Washington Lawyer

Legal Beat

From Washington Lawyer, October 2008

By Kathryn Alfisi and Steven J. Stauffer

Satterfield Selected to Head D.C. Superior Court
satterfield The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission has selected Judge Lee F. Satterfield as the next chief judge of the D.C. Superior Court, succeeding two-term Chief Judge Rufus G. King III upon the latter’s retirement on September 30.

“I am honored that the Judicial Nomination Commission designated me and excited about tackling the challenges ahead. I am fortunate to have a very strong team and I look forward to working with my fellow judges, court staff, the D.C. Bar, and other members of our community to continue to improve the services the Superior Court provides to the District,” Satterfield said of his appointment.

Associate Judge and Presiding Family Court Judge Anita Josey-Herring also was considered for the chief judge position replacing King, who announced his retirement in May. King served on the Superior Court for 24 years and as chief judge for eight.

The commission said it “carefully considered each candidate’s statement of interest, experience, qualifications, leadership abilities, intellectual abilities, administrative skills, ability to promote confidence in the Court, and their visions for the Court, including plans for addressing the challenges facing the Court in the next four years.

“In addition, the Commission is pleased to note that it received an unprecedented number of letters and calls from members of the bench, bar, and public regarding the candidates for the Chief Judge position. The number and diversity of people and organizations that contacted the Commission, and the time that so many took to submit thoughtful and insightful comments, is a testament to the two candidates, the Court, and the process.”

Satterfield, 49, has been an associate judge at the court since 1992, serving in the criminal division, family division, domestic violence unit, and family court. He was named presiding judge of the Domestic Violence Unit in 1998, and he became the first presiding judge of the then newly created family court in 2002.

After graduating from The George Washington University Law School in 1983, Satterfield clerked on the Superior Court for Judge Paul R. Webber III, and then he served as assistant United States attorney for the District. Satterfield went into private practice from 1988 to 1991, joining Sachs, Greenebaum and Taylor, before returning as trial attorney for the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Satterfield has served on numerous committees, including the Superior Court’s Strategic Planning Leadership Council and the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration. He is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ board of trustees, as well as the Steering Committee of the National Judicial Institute on Domestic Violence.

Satterfield has been an adjunct faculty member at Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law since 1991, and he has taught at The George Washington University Law School and Emory University School of Law.—K.A.

Shining Stars
stars Nick Karambelas of Sfikas & Karambelas LLP and District of Columbia Bar Counsel Gene Shipp show off their medals during the D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program’s annual Faculty Appreciation and Awards event on September 4. They were among the staff, committee members, and volunteer faculty who were recognized for their work.

Family Court Self-Help Center Opens in Southeast
On September 9 the Superior Court of the District of Columbia’s family court opened a satellite office of its self-help center at Bread for the City’s Southeast location at 1640 Good Hope Road.

The Family Court Self-Help Center is open Tuesdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will provide information and guidance on a walk-in basis to unrepresented individuals in family law matters such as child custody, child support, divorce, and visitation.

“The Self-Help Center’s role is to help our residents to understand their legal rights and obligations, to demystify the court process, and to provide access to the legal system,” said Superior Court Chief Judge Rufus G. King III. “The court can be intimidating to those without a lawyer. The Self-Help Center helps to take some of that fear away. The satellite office will allow us to bring this important service into an underserved area of the District of Columbia.”

The family court opened a self-help center on the John Marshall level of the Moultrie Courthouse in 2002 to assist those without attorneys and who have matters before the court. It became a permanent, full-time service in 2005 and has since served more than 15,000 people.

Bread for the City provides assistance with food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services for low-income residents in the District of Columbia.

Rosenberg Award Nominations Sought
The D.C. Bar is seeking nominations for the 2009 Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service, to be presented at next year’s Bar Conference. Submissions must be received by October 31.

The award is presented annually to a D.C. Bar member who personifies excellence in government service. In keeping with the exceptional accomplishments of Ms. Rosenberg, nominees should have demonstrated outstanding professional judgment throughout long-term government careers, worked intentionally to share their expertise as a mentor to younger government lawyers, and devoted significant personal energies to public or community service.

The Bar established the award in honor of Beatrice “Bea” Rosenberg, who dedicated 35 years of her career to government service and performed with distinction at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She also served as a member of the Board on Professional Responsibility.

The 2009 presentation of the Rosenberg Award—the 20th overall—will be made at the Bar Conference on March 30. The 2008 winner was Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, who retired in 2007 after 16 years at the Office of General Counsel for the Council of the District of Columbia.

Nominations may be submitted online at www.dcbar.org/rosenbergaward or in writing to Katherine Mazzaferri, Executive Director, D.C. Bar, 1250 H Street NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005-5937.

For more information on the Rosenberg Award, contact Leith Alvaro at 202-737-4700, ext. 218, or lalvaro@dcbar.org.—K.A.

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/publications.

Bar Members Face Suspension
D.C. Bar members who failed to pay their annual dues by August 15 were charged a $30 late fee. Members who failed to pay their dues and/or late fee by September 30 automatically were suspended and are subject to additional reinstatement fees.

Dues amounts are $195 for active members, $121 for inactive members, and $98 for judicial members. When paying dues, members may also join a section or renew their section memberships and make contributions to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program.

To pay dues online, members should log on to www.dcbar.org/login. Members are encouraged to confirm all of their personal information on the dues statement, including e-mail addresses. Members who need to retrieve their username and password may do so automatically if their e-mail address matches what the Bar has on file. E-mail addresses can be checked by selecting the “Find a Member” button at the top right side of the page, and locating the individual’s record. If the e-mail address is incorrect, corrections may be submitted by e-mail to memberservices@dcbar.org.

Court of Appeals Amends Rule XI Order
On September 4 the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued a newly amended order on D.C. Bar Rule XI regarding disciplinary proceedings.

The amended order now reads (with changes in italics) that “when Bar Counsel receives notice from another jurisdiction that a member of our Bar has been disciplined by way of public censure, reprimand, or admonition, this Court shall order publication of that fact by appropriate means in this jurisdiction.”

Another amendment to the order requires that “upon receipt of a notice from another jurisdiction that a member of our Bar has been publicly censured, reprimanded or admonished, Bar Counsel shall immediately publish notice of that fact in the District of Columbia Bar Magazine and cause the order of the sister jurisdiction to be published on the District of Columbia Bar Web site and any other publication that Bar Counsel deems appropriate.”

The Court last April ordered that Rule XI be amended in response to the report of the Bar’s Disciplinary System Study Committee with an implementation date of August 1.

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’s Continuing Legal Education Program.

D.C. Bar members who have been inactive, retired, or voluntarily resigned for five years or more are also 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 automatically 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 course is $190. The next course dates are October 7, November 8, and December 9. Advanced registration is encouraged.

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

Judicial Commission Recommends Three for Court of Appeals Vacancy
The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission has recommended three lawyers to President Bush for consideration in selecting a nominee to fill the vacancy left on the D.C. Court of Appeals following the retirement of Judge Michael W. Farrell.

The candidates recommended by the commission are Corinne A. Beckwith, Kathryn A. Oberly, and Walter A. Smith Jr.

Beckwith, 45, has been an attorney in the Appellate Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia since 1999, handling the appeals of indigent criminal defendants who have been convicted of serious offenses. She has served as an appellate attorney at Michigan’s State Appellate Defender Office and taught criminal appellate practice at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. Beckwith earned her law degree from the University of Michigan, where she was editor-in-chief of the Michigan Law Review.

Oberly, 58, has served as Americas vice chair and general counsel of Ernst & Young since 1994 and is a member of the firm’s executive board. In this capacity, Oberly is responsible for all of the firm’s legal business and supervises a department of 42 lawyers, 12 auditors, and associated support staff in offices in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Washington, D.C. Oberly received both her bachelor of arts and juris doctor degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon graduation from law school, she served as a law clerk to Judge Donald P. Lay on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Smith, 61, is the executive director of the DC Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a position he has held for six years, managing teams of pro bono lawyers who handle issues facing the national capital area, including those involving health care, education, voting rights, and the environment. Prior to that, he spent two years as the special deputy corporation counsel for the District of Columbia. He received his masters in law from The George Washing- ton University, his juris doctor from Harvard, and his bachelor of arts from the University of Oklahoma.

President Bush has 60 days to select a nominee to fill the vacancy left by Judge Farrell, who was appointed to the court of appeals in 1989.—S.S.

BB&T Joins IOLTA Initiative to Fund Legal Services
On September 1 BB&T joined the company of leading banks in the District of Columbia that offer the highest interest rates on Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Accounts (IOLTA), and in turn, support civil legal services to poor and disadvantaged District residents.

As the newest D.C.-IOLTA Preferred Bank, BB&T will pay interest rates of up to 75 percent of federal funds rate on trust accounts in the area. The rates will surge automatically as the federal funds rate increases.

BB&T’s decision to sign up for the D.C. Bar Foundation’s IOLTA Preferred Bank Initiative, launched in early 2006, is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent the funds its accounts remit in the District. That action translates to more funding for programs that assist residents who would otherwise be unable to obtain legal help when confronted with family, housing, disability, and other problems.

“We are pleased to recognize BB&T as our newest IOLTA Preferred Bank,” said Stephen J. Pollak, president of the D.C. Bar Foundation. “BB&T’s support of IOLTA is significant, and will help in our efforts to make justice accessible to all.”

The foundation receives any interest earned on IOLTA and distributes the funds to legal aid offices in D.C.

Through its IOLTA initiative, the foundation aims to raise awareness about the need for increased funding for local legal services, as well as enlist financial institutions in efforts to meet this need. Attorneys and law firms that transact with D.C.-IOLTA Preferred Banks make it possible for low-income people across the city to gain better access to legal services.

Other banks that pay the highest rates on IOLTA in the area are Adams National Bank, Citibank, City First Bank of D.C., ColomboBank, and SunTrust Bank.

More information about the D.C.-IOLTA Preferred Bank Initiative, as well as a complete list of participating banks, is available on the foundation’s Web site at www.dcbarfoundation.org/iolta.html.

The D.C. Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1977 by the D.C. Bar to provide members of the Bar with an effective vehicle to support civil legal services. The foundation also administers the District’s IOLTA Program, which was created by the D.C. Court of Appeals in 1985 and provides poverty lawyers with loan repayment assistance. —S.S.

SAVE THE DATE! 2009 D.C. Bar Conference
The 2009 D.C. Bar Conference will be held on Monday, March 30, 2009, 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. 239.

Presidential Effect
presidential On September 4 the Brookings Institution hosted the discussion “The Next Administration and the Future of the Judiciary,” featuring speakers (left to right) M. Edward Whelan III of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, moderator and Brookings Fellow and Research Director in Public Law Benjamin Wittes, Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center, and Brookings Visiting Fellow Russell Wheeler. The panel debated key points of the judiciary, but it formed a consensus on the ramifications of the presidential election. The speakers agreed that the Supreme Court—and the judiciary as a whole—likely will maintain its current fragile ideological mix if Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) wins the presidency, and will likely shift further toward the right should Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) get elected.—S.S.

Reach staff writers Kathryn Alfisi and Steven J. Stauffer at kalfisi@dcbar.org and sstauffer@dcbar.org, respectively.