Washington Lawyer

Legal Beat

From Washington Lawyer, November 2010

By Kathryn Alfisi and Thai Phi Le

News and Notes on the D.C. Bar Legal Community

D.C. Superior Court Installs Three New Magistrate Judges
Three distinguished area lawyers have joined the Superior Court of the District of Columbia as its newest magistrate judges. Errol R. Arthur, Kimberley S. Knowles, and Lloyd U. Nolan Jr. were sworn in on September 10 during a ceremony at the H. Moultrie Courthouse.

In 2008 Mayor Adrian M. Fenty appointed Arthur as chair of the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, providing oversight for the city’s Board of Elections and Office of Campaign Finance. He founded his own law practice in 2002 and represented clients in criminal, delinquency, child abuse and neglect, and civil matters. Previously, he was a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service (PDS) for the District of Columbia.

Prior to her appointment as magistrate judge, Knowles worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Most recently, she served as deputy chief of the sex offense/domestic violence section, where she supervised the investigation and prosecution of cases involving domestic violence, sexual abuse of adults and children, and offenses committed against minors.

superiorNolan served with PDS for the past 11 years where he handled a wide range of trial work, from juvenile criminal matters to adult felony cases. He also did a rotation in the appellate division, where he argued cases before the D.C. Court of Appeals.—T.L.

Foundation Launches Public Health Law Network
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has provided initial funding for a Public Health Law Network that provides assistance to professionals dealing with public health law issues that require legal and policy solutions.

The Network, which became available in September, also seeks to increase the use and effectiveness of public health law by providing education and training for public health officials, policymakers, lawyers, and others working on public health issues.

“Those working in the field of public health are confronted daily with a wide range of issues—from health reform to emergency preparedness—which intersect with the law. The law is an important tool used to protect public health. Our goal is to build a robust network of experts who can share their knowledge with others interested in using the law as a powerful tool to improve public health,” said Dan Stier, director of the Public Health Law Network, National Coordinating Center.

RWJF partnered with the Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law, which provided direction and technical assistance.    

The Network includes five regional centers at the following academic institutions: The Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law (which also serves as the National Coordinating Center for the Network); the University of Maryland School of Law, working with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; University of Michigan School of Public Health; North Carolina Institute for Public Health at Gillings School of Global Public Health in conjunction with the National Health Law Program; and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University working with the University of New Mexico School of Law.

While initially the legal experts from these institutions will form the core group of Network leaders, the Network hopes to expand to include a wide range of existing and new partners and practitioners.

For more information about the Network, visit www.publichealthlawnetwork.org.—K.A.

Bar Closes Successful Dues Season
The D.C. Bar concluded one of its most successful dues seasons ever, receiving payments of dues and applicable late fees from all but 1,204 of its 91,154 members before the September 30 deadline.

The success was attributed in part to an increase in online payments as well as more pointed notifications to make sure members were aware that nonpayment of dues and/or late fees would result in suspension of law licenses.

Suspension notices will be mailed to affected members in the coming days noting that reinstatement requires payment of all outstanding balances, plus a $50 reinstatement fee.

D.C. Practice Manual 19th Edition Now Available
The D.C. Bar Communications and Sections Offices have just released the 19th edition of the District of Columbia Practice Manual at the lowest price in three years.

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 in 33 chapters and includes citation to key statutes, regulations, court rules, and cases, as well as relevant forms.

The newest edition, written and reviewed by D.C. Bar members, revises 23 chapters from the previous edition covering a range of topics: administrative procedures, alternative dispute resolution, antitrust, appellate practice in the District of Columbia Court of appeals, art, child abuse and neglect, consumer protection, corporate practice, criminal law and practice, domestic relations, employment law, environmental law, finding the law in the District of Columbia, intervention proceedings, juvenile law and practice, legal ethics and attorney discipline, partnerships, small claims, Superior Court civil practice, taxation, United States District Court practice, wills and estates, and zoning and historic preservation.

The 19th edition is available from the Bar at $225. For more information or to place an order, contact the D.C. Bar Communications Office by mail at 1101 K Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005-4210; secure fax at 877-508-2606, or e–mail at communications@dcbar.org.

CLE Celebrates Faculty Support and Contributions
The D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education Program held its annual Faculty Appreciation Reception, and also commemorated its 20th year, at an event on September 15 at the D.C. Bar headquarters.

Phyllis Borzi, U.S. Department of Labor assistant secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration and Virginia McArthur of the Law Office of Virginia A. McArthur were recognized for their six years of service on the CLE Committee.

In his comments to those in attendance, Bar President Ronald S. Flagg paid homage to the CLE Program and its efforts over the past two decades.

“While we do not have mandatory CLE in D.C., we have a world-class CLE Program. It is one of the crown jewels of the Bar,” Flagg said.

The CLE Program has grown significantly over the years. During the program’s first year, it offered 18 classes and hosted 862 registrants. Over the previous year, the program offered 123 classes with 9,600 registrants—5,800 for the core CLE classes and 3,800 for mandatory courses.—K.A.

Howard Law School Opens Investor Justice & Education Legal Clinic
This fall the Howard University School of Law Clinical Law Center opened an Investor Justice & Education Clinic, the only one of its kind in the Washington metropolitan area.     

The clinic was made possible by a grant from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation and will provide free legal services to investors in underserved communities who have suffered financial losses as a result of stockbroker misconduct.

In some cases the clinic will represent investors in securities arbitration cases before FINRA-sponsored arbitration panels, as well as provide investors with assistance in reviewing and understanding documents relating to their financial accounts.

The clinic’s students also will conduct educational and outreach programs for community groups and organizations regarding financial markets and investor rights.

“It’s a great learning experience for the students and a wonderful opportunity for underserved investors in the
D.C. area,” said professor and supervising attorney Bruce Sanders. “Up until now, these investors had nowhere to turn. All that has changed.”

A reception and dedication ceremony was held for the legal clinic on September 30, where Ronald Crawford, chief counsel for diversity and policy initiatives, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Howard Law Associate Dean Okiander Dark; Yvette Lopez, vice president for the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, Inc.; and clinical law director Tamar Meekins discussed the clinic.

For more information on the legal clinic, visit www.law.howard.edu/ijec.—K.A.

Mothers Graduate From Family Treatment Court
mothersIn a small courtroom at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, five proud mothers—donning black caps and gowns—slowly danced their way down the aisle to celebrate their graduation from Family Treatment Court.

The September 28 ceremony marked a poignant moment in the women’s long journey toward drug-free lives. As part of the Family Treatment Court, a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program for mothers and female guardians of children who are the subject of child neglect allegations, the women will now enter the community-based after-care phase.

Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield welcomed the audience comprised mostly of the graduates’ supporters, from children and family to friends and community members. He commended the women’s efforts to beat their addictions and to change the lives of their children for the better.

“You’ve earned the admiration, respect, and richly deserve the attention and regard you get today,” said Dr. Roque R. Gerald, director of the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency. “You set out to scale a personal mountain and you succeeded.”

Even with great success, keynote speaker and 2003 graduate of the program Carla Evans reminded the women that they need to see recovery as an ongoing process. Evans recounted her story, from initially feeling angry at the child neglect allegations to becoming a graduate student focusing on mental health and addiction. She urged the graduates to create new memories and new patterns of behavior. “Your mind is a computer. It remembers everything you’ve done,” she said. “It takes a lot of work to get into these chairs, but you can get back [to where you started] in a second.”

As the ceremony drew to a close, the women received their graduation certificates and a standing ovation from everyone in the room. “You are on your way to a wonderful journey,” Evans said.

The Family Treatment Court is a program that lasts 15 months. During the residential phase, mothers are allowed to stay in a treatment facility along with up to four of their children, 10 years old or younger. The treatment facility provides on-site and community-based services, including substance abuse education and treatment, relapse prevention, parenting classes, counseling, and childcare. This is the 11th graduation ceremony for the Family Treatment Court.—T.L.

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 completed the course 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; the on–site fee is $279. Remaining course dates for 2010 are November 6 and December 7. Dates for 2011 are January 8, February 8, March 19, April 12, May 14, June 7, July 9, August 9, September 10, and October 4. Advanced registration is encouraged.

For more information or to register online, visit www.dcbar.org/mandatorycourse.

Justice Stevens Leads NLADA’s 2010 Honorees
On October 6 the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) presented retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens with its first Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring his commitment to the fair administration of justice for all people. NLADA also celebrated the pro bono contributions of numerous law firms and individuals at its annual Exemplar Award Dinner.

To commemorate Justice Stevens’ distinguished career, NLADA named the award in his honor and created a tribute video that discussed his impact on landmark decisions in the Supreme Court since his nomination by President Gerald Ford in 1975. Among the cases highlighted were Tennessee v. Lane and Atkins v. Virginia.

“Justice Stevens has inspired generations of lawyers as a guardian of the Constitution’s guarantees of liberty and equality,” said Jo-Ann Wallace, president and chief executive officer of NLADA. “It is an honor and a privilege to recognize Justice Stevens for a lifetime of deliberate and unwavering commitment to justice for all people, regardless of race, color, creed, or income, and to name the NLADA Lifetime Achievement Award in Justice Stevens’ honor.”

In his acceptance speech, Justice Stevens spoke about the interpretation of law. “We should also keep mind of the fact that even though we do and should rely heavily on the wisdom of individual judges to making countless decisions and applying rules of laws, judges are merely amateur historians. Their interpretations of past events, like their interpretations of legislative history, are often debatable and sometimes simply wrong,” Stevens said. Stevens retired from the Court in June after more than 34 years of service.

The other awards presented that evening spotlighted the efforts across all sectors of the legal community—from the corporate bar to the private bar, and from legal aid groups to public defenders—to provide access to justice.

Rick Cotton, executive vice president and general counsel of NBC Universal, won the Exemplar Award for his work in expanding the pro bono activities of the company’s legal department.

Alan Alop, deputy director for the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago’s Intake Offices, and J. McGregor Smyth Jr., managing attorney at The Bronx Defenders, received the Kutak-Dodds Civil and Defender Prizes. Thirty-four firms also went home with the Beacon of Justice Award for their commitment to pro bono work in the area of immigration law.

“It’s important that we do the work that NLADA was created almost 100 years ago to do: to create an expand legal aid and public defender offices across the country and to do that in partnership with the private bar,” Wallace said.

Founded in 1911, NLADA aims to ensure that the nation’s poor receive critical legal services. —T.L.

Champions vs. Cancer
championsOn September 27 Kilpatrick Stockton LLP received the Corporate Champions Award from the American Cancer Society (ACS) for its commitment to the society’s mission. The award was given to top ACS corporate supporters during a reception held at The George Washington University Cancer Center. Kilpatrick Stockton is a flagship sponsor of the society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Washington, D.C. The firm also provides legal assistance and other support to ACS. Pictured from left are Helen Michael and Stephen Baskin, partner and managing partner, respectively, at Kilpatrick Stockton, andJohn Lazar, ACS vice president for the national capital area. Baskin also chairs the ACS Executive Corporate Council in the District.

Reach D.C. Bar staff writers Kathryn Alfisi and Thai Phi Le at kalfisi@dcbar.org and tle@dcbar.org, respectively.

trendsA Helping Hand Goes a Long Way During the Holidays
The holiday season is once again upon us, and while many look forward to celebrating, this time of the year can be especially difficult for the most vulnerable residents of the District of Columbia.

There are numerous ways to get involved and help make someone’s holiday a little brighter, and Washington Lawyer highlights three holiday volunteer opportunities particularly suited for the District’s legal community.

Bread for the City’s Holiday Helpings Campaign
Some District lawyers are already involved with Bread for the City through its legal clinics, but in November and December the organization offers another opportunity to volunteer by joining its Holiday Helpings Campaign.

Through its food pantry services, Bread for the City already provides groceries to an estimated 9,000 residents a month. The goal of its Holiday Helpings Campaign is to provide an additional holiday meal for clients to take home and enjoy with their families.

The campaign aims to serve approximately 8,850 additional meals this year. Bread for the City special events coordinator Nathan LaBorie said the organization usually reaches its goal, but the need for holiday meals is still greater than what is available.

“We just give out holiday meals until we run out, but unfortunately, we run out before people stop asking,” he said.

A donation of $28 provides a family of four a holiday meal consisting of turkey, canned yams, cranberry sauce, green beans, corn, and low-sodium stuffing.

Individuals can donate or organize a contributions drive. LaBorie said the biggest contributions have come from law firms that hold food and cash drives in their offices. Some firms also hold Jeans Day or raffle events, while one conducts a payroll deduction in November and December.

To receive information on the Holiday Helpings Campaign, contact Nathan LaBorie at 202-386-7611 or nlaborie@breadforthecity.org.

Children’s Law Center’s Holiday Toy Drive
Like Bread for the City, the Children’s Law Center (CLC) has lawyers providing pro bono services to its clients throughout the year. During the holidays, however, volunteers get the chance to play Santa through CLC’s Holiday Toy Drive.

Toy drive volunteers “adopt” a child or family to buy requested presents for, thereby bringing Christmas to those who might have otherwise gone without one.

“We had a child who was in foster care say to us once, ‘I’ve never had Christmas before,’ and he thought it was because he was naughty. In addition to how much families just need things, Christmas is a time when kids are taught that they’re good and for kids that don’t get any Christmas at all, it’s devastating,” CLC executive director Judith Sandalow said.

CLC’s toy drive started in 2001 when McGuireWoods LLP “adopted” a large family of 12 children and provided them with gifts and needed items for Christmas. In 2009 more than 700 children received items as part of the toy drive.

Volunteers can “adopt” individual children or a whole family and will receive information from CLC on clothing sizes and gift wishes, as well as a short description of the child or family and what is going on in their lives.

Last year Latham & Watkins LLP played Santa to 60 kids while McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and Hunton & Williams LLP each granted the wishes of 40 kids.

 “Being a volunteer Santa is good for a lot of reasons,” Sandalow said. “One, you’re making a huge difference. But also, our lawyers are working very hard all year round under very difficult circumstances, and this is a chance for them to have a fun time, too.

For more information about the Holiday Toy Drive and how to get involved, visit www.childrenslawcenter.org.

Gifts for the Homeless’ Used Clothing Drive
Gifts for the Homeless (GFTH) is unique in that it is representative of the broad spectrum of the District’s legal community. GFTH was formed in the late 1980s by lawyers from Arnold & Porter LLP who asked others at the firm to donate clothing to homeless shelters and money so that new clothes could be purchased.

On its first year, a few dozen bags of clothing were donated and about $3,000 was raised. Today, anywhere from 3,500 to 4,000 bags of used clothing are collected from 90 law firms and other legal organizations, and more than $200,000 is raised to purchase new items that will go to 75 shelters in the Washington metropolitan area.

Since its formation, GFTH has gone on to develop the Banding Together fundraiser to provide new clothing items, but the used clothing drive is still an important venue for raising money for new clothing.

“We have a number of firms that provide a huge amount of charitable donations for us through the used clothing drive,” said Laurel Glassman, GFTH vice president for development and counsel at White & Case LLP.

Because GFTH is an all–volunteer organization, all donated money goes toward the purchase of new clothing.

The organization determines what type and how much used clothing it should collect by surveying the participating shelters. Glassman said there is always a great need for men’s clothing, plus-size clothing, and high–quality coats.

Those who want to volunteer can participate in the clothing drive that takes place the first weekend of December.

“It’s really fun and people enjoy it. We have something called ‘our wall of shame’ where some of the worst things that people have donated go. It’s a very communal, feel-good event,” Glassman said.

GFTH board members set up the donation site for the clothing drive on Thursday and all donated items arrive on Friday. The main action takes place on Saturday when anywhere from 350 to 375 volunteers work in shifts from around 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., sorting and delivering donated clothes.

To find out how to get involved in the used clothing drive, visit www.gfth.org or contact Laurel Glassman at 202-626-3594 or lglassman@whitecase.com.—K.A.

Reach D.C. Bar staff writers Kathryn Alfisi and Thai Phi Le at kalfisi@dcbar.org and tle@dcbar.org, respectively.