Washington Lawyer

Legal Beat

From Washington Lawyer, March 2009

By Kathryn Alfisi and Steven J. Stauffer

Fathering Court
From left, Milton C. Lee Jr., William Ellis, and Reginald WatsonThe Superior Court of the District of Columbia produced the first two graduates of its Fathering Court, an innovative program that helps men and women in the District rejoin the community after spending time in prison. Magistrate Judge Milton C. Lee Jr. presented William Ellis (center) and Reginald Watson their diplomas at their graduation ceremony January 23 at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse. Ellis entered the program in December 2007 and works a night shift at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Watson, who joined in November 2007, works on heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems while acquiring a certificate from the University of the District of Columbia in that field.—S.S.

Shirley Williams. Courtesy of the D.C. BarAARP’s Williams to Receive Jerrold Scoutt Prize
Shirley Williams, a lawyer for AARP/Legal Counsel for the Elderly whose legal career spans 24 years, has been selected as the 2009 recipient of the Jerrold Scoutt Prize by the District of Columbia Bar Foundation.

The prize is awarded annually to an attorney who has devoted a significant portion of his or her career at a nonprofit organization, providing hands-on legal services to the disadvantaged in the District, demonstrating compassionate concern for clients, and exhibiting a high degree of skill on their behalf.

The award will be presented during the Judicial Reception on March 30, one of the highlights of the 2009 D.C. Bar Conference.

“I am honored to receive this award as recognition by my peers. I have worked in public service since my first job right out of high school. When I left the local government public service arena in Philadelphia to go to law school, I chose Antioch School of Law because I wanted to continue that service in a legal setting,” Williams said. “I am fortunate that Neighborhood Legal Services gave me the first opportunity to do that and shortly thereafter AARP/Legal Counsel for the Elderly. I will certainly be accepting this award on behalf of both fine organizations whose employees care about those less fortunate than themselves.”

Williams has worked as pro bono manager and outreach services coordinator with AARP since 1998. In this capacity, she has doubled the number of pro bono cases to more than 700 annually and mentored many of the attorneys handling the cases. She is recognized as an expert in areas of law affecting the elderly, including wills, powers of attorney, and protective arrangements, and has been at the forefront of efforts to address issues involving low-income elderly residents in the District.

In addition to the Antioch School of Law (which evolved into the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law), Williams is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Scoutt Prize is named in honor of Jerrold Scoutt Jr., founding partner of Zuckert, Scoutt & Rasenberger, L.L.P. and a longtime supporter of legal services for the needy. The prize winner receives a $2,500 stipend, which is funded by the firm.

For more information, contact Katherine L. Garrett, executive director of the D.C. Bar Foundation, at 202-467-3750, ext. 12, or garrett@dcbarfoundation.org.—K.A.

D.C. Bar Headquarters Relocating
The D.C. Bar is relocating its headquarters this coming May to 1101 K Street NW, two blocks north of its current location.

The move was necessitated by the end of the Bar’s lease at its current location, where it has operated for more than 15 years. The new location was selected by a special Building Committee that explored scores of lease and purchase options before making its recommendation to the Bar’s Board of Governors, which approved it unanimously.

The new headquarters site offers expanded space on the street level for the Bar’s extensive offering of Continuing Legal Education and Section programs. There will be adequate office and conference room space on the building’s second and third floors to accommodate current needs as well as anticipated growth over the 12-year lease term.

The Bar will continue operating until May 22 at its current location at 1250 H Street NW.

Oberly Sworn In as Associate Judge of D.C. Court of Appeals
Kathryn A. “Kay” Oberly was sworn in January 19 as associate judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals by Chief Judge Eric T. Washington. She was appointed to the bench by outgoing President George W. Bush in September to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Michael W. Farrell.

Oberly served as vice chair and general counsel at Ernst & Young LLP since 1994, and as a member of the firm’s executive board. In these roles, she was responsible for all of the firm’s legal business and supervised a department of 42 lawyers, 12 auditors, and associated support staff in offices in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.

As a standing member of the firm’s Ethics Oversight Board, she managed all of the firm’s litigation, working with outside and in-house counsel, and bore responsibility for all of its transactional work. Oberly and her staff also provided advice and guidance to the firm’s business leaders on legislative, regulatory, and public policy issues, including compliance with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board requirements, risk management and insurance matters, human resource issues, and a variety of other legal and business questions.

Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Oberly served at the U.S. Department of Justice in both Land and Natural Resources Division and Office of the Solicitor General, where she briefed and argued appeals in all of the federal courts of appeal and U.S. Supreme Court. She also was a former partner in the appellate group of Mayer Brown LLP.

Born in Chicago and raised in Park Ridge, Illinois, Oberly attended Vassar College from 1967 to 1969 before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science degree with honors in 1971. She received her law degree, cum laude, in 1973 from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where she was articles editor of the Wisconsin Law Review. Upon graduation, she served as a law clerk to Judge Donald P. Lay on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Oberly is a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, and served as vice chair of the Sheridan School Board of Trustees in Washington, D.C., from 1991 to1994.

On January 22, as one of her first duties on the bench, Oberly swore in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a personal friend.—S.S.

Bar Seeks Candidates for Board, Committee Vacancies
The D.C. Bar Board of Governors is seeking candidates for appointments this spring to the Legal Ethics Committee, Judicial Evaluation Committee, Attorney/Client Arbitration Board, and D.C. Bar Foundation, as well as to the Board on Professional Responsibility (BPR) of the D.C. Court of Appeals. All candidates must be members of the D.C. Bar.

For BPR openings, three individuals will be selected for each vacancy and forwarded to the D.C. Court of Appeals for final appointment. Preference is given to individuals with experience on BPR hearing committees.

In addition, there are openings for nonlawyers on the Attorney/Client Arbitration Board.

Individuals interested in applying should submit a résumé, with cover letter stating the committee on which they would like to serve, to the D.C. Bar Screening Committee, 1250 H Street NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005-5937.

Résumés must be received by March 16.

Obama Considers Three for Superior Court Vacancy
On January 26 the District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission recommended three candidates—Marisa J. Demeo, Elizabeth Sarah “Sally” Gere, and Florence Pan—to fill a vacancy on the D.C. Superior Court.

The candidates’ names were forwarded to President Barack Obama, who has 60 days to select a nominee for the vacancy left by retired associate judge Linda D. Turner.

Demeo is a magistrate judge on the Superior Court. Since 1997, she has served in the Criminal Division of the court, handling more than 75 bench trials involving either criminal traffic or other minor misdemeanor charges. Prior to her appointment as a magistrate, she was a criminal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia where she tried 45 cases, including serious domestic violence felony cases. Demeo received her law degree from New York University School of Law, where she served on the Law Review and was a Root-Tilden Scholar.

Gere is a partner at Troutman Sanders LLP, where she has a diverse civil litigation practice. Prior to private practice, she served in the Criminal and Civil Divisions of the U.S. Department of Justice and as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Ohio. Gere served two terms on the D.C. Court of Appeals Committee on Admissions and two terms on a Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility. Gere is an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where she received her law degree.

Pan is an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. Since 2007, she has served as deputy chief of the Appellate Division, supervising criminal appeals in the D.C. Court of Appeals and in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Following law school at Stanford, she clerked for Judge Michael B. Mukasey of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and for Judge Ralph K. Winter of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.—S.S.

Hispanic Bar Association Elects Officers and Board
The Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia (HBA-DC) has elected a new set of board members and officers during its annual meeting on January 14 at the St. Gregory Luxury Hotel and Suites.

Marlon Quintanilla Paz, senior counsel to the director of Trading and Markets at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, takes over as HBA-DC president, and Loretta Jean Garcia will continue to serve on the board as immediate past president. Also elected were Kenia Seaone Lopez, president-elect; Lyzka DeLaCruz, vice president for external affairs; Armando Rodriguez-Feo, vice president for internal affairs; Sergio Oehninger, vice president for membership; Javier Salinas, treasurer; and Leonor Velazquez, secretary.

Newly elected board members include Alvaro Bedoya, Brigida Benitez, Jorge E. Castro, Linda Estrada, Robert Raben, Samuel Romero Ramer, and William Rivera.

The meeting also featured the presentation of HBA-DC’s 2009 Employer Diversity Award to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, honoring the firm’s diversity practices and employment and promotion of Hispanic attorneys.

HBA-DC, a nonprofit organization, was founded in 1977 as the Hispanic Lawyers Association. Its membership includes several hundred lawyers practicing in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia; Latino students attending local law schools; and other nonlawyers who join as associate members.—K.A.

New Member Benefit Brings Same-Day Delivery, Line Standing Service
The D.C. Bar offers its members courier services as well as access to line standing services through its new alliance with Quick Messenger Service of DC, Inc.

QMS’ line standing service is offered by its sister company, www.linestanding.com. Both the courier and line standing services can be managed through a single account.

QMS has been providing fast, reliable, and economical same-day delivery service since 1985 to the District of Columbia’s corporate, government, nonprofit, and legal communities. With a host of bikes, cars, trucks, and vans, QMS is poised to accommodate the delivery needs of Bar members, with a particular emphasis on filings. QMS also features online ordering and real-time online delivery tracking. Members receive their first inside-the-Beltway courier delivery at no charge after a new account has been established.

QMS’ sister company, Linestanding.com, is also looking to fill the needs of many firms interested in attending important congressional hearings. With a new administration in town, there will be many hearings Bar members will not want to miss.

Linestanding.com has been providing seat-holding services for hearings for more than 10 years. The company provides clients with placeholders for committee markups and hearings in government affairs, appropriations, energy and commerce, and financial services, just to name a few. Members receive a 33 percent discount on their first line standing order ($24/hour, down from $36/hour, with a two-hour minimum).

For more information on establishing an account for courier or line standing service with Quick Messenger Service of DC, Inc., please contact QMS at 240-223-2245, ext. 222, or Michael Glasser, at michael@qmsdc.com.

Clients’ Security Fund Seeks Trustee Candidates
The D.C. Bar Clients’ Security Fund (the Fund) will have a trustee vacancy in September and is seeking candidates for the position.

The Fund reimburses clients for monetary losses caused by dishonest conduct of Bar members and represents a fundamental commitment by D.C. lawyers to protect the integrity of the legal profession.

It is operated by five volunteer trustees appointed by the D.C. Court of Appeals to serve five-year terms. Trustees generally meet 10 times a year to review pending claims, discuss Fund policies and procedures, review the financial operations and condition of the Fund, and discuss methods to improve the claims process.

Bar members should submit a résumé and cover letter by April 6 to the District of Columbia Bar, Executive Office, 1250 H Street NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005-5937 or fax to 1-866-926-2585.

For more information about the Clients’ Security Fund, visit www.dcbar.org/csf.—K.A.

Bar Members Must Complete Practice Course
New members of the District of Columbia Bar are reminded that they have 12 months from the date of admission to complete the required course on District of Columbia practice offered by the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education Program.

D.C. Bar members who have been inactive, retired, or voluntarily resigned for five years or more also are required to complete the course if they are seeking to switch or be reinstated to active member status. In addition, members who have been suspended for five years or more for nonpayment of dues or late fees are required to take the course to be reinstated.

New members who do not complete the mandatory course requirement within 12 months of admission receive a noncompliance notice and a final 60-day window in which to comply. After that date, the Bar administratively suspends individuals who have not attended and forwards their names to the clerks of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and to the Office of Bar Counsel.

Suspensions become a permanent part of members’ records. To be reinstated, one must complete the course and pay a $50 fee.

The preregistration fee is $219; on-site fee is $279. The next course dates are April 7, May 2, June 9, July 11, August 11, September 12, October 6, November 7, and December 8. Advanced registration is encouraged.

For more information or to register online, visit www.dcbar.org/membership/mandatory-course.

Bar Requests Comments on IOLTA Rule Changes
The D.C. Bar is seeking public comment on the proposed amendments to the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct that govern Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA). The deadline for comments is March 27.

The proposed amendments result from a review by the Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee (Rules Review Committee) of proposed IOLTA rules revisions submitted by the D.C. Bar Foundation. The Rules Review Committee analyzed the foundation’s proposal and made recommendations for amendments that would address the foundation’s goal of increasing IOLTA interest revenue. The foundation agrees with the committee’s report and the proposed amendments.

The provisions that govern IOLTA currently reside in Rules 1.15 and 1.19 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, and appendix B to the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the Bar. The proposed amendments would revise Rule 1.15 to govern the obligations of D.C. lawyers and IOLTA; create a subsection of Rule XI of the D.C. Court of Appeals Rules Governing the Bar (Court Rule XI) to address the requirements for banking institutions authorized by the Board on Professional Responsibility to provide D.C. IOLTA; and delete existing Rule 1.19 and appendix B, relocating the appropriate provisions from those rules to Rule 1.15 and Court Rule XI.

To submit written comments, e-mail ethics@dcbar.org or mail remarks to Hope C. Todd, Esq., District of Columbia Bar, 1250 H Street NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005-5937.

To view the final report and proposed amendments, visit www.dcbar.org/inside_the_bar/bar_news/comment_iolta.cfm. For a hard copy of the report, please contact LaJuan Evans at 202-737-4700, ext. 341, or levans@dcbar.org.—S.S.

Judge Norma Holloway Johnson Wins GWAC Charlotte E. Ray Award
Norma Holloway Johnson (with award), is surrounded by (from left) Valencia Rainey, Deborah A. Robinson, and Lani P. Shaw.Courtesy of Lani P. ShawChief Judge Norma Holloway Johnson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia was honored with the Charlotte E. Ray Award by the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the Women Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association and the GWAC Foundation, Inc.

The award, presented to Johnson in a private ceremony on February 3, recognizes an outstanding African American woman from the local legal community in honor of Charlotte E. Ray, the first African American lawyer in the country and the first woman admitted to practice law in the District.

GWAC President Lani P. Shaw called Johnson a “true trailblazer” in the legal profession, paving the way “for so many other attorneys through her life’s work.”

“Not only has she had a successful legal career as a member of the judiciary, but she has also taken the time to develop and mentor young attorneys. She is truly a worthy recipient of this award,” Shaw said.

Judge Johnson, originally appointed to the bench in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, became the first African American woman to serve as chief judge of the court 17 years later.

Upon receiving her law degree from the Georgetown Law Center, Johnson served as civil trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice from 1963 to 1967. She went on to work for the Office of the Corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia (now D.C. Attorney General’s Office) from 1967 to 1970, rising to the position of chief of the Juvenile Division. She was appointed as associate judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia by President Richard M. Nixon in 1970, serving until 1980.—S.S.

Bar Publishes 17th Edition of D.C. Practice Manual
The 17th edition of The District of Columbia Practice Manual is available to purchase for $240.

This two-volume manual is an important resource that, in an easy-to-use format, provides information on the basics of practicing law in the District of Columbia and includes citations to key statutes, regulations, court rules, and cases, as well as relevant forms.

The 17th edition includes 21 revised chapters covering a range of topics: alternative dispute resolution, antitrust, appellate practice in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, art, child abuse and neglect, consumer protection, corporate practice, domestic relations, environment, finding the law in the District of Columbia, Health Maintenance Organization Act, human rights, juvenile, landlord and tenant, legal ethics and attorney discipline, mental health proceedings, partnerships, real property, Superior Court civil practice, U.S. District Court practice, and zoning and historic preservation.

To purchase the 17th edition of The District of Columbia Practice Manual, call 202-737-4700, ext. 268, or visit www.dcbar.org/bar-resources/publications.

BPR Requests Volunteers for Hearing Committees
The Board on Professional Responsibility (BPR) is seeking volunteers for its Hearing Committees. The committees hear lawyer discipline cases and draft reports with findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommended sanctions.

Hearing Committee members, composed of D.C. Bar members and members of the public, are appointed periodically by the BPR and are eligible to serve two consecutive three-year terms.

Interested parties should submit a cover letter and résumé to Elizabeth J. Branda, Executive Attorney, Board on Professional Responsibility, 515 5th Street NW, Room 102, Washington, DC 20001. For more information, call 202-638-4290.

D.C. Bar staff writers Kathryn Alfisi and Steven J. Stauffer can be reached at kalfisi@dcbar.org and sstauffer@dcbar.org, respectively.