact on the ethical practice of law.
Through a comprehensive disciplinary system, the Bar continued to protect the public, the courts, and the legal profession from lawyers who do not meet their ethical obligations. Prosecutors in the Office of Bar Counsel investigate and prosecute complaints of attorney misconduct and disability. The Board on Professional Responsibility and its adjudicators handle disciplinary cases and the administration of the attorney discipline system.
To protect the integrity of the legal profession, the Bar administers the Clients’ Security Fund (CSF) to reimburse clients for losses caused by dishonest conduct of members of the Bar. As of April, the CSF paid $44,438 to former clients of D.C. Bar members as a result of the attorneys’ dishonest conduct during fiscal year 2013–2014.
Finally, the Bar’s legal ethics counsel continued to provide guidance to members with questions about the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct. This year the Bar’s Legal Ethics Committee published Legal Ethics Opinion 366, which identifies and addresses common situations in private adoptions that give rise to significant ethical obligations under the Rules, specifically under the conflict of interest rules. The opinion also provides guidance to lawyers on ethical duties related to communications with unrepresented parties, as well as on the duties of confidentiality owed to both current and former clients.
The District of Columbia Bar and Affiliate
Consolidated Statements of Activities and Financial Position
Years Ended June 30, 2013 and 2012
|Admissions and Registrations||1,931,762||1,962,951|
|Books and Publication Sales||227,910||256,812|
|Other Fees and Services||13,611||11,386|
|Board on Professional Responsibility||$7,353,931||$7,442,972|
|Conference and Annual Meeting||360,456||237,200|
|Continuing Legal Education||3,411,058||3,263,231|
|Clients’ Security Trust Fund||294,413||183,092|
|Pro Bono Program||2,029,243||1,981,640|
|Total Program Services||$19,697,339||$19,017,106|
|Administration and Finance—D.C. Bar||$7,177,535||$7,652,526|
|Administration and Finance—Pro Bono||249,138||271,441|
|Total Supporting Services||9,043,322||9,395,001|
|Changes in Net Assets||4,770,517||2,495,080|
|Net Assets—Beginning of Year||15,587,417||13,092,337|
|Net Assets—End of Year||$20,357,934||$15,587,417|
|Cash and Cash Equivalent||$10,432,897||$12,695,552|
|Investments: Clients’ Security Trust Fund||750,000||750,000|
|Receivables, Net of Allowance for Doubtful Accounts||196,745||195,032|
|Property and Leasehold Improvements, Net||5,395,231||5,284,256|
|Liabilities and Net Assets||2013||2012|
|Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities||$3,892,087||$3,782,660|
|Landlord Improvement Allowance||2,848,185||3,207,955|
|Deferred Rent Liability||1,362,441||1,211,215|
|Net Assets Designated:|
|Mandatory Dues Purposes||$12,747,005||$8,888,372|
|Clients’ Security Trust Fund||750,000||750,000|
|Pro Bono Program||2,967,002||2,272,405|
|Continuing Legal Education||858,854||545,862|
|Total Net Assets||20,357,934||$15,587,417|
|Total Liabilities and Net Assets||$41,778,673||$36,875,282|
The above financial reports represent the District of Columbia Bar’s Consolidated Statements of Activities and the Consolidated Statements of Financial Position for the Years ended June 30, 2013 and 2012. Any member who wishes to receive a full copy of the Bar’s Consolidated Financial Statements and Schedules may request one by calling 202-737-4700, ext. 3343.
D.C. BAR BOARD OF GOVERNORS 2013–2014
Law Offices of Andrea Ferster
Steptoe & Johnson LLP
Law Office of Sara Kropf PLLC
Steven N. Berk
Berk Law PLLC
Amy L. Bess
Vedder Price P.C.
Susan Low Bloch
Georgetown University Law Center
Theodore D. Chuang*
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Troutman Sanders LLP
Sabine S. Curto
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Lily M. Garcia
The Strayer University Corporation
Stephen I. Glover
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Jeffrey S. Gutman
The George Washington University
Glenn F. Ivey
Leftwich & Ludaway LLC
Bryan Cave LLP
Bridget Bailey Lipscomb
U.S. Department of Justice
Richard J. Marks
DLA Piper LLP (US)
Hunton & Williams LLP
Walmart Stores, Inc.
Gregory S. Smith
Law Offices of Gregory S. Smith
University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law
Michelle C. Thomas
M.C. Thomas & Associates, PC
Vytas V. Vergeer
Bread for the City
Thomas S. Williamson Jr.
Covington & Burling LLP
D.C. BAR COMMITTEES AND TASK FORCES
Attorney/Client Arbitration Board
Michael Wolf, Chair
Rodney J. Bosco, Vice Chair
Thomas S. Williamson Jr., Chair
Brigida Benitez, Chair
Clients’ Security Fund Study
Cora D. Tekach, Chair
Michael F. Curtin, Vice Chair
Community Economic Development Pro Bono Project Advisory
Louise A. Howells, Chair
Erica J. Dominitz, Vice Chair
Andrea Ferster, Chair
Continuing Legal Education
Catherine D. Bertram, Chair
Luke W. Reynolds, Vice Chair
Carolyn B. Lamm, Chair
Jonathan A. Berman, Chair
Theodore C. Hirt, Vice Chair
Andrea Ferster, Chair
Family Law Task Force
Rita M. Bank, Cochair
Margaret J. McKinney, Cochair
Thomas S. Williamson Jr., Chair
Mary Ann Snow, Chair
Clarence F. Stanback, Chair
Mariana Acevedo, Vice Chair
Philip Allen Lacovara, Chair
Eileen Sobeck, Vice Chair
Steuart H. Thomsen, Chair
Steven Tabackman, Vice Chair
Peter C. Wolk, Chair
Anh-Thu P. Mai-Windle, Vice Chair
Katherine C. Gehringer, Chair
Thomas S. Williamson Jr., Chair
Practice Management Service
Marc J. Zwillinger, Chair
Matthew G. Kaiser, Vice Chair
James J. Sandman, Chair
Ann K. Ford, Vice Chair
Don A. Resnikoff, Chair
Elizabeth T. Simon, Vice Chair
Patrick McGlone, Chair
Rules of Professional Conduct Review
Jonathan K. Tycko, Chair
Lauren A. Greenberg, Vice Chair
Lily M. Garcia, Chair
Laura A. Possessky, Chair
D.C. BAR SECTIONS
Council on Sections
Felicia C. Battista, Chair
V. David Zvenyach, Chair-Elect
Thomas C. Mugavero, Immediate Past Chair
Administrative Law and Agency Practice
Nicholas Cobbs, Cochair
Edwin E. Huddleson, Cochair
Antitrust and Consumer Law
Tracy D. Rezvani, Cochair
George P. Slover, Cochair
Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law
John L. Simson, Chair
Gregg P. Leslie, Vice Chair
Corporation, Finance and Securities Law
Martha V. Clarke, Cochair
Julie Smith, Cochair
Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice
Sharon E. Goodie, Cochair
Frederick V. Mulhauser, Cochair
Criminal Law and Individual Rights
David B. Benowitz, Cochair
Joanne D. Slaight, Cochair
District of Columbia Affairs
Susan D. Saunders McKenzie, Cochair
Thorn L. Pozen, Cochair
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources
Rachel Jacobson, Cochair
Peter Oppenheimer, Cochair
Estates, Trusts and Probate Law
Mark G. Griffin, Cochair
L. Laurel Lea, Cochair
Tanya Jones Bosier, Cochair
Sara S. Scott, Cochair
Government Contracts and Litigation
Julia M. Carpenter, Cochair
Adelicia Cliffe, Cochair
Selina P. Coleman, Cochair
Jenifer A. Cromwell, Cochair
Intellectual Property Law
Sidney A. Rosenzweig, Cochair
Mark A. Williamson, Cochair
Geoffrey M. Goodale, Cochair
Nancy L. Perkins, Cochair
Labor and Employment Law
Michelle F. Bercovici, Cochair
Avi L. Kumin, Cochair
Law Practice Management
Elaine L. Fitch, Cochair
Arden B. Levy, Cochair
Kathleen Hartnett, Cochair
Michael D. Kass, Cochair
Real Estate, Housing and Land Use
Meridith Moldenhauer, Cochair
David Walker, Cochair
Alexander Reid, Chair
Christian McBurney, Vice Chair
Andre M. Forte, Cochair
Samuel M. Shapiro, Cochair
Board on Professional Responsibility
Theodore D. Frank, Chair
Eric L. Yaffe, Vice Chair
Clients’ Security Fund
Cora D. Tekach, Chair
Michael F. Curtin, Vice Chair
District of Columbia Bar Foundation
Marc L. Fleischaker, President
Susan M. Hoffman, Vice President
*Term on the Board ended upon his judicial appointment on May 6, 2014.