Washington Lawyer

Bar Happenings

From Washington Lawyer, November 2009

By Kathryn Alfisi

Illustration by Mick Wiggins National Women’s Law Center Honors Sheila Bair, Brooksley Born
The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) will hold its 2009 Awards Dinner on November 19 where it will honor Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chair Sheila C. Bair and Arnold & Porter LLP retired partner Brooksley E. Born.

The annual dinner has, in the past, raised more than $1 million for NWLC and its work to protect and advance the progress of women and girls in school, at work, and in other aspects of their lives.

NWLC works on issues important to women and their families such as economic security, education, employment, and health.

The event will be held at the Hilton Washington, 1919 Connecticut Avenue NW, starting with a reception at 6 p.m. and followed by dinner and program at 7.

For more information, contact Nancy Delahoyd at 202-588-5180, or ndelahoyd@nwlc.org, or visit www.nwlc.org.

New Course Targets Attorneys With Clients Facing Foreclosure
On November 19 the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program will hold a new course on the foreclosure crisis, which aims to help attorneys understand residential real estate lending and guide them on how to assist clients in preventing, defending, and surviving foreclosure actions and deficiency judgments.

“Dealing With the Foreclosure Crisis: What to Do for Your Client” will cover mortgage law, secured loans on property, and foreclosure procedures in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. This course primarily will focus on foreclosure defense and options such as loan modifications, short sales, reverse mortgages, bankruptcy, or just walking away.

Participants will hear from faculty experts Frank Demarais, vice president and general manager of Manna Mortgage at Manna, Inc.; Amy Mix, a staff attorney at AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly; and attorney Paul Pearlstein.

The course takes place from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, first floor. It is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section; Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section; and Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section.

For more information, contact the Continuing Legal Education Program at 202-626-3488 or visit www.dcbar.org/cle.

Shuker Fundraiser Features Select California Wines
The Robert A. Shuker Scholarship Fund will hold its 16th Annual Wine Tasting event from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on November 19 in the atrium and terrace of the National Wildlife Federation building, 1400 16th Street NW.

The fund, established in 1993, provides scholarships to deserving students entering law school. It is named in honor of the late Robert A. Shuker, who served as associate judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

This year’s fundraiser, titled “The Wine of California: Golden Nuggets From off the Beaten Path,” features select wines from lesser-known California wine-growing regions such as Monterey, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, the Sierra Foothills, and the Temecula Valley. There also will be an expert available to discuss the wines and their origins as well as a sampling of dishes.

Admission is $90 per person. Two tickets with a program listing of “Sponsor” are $200; four tickets with a program listing of “Patron” are $350. Checks should be made payable to the Robert A. Shuker Scholarship Fund and sent to fund treasurer Richard L. Cys, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, 1919 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006-3402.

For more information, contact Donald T. Bucklin at 202-626-6816, Richard L. Cys at 202-973-4217, or Lisa J. Dessel at 202-466-3883, or visit www.shukerscholarship.com.

D.C. Courts Celebrate 23rd Annual Adoption Day
On November 21 the Superior Court of the District of Columbia’s family court and the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency will join courts around the country in celebrating the 23rd Annual Adoption Day.

Numerous adoptions will be finalized during the ceremony, which is open to the public. It also will feature social workers and guest speakers who will talk about the joys and importance of adoptive and foster families.

NBC News 4 anchor Barbara Harrison will emcee the program, which will be followed by a reception featuring the Split Personality Band and the Voices of D.C. Courts.

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to noon at the third-floor atrium of the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Avenue NW.

For more information on Adoption Day, contact Geneva Murphy at 202-879-4783 or Trantina Waugh at 202-727-4956. For general information on foster care or adoption in the District of Columbia, call 202-671-LOVE (5683).

Sections Event Features Investment Disputes Expert Kinnear
On November 11 the D.C. Bar International Law Section’s International Dispute Resolution Committee will hold a luncheon program featuring Meg Kinnear, secretary general of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Kinnear, who was elected to the post in February, will discuss developments at ICSID as well as in investor–state arbitration in general. She also will talk about her new responsibilities and field questions from the audience.

Before her present position, Kinnear was general counsel and director general of the Trade Law Bureau of Canada where she supervised the conduct of all international investment and trade litigation involving that country, including disputes on Chapters 11, 19, and 20 of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The luncheon takes place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at WilmerHale LLP, 1875 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. It is cosponsored by the Dispute Resolution Interest Group of the American Society of International Law and the Washington D.C. International Arbitration Club.

For more information, contact the Sections Office at 202-626-3463 or sections@dcbar.org.

Four-Part ERISA Series Among November CLE Offerings
The D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program will hold a four-part series on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) during the month of November.

The series is designed for the beginning benefits lawyer or any practitioner who wants a practical understanding of the rules governing employee benefit plans under ERISA and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Code), as amended.

Part one, “ERISA Introduction,” takes place on November 2 and will give participants an overview of the basic concepts necessary to understand the employee benefits law. Topics include the statutory and regulatory structure of ERISA and the Code; the basic workings of both tax-qualified and nonqualified plans, including a brief discussion of ERISA-covered group health plans; and the three federal agencies that govern the administration of benefit plans: the U.S. Department of Labor, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.

Part two, “Minimum Standards and Plan Design” on November 9, will tackle the minimum legal requirements for different types of tax-qualified retirement plans such as vesting, service crediting, coverage, nondiscriminatory benefits, and distribution options.

Faculty will discuss funding rules under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, more recent developments, and key issues to consider when designing a retirement plan. The various features that distinguish many types of benefit plan arrangements—tax-qualified versus nonqualified plans and defined contribution versus defined benefit plans, among others—will be explored at this session.

Part three, “Problems in Plan Administration” on November 16, will address practical questions that arise in operating a retirement plan. Participants will learn about nondiscrimination testing, reporting and disclosure requirements, spousal rights and qualified domestic relations orders, mandatory distributions, rollovers, withholding, plan audits, IRS correction programs, and the handling of benefits in mergers, acquisitions, and corporate downsizing.

Particular attention will be given to administrative issues facing 401(k) plans such as discrimination testing and safe harbor qualification. This session also will highlight a number of recent developments in the law that affect plan administration, including rules regarding vesting and distribution rights of participants who take military leave, nonspouse and Roth IRA rollovers, and the suspension of the 2009 required minimum distributions in defined contribution plans.

The final part of the series, “Fiduciary Responsibility and Participant Rights,” takes place on November 30. It will examine the fiduciary responsibility provisions of ERISA and the Code as they apply to plan investment, plan administration, benefits decisions, prohibited transactions and exemptions, fiduciary and cofiduciary liability, and ERISA preemption of state laws.

Faculty will discuss the fiduciary protections afforded to participant-directed account plans under Section 404(c) of ERISA as well the practical aspects of participants’ rights under ERISA-covered plans, including disclosure and reporting rules, claims procedures, and remedies participants may have for violations of those rights.

This course will be led by Denise M. Clark of The Law Office of Denise M. Clark PLLC; William Schmidt, a partner at K&L Gates LLP; Michelle Thomas of M.C. Thomas & Associates, PC; and David Weingarten, of counsel at Slevin & Hart, P.C.

The series is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Labor and Employment Law Section and Taxation Section. All sessions take place from 6 to 9:15 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, first floor.

For more information, contact the Continuing Legal Education Program at 202-626-3488 or visit www.dcbar.org/cle.

2010 District of Columbia Judicial and Bar Conference
The 2010 District of Columbia Judicial and Bar Conference will be held on Thursday, April 8, and Friday, April 9, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Please continue to check our Web site at www.dcbar.org/conference as details emerge. For more information, contact Verniesa R. Allen at 202-737-4700, ext. 3239.

Federal Circuit Bar Presents 25th Annual Dinner
The Federal Circuit Bar Association will hold its 25th Annual Dinner on November 20 at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW.

Among the evening’s highlights are remarks from Chief Judge Paul R. Michel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the presentation of the Douglas B. Henderson Scholarship and the George Hutchinson Writing Competition Awards.

The event will start with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30. For more information, contact Lis Reed at 202-536-4160, or reed@fedcirbar.org, or visit www.fedcirbar.org.

Federal Communications Bar Stages Charity Auction for Nonprofits
The Young Lawyers Committee of the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) and the FCBA Foundation will raise money for nonprofit organizations at the 20th Annual Charity Auction on November 12.

Previous prizes have included vacation packages, consumer electronics products, tickets to various sporting events (including Redskins and Washington Nationals games), theater tickets, dinners, lunches, spa packages, and gift certificates from area businesses.

During the past 19 years, the auction has raised more than $915,000 for District of Columbia-based organizations such as the Charitable Coalition for Children With Cancer; D.C. Children’s Advocacy Center; Fair Chance; Horton’s Kids, Inc.; Kid Power, Inc.; Kids Enjoy Exercise Now; Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care, Inc.; and STEP/I Have a Dream.

Proceeds from this year’s auction will benefit Bright Beginnings, Inc. and the FCBA Foundation. Bright Beginnings is a local nonprofit that provides free developmental care to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers whose families live in shelters or transitional housing.

The auction takes place from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Hamilton Crowne Plaza Hotel at the adjoining Almas Temple, 1315 K Street NW.

For more information, contact Kerry Loughney of the Federal Communications Bar Association at 202-293-4000, or kerry@fcba.org, or visit www.fcba.org.

CLE Courses Offer Advice on Naturalization, Immigration Court
This month the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program is offering two immigration courses—“Navigating the Road to Naturalization: A Guide for Immigration Lawyers” and “Trying a Case in Immigration Court: Advice From the Bench and Bar.”

The first course takes place on November 5 and will focus on the complexities of the naturalization process, including a review of eligibility, the logistics of preparing and filing an application, and questions that could arise during the naturalization interview.

Faculty also will provide attorneys with practical strategies for dealing with long-pending cases and denial of naturalization application, as well as discuss denaturalization and how clients may maintain their dual citizenship.

Jim Alexander, a managing partner at Maggio & Kattar, P.C.; Mark Shmueli of the Law Office of Mark Shmueli; and Christina Wilkes, acting executive director of Ayuda, Inc., will lead this course, which is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section and International Law Section.

The second course takes place on November 12 and is designed to teach the fundamentals of immigration court practice, including what attorneys should expect when they appear before an immigration judge at a master calendar hearing or an individual hearing.

Faculty will discuss the rules of court, including submission of evidence, preparation of witnesses, tips for formulating direct and cross-examination, the burden of proof in immigration cases, rules of evidence, and motions practice.

This course will be taught by Judge Phillip T. Williams from the Executive Office for Immigration Review of the Baltimore Immigration Court; Patricia Chiriboga-Roby of the World Relief Baltimore Immigration Legal Clinic; and Melissa Frisk, a senior attorney at Maggio & Kattar, P.C. It is cosponsored by the D.C. Bar Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section, International Law Section, and Litigation Section.

Both courses take place from 5:30 to 8:45 p.m. at the D.C. Bar Conference Center, 1101 K Street NW, first floor. For more information, contact the Continuing Legal Education Program at 202-626-3488 or visit www.dcbar.org/cle.

Reach D.C. Bar staff writer Kathryn Alfisi at kalfisi@dcbar.org.