Strategically And Deliberately Moving Toward Our Goals
The District of Columbia Bar expanded its efforts in fiscal year 2010–2011 to meet the needs of its members and the D.C. community, while bolstering its vision of enhancing the standing of the legal profession and improving access to justice for all.
Much of this expansion can be credited to the implementation of the Bar’s first strategic plan, which was approved by the Board of Governors in November 2009. The plan identifies seven goal areas, covering a period of three to five years, each with its own set of strategic objectives.
When D.C. Bar President Ronald S. Flagg took office in June 2010, he recognized the challenges facing the legal community, not in the least spared by the economic downturn, but he also underscored the critical role the Bar plays in removing barriers to access to justice.
In his inaugural “From the President” column, which appears in Washington Lawyer, Flagg remarked that “access to justice always has been and remains a key mission of the Bar. That mission is carried out every day by Bar members who serve as legal services providers as well as those in a myriad of niches who provide pro bono legal assistance in our community…. Despite these outstanding efforts, the current economic crisis still demands more from us and, in the coming bar year, we will be adding substantially to our ongoing access to justice programs.”
The Bar’s commitment to providing legal services for the disadvantaged was further reinforced this fiscal year. “The lofty goals envisioned in our strategic plan are commensurate with the extraordinary talent in our Bar and the high professional ideals toward which we have always strived,” Flagg wrote in his November 2010 column. But more than talent and ideals, Flagg said, the strategic plan also demands focus, discipline, and persistence for the Bar to reach its goals.
One of the Bar’s goal areas, as stated in the strategic plan, is remaining a leader in the implementation of programs and strategies to enhance access to justice. One such program is the Senior Attorney Initiative for Legal Services (SAILS) Project, a joint effort of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program and D.C. Access to Justice Commission to recruit leading law firms to establish programs encouraging senior lawyers to become more involved with substantial pro bono projects. The SAILS Project was launched with 11 founding partner law firms.
In an effort to demonstrate its commitment to this issue, the D.C. Bar teamed up with the Access to Justice Commission in opposing proposed cuts of more than 50 percent to funding for civil legal services in the D.C. budget for fiscal year 2011. Testifying before the Council of the District of Columbia, along with Access to Justice Commission Chair Peter B. Edelman, Flagg warned that the proposed reduction in funding would “have a devastating impact on the ability of civil legal services providers to serve the District’s low–income residents.” In December 2010 the D.C. Council voted to restore most of the funding.
The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program has long provided D.C. residents with access to justice through its Community Economic Development (CED) Project. In 2010 the Washington, DC Economic Partnership honored the CED Project with the Small Business Initiative of the Year Award for its efforts to improve the District’s entrepreneurial climate.
The CED Project provides pro bono legal services to community–based nonprofit organizations and small businesses serving low–income communities through its walk–in small business clinics and business law training sessions, and by matching nonprofits with pro bono legal counsel.
This year the CED Project significantly expanded its education efforts through Webinars marketed by partner organizations in other cities, thereby reaching nonprofit groups across the country. For these efforts, the CED Project earned the 2011 Frederick B. Abramson Award, one of the Bar’s highest honors.
The CED Project is just one of several programs that have been created under the leadership of Pro Bono Program Executive Director Maureen Thornton Syracuse, who announced her retirement (effective July 22) this year, after 19 years of service. Under Syracuse’s leadership, the Pro Bono Program has expanded significantly to include such programs as the Advocacy & Justice Clinic and the Landlord Tenant Resource Center, and it has grown to become one of the largest facilitators of pro bono legal services in the District.
In recognition of Syracuse’s contributions, the Bar named her the recipient of the 2011 William J. Brennan, Jr. Award, which is presented every other year in recognition of individual excellence, achievement, and commitment in the fields of civil rights and individual liberties.
The Bar also has embraced strategic thinking in enhancing opportunities for leadership development. This year a Leadership Development Committee was created based on recommendations by the Leadership Initiative Task Force formed during the term of former D.C. Bar President Kim M. Keenan. The committee is taking steps to create a formal program to help the Bar identify, train, and develop current and potential leaders who will serve our Bar, our courts, and the legal profession.
Utilizing New Technologies
Another goal area outlined in the Bar’s strategic plan is enhancing technology to facilitate interactive communications between the Bar and its members as well as among members. One way in which the Bar has focused on implementing this is by revisiting the efficiency of the Bar’s Web site and exploring ways of utilizing social networking tools.
The D.C. Bar Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Program and some of the Bar’s 21 sections have employed new technology this year. The CLE Program incorporated a quick response (QR) code into its spring catalog to make online registration for courses faster and easier. QR codes resemble bar codes and function similarly, but they also provide detailed, Web-based information when scanned by a mobile phone. The CLE Program also increased the use of its wireless electronic polling transponder equipment for more course interactivity.
This year the CLE Program celebrated its 20th anniversary with a record number of CLE courses (134) and a record level of MCLE accreditation submissions (more than 7,000). New course titles made up more than 37 percent of the CLE curriculum, while nearly a quarter of the classes dealt with the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct as part of the Bar’s Rules Education Program. More than 9,000 attorneys attended CLE courses, including more than 3,000 who attended one of the 12 Mandatory Course offerings.
The D.C. Bar Sections offered its first Webinar program, “Jacobsen v. Katzer: Overview and Impact on Open Source,” sponsored by the Intellectual Property Law Section. Additionally, the Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section; Family Law Section; International Law Section; Law Practice Management Section; and Litigation Section continued—or, in some cases, launched—listserv e–mail lists as a part of a pilot program.
The lists provide information on events, programs, new legislation, and issues affecting practicing attorneys. Coordinators field suggestions, questions, and concerns, and provide feedback to the Sections Council’s Technology Committee, which considers the circumstances under which these lists should continue, and if they should be expanded to other sections.
This year marked the first time the Bar offered online voting for Sections Steering Committee elections in the same way it has been offered for its general elections since 2002. In addition, the paper ballots were consolidated so that individuals who belonged to more than one section would receive only one mailing. Ultimately, the sections elections and the Bar’s Board of Governors election will be held exclusively online, with paper ballots only available upon request.
Active and judicial members of the Bar were provided with a useful legal research tool when the Bar added Fastcase as a new member benefit in February. Fastcase is a comprehensive online law library that combines the best of legal research with the best of Web search.
The Bar continued to offer programs that provide assistance to lawyers considering going solo. Based on member feedback, the D.C. Bar Practice Management Service Committee expanded its free, interactive program, “Basic Training: Learn About Running a Law Office,” to two full days. As of the start of April, 331 Bar members have attended the program; since its inception in November 2008, more than 900 lawyers have attended.
The Lawyer Assistance Committee focused on outreach to lawyers in large D.C. law firms through presentations to managing partners and other groups within firms, and maintained outreach at six D.C. law schools.
Upholding Professional Integrity
This year the Bar’s Board of Governors approved a request by the Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee (Rules Review Committee) to amend the board’s “Policy on Public Statements by D.C. Bar Committees” to permit the Rules Review Committee to speak publicly on issues relating to professional ethics, lawyer regulation, and the Rules of Professional Conduct. As a result, the Rules Review Committee is able to comment on and potentially influence the work of the American Bar Association Commission on Ethics 20/20 as it reviews the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, in light of changes in technology and the global perspective of the practice of law.
Also this year, the Bar, in conjunction with the D.C. Bar Foundation, continued its efforts to inform members about changes to the Interest on Lawyers’ Trust Account (IOLTA) rules that went into effect August 1. An extensive article about the changes, which included a letter from D.C. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Eric T. Washington, was published in E-brief and Washington Lawyer. Members also were educated about the IOLTA changes through CLE courses, presentations to the voluntary bar leadership, “Basic Training” sessions, and the Mandatory Course.
The Clients’ Security Fund Study Committee was appointed to study and make recommendations about the mechanism through which the Bar funds this critical program. The committee also was charged with reviewing the current payout limit of $75,000 per claim as well as studying how the Bar’s budgeting to maintain the fund can be more predictable from year to year.
Finally, after a strategic assessment of various Bar programs to determine if they were meeting their stated purposes, the Malpractice Arbitration Service of the Attorney/Client Arbitration Board was discontinued and its resources were redirected to the core work of the Fee Arbitration Service.
Fiscal year 2010–2011 was productive for the D.C. Bar as it worked on implementing its strategic plan, coming closer to reaching its envisioned future of being “recognized as the national leader in the legal profession for professional excellence, preeminent programs, and exemplary public service,” while continuing to provide for its members and the community through existing programs and legal ethics decisions.
THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BAR AND AFFILIATEConsolidated Statements of Activities and Financial Position
Years ended June 30, 2010 and 2009
|Admissions and Registrations||2,027,877||1,746,993|
|Books and Publication Sales||184,422||212,183|
|Investment income (Loss)||1,052,142||(2,234,414)|
|Other Fees and Services||10,936||17,824|
|Board on Professional Responsibility||$6,985,793||$6,455,851|
|Conference and Annual Meeting||440,218||201,548|
|Continuing Legal Education||2,815,131||2,599,897|
|Clients Security Trust Fund||379,121||255,273|
|Pro Bono Program||1,728,736||1,633,371|
|Total Program Services||$17,771,076||$16,619,184|
|Administration & Finance—D.C. Bar||$7,415,819||$5,868,966|
|Administration & Finance—Pro Bono||242,595||217,364|
|Fundraising Pro Bono||183,031||198,148|
|Total Supporting Services||9,024,865||7,326,120|
|Changes in net assets||1,446,789||(2,330,060)|
|Net Assets Beginning of Year||7,661,107||9,991,167|
|Net Assets End of Year||$9,107,896||$7,661,107|
|Cash and Cash Equivalent||$9,071,382||$5,372,399|
|Investments: Clients Security Trust Fund||70,001||701,833|
|Receivables, Net of Allowance for Doubtful Accounts||199,248||175,554|
|Property and Leasehold Improvements, Net||6,527,537||6,944,643|
|Net Total Assets||$30,257,484||$26,356,321|
|Liabilities and Net Assets|
|Accounts Payable and Accrued Liabilities||$3,470,476||$3,592,996|
|Landlord Improvement Allowance||3,927,496||4,287,266|
|Deferred Rent Liability||713,929||200,268|
|Net Assets Designated:|
|Mandatory Dues Purposes||$3,681,101||$2,803,612|
|Clients Security Trust Fund||700,001||701,833|
|Pro Bono Program||2,561,732||2,387,177|
|Continuing Legal Education||203,740||62,902|
|Total Net Assets||$9,107,896||$7,661,107|
|Total Liabilities and Net Assets||$30,257,484||$26,356,321|
The above financial reports represent the District of Columbia Bar’s Consolidated Statements of Activities and the Consolidated Statements of Position for the Years ended June 30, 2010 and 2009. Any member who wishes to receive a full copy of the Bar’s Consolidated Financial Statements and Schedule may request one by calling 202-737-4700, ext. 3343.
BOARD OF GOVERNORS 2010–2011
Ronald S. Flagg
Sidley Austin LLP
Darrell G. Mottley
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.
Andrea C. Ferster
Johnine P. Barnes
Baker & Hostetler LLP
Amy L. Bess
Vedder Price P.C.
Paulette E. Chapman
Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P.
H. Guy Collier
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Sabine S. Curto
Jenner & Block LLP
King & Spalding LLP
Stephen I. Glover
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Ankur J. Goel
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Kim M. Keenan
Bridget Bailey Lipscomb
U.S. Department of Justice
Lorelie S. Masters
Jenner & Block LLP
Rebecca M. McNeill
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
Barry C. Mills
Robert D. Okun
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia
Laura A. Possessky
Gura & Possessky, PLLC
James W. Rubin
Javier G. Salinas
Ernst & Young LLP
R. Justin Smith
U.S. Department of Justice
Benjamin F. Wilson
Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.
D.C. BAR COMMITTEES AND TASK FORCES
Attorney/Client Arbitration Board
Malcolm L. Pritzker, Chair
Harold D. Kessler, Vice Chair
Kim M. Keenan, Chair
Darrell G. Mottley, Chair
Gary E. Humes, Chair
Community Economic Development
Pro Bono Project Advisory
George E. Covucci, Chair
Susan Bennett, Vice Chair
Ronald S. Flagg, Chair
Continuing Legal Education
Morton J. Posner, Chair
Kristin D. Alden, Program Chair
Carolyn B. Lamm, Chair
Disaster Practice Issues Working Group
Richard B. Nettler, Chair
Caroline T. Nguyen, Chair
Ronald S. Flagg, Chair
Family Law Task Force
Rita M. Bank, Cochair
Margaret J. McKinney, Cochair
Kim M. Keenan, Chair
Governance Integration Advisory
George W. Jones Jr., Chair
Thomas C. Papson, Chair
Kim M. Keenan, Chair
David B. Jaffe, Chair
Ellen L. Stefani-Pyle, Vice Chair
Philip A. Lacovara, Chair
Eileen Sobeck, Vice Chair
Thomas M. Mason, Chair
Devarieste Curry, Vice Chair
Marilyn T. Lynch, Chair
Donald M. Remy, Chair
Kim M. Keenan, Chair
Practice Management Service
Peter C. Wolk, Chair
Natalie Marie Koss, Vice Chair
James J. Sandman, Chair
G. Brian Busey, Vice Chair
Sherrese M. Smith, Chair
Nicholas G. Karambelas, Vice Chair
Martha JP McQuade, Chair
Rules of Professional Conduct Review
George R. Clark, Chair
Peggy Love, Vice Chair
James W. Rubin, Chair
Senior Lawyer Project Working Group
Marc L. Fleischaker, Chair
D.C. BAR SECTIONS
Council on Sections
Linda E. Carlisle, Chair
Katherine C. Gehringer, Vice Chair
Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section
Esa L. Sferra-Bonistalli, Cochair
Michael L. Stern, Cochair
Antitrust and Consumer Law Section
Nadine Jones, Cochair
Karin F. R. Moore, Cochair
Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law Section
Karl W. Means, Cochair
Bradley A. Thomas, Cochair
Computer and Telecommunications Law Section
Joy M. Ragsdale, Chair
Eric T. Werner, Vice Chair
Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section
Larry Ellsworth, Chair
Felicia C. Battista, Vice Chair
Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice
Dorene M. Haney, Cochair
Stephen B. Pershing, Cochair
Criminal Law and Individual Rights Section
David B. Deitch, Cochair
Seth A. Rosenthal, Cochair
District of Columbia Affairs Section
Nicholas A. Majett, Cochair
Edward J. Rich, Cochair
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section
Bernice I. Corman, Cochair
Kelly A. Johnson, Cochair
Estates, Trusts and Probate Law Section
Kimberly K. Edley, Cochair
Anne Meister, Cochair
Family Law Section
Nancy E. Drane, Cochair
Lisa Vollendorf Martin, Cochair
Government Contracts and Litigation Section
Keith D. Coleman, Cochair
Kevin J. Maynard, Cochair
Health Law Section
Cathy Zeman Scheineson, Cochair
Hemi D. Tewarson, Cochair
Intellectual Property Law Section
Stephen E. Belisle, Cochair
Kathleen Cooney-Porter, Cochair
International Law Section
Priscilla W. Wakefield, Chair
Brenda A. Jacobs, Vice Chair
Labor and Employment Law Section
H. David Kelly Jr., Cochair
Joyce E. Taber, Cochair
Law Practice Management Section
Jeffrey L. Berger, Chair
Anne E. Collier, Vice Chair
David D. Fauvre, Cochair
Lucy E. Newton, Cochair
Real Estate, Housing and Land Use Section
David H. Cox, Cochair
Steven L. Dube, Cochair
Carolyn O. Ward, Chair
Serena G. Simons, Vice Chair
Tort Law Section
Denis C. Mitchell, Cochair
Thomas C. Mugavero, Cochair
Board on Professional Responsibility
Charles J. Willoughby, Chair
Ray S. Bolze, Vice Chair
Clients’ Security Fund
Jeffrey Gutman, Chair
Douglas Spaulding, Vice Chair
District of Columbia Bar Foundation
W. Mark Smith, President
Marna S. Tucker, Vice President