The D.C. Bar Nominations Committee has announced candidates for office on the Bar’s Board of Governors for the 2013–2014 term. Nominees are running for the positions of president–elect, secretary, and treasurer. There are five vacancies on the Bar’s Board of Governors, each spanning three years. Finally, there are three seats available in the American Bar Association House of Delegates, including one reserved for an under–35 candidate.
Ballots and instructions for voting, by mail or online, were distributed to all active Bar members on April 30. The deadline to vote is May 24. Results of the election will be announced on the Bar’s Web site and during the 2013 Celebration of Leadership, which includes the Bar’s Awards Dinner and Annual Meeting, on June 18 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW.
Concurrently, the D.C. Bar Sections Office has announced nominees for vacancies on the steering committees of the Bar’s 20 sections. For the first time, the section steering committee elections will be conducted primarily online. The deadline for requesting a paper ballot was April 15. Voting begins April 30 and closes online at midnight on May 24. For a paper ballot to be counted, it must arrive in the return envelope provided by May 24. The Sections Office will announce election results the week of June 10.
Brigida Benitez is a partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where she focuses her practice on global dispute resolution, internal investigations, and compliance matters.
Benitez did not have to look far for examples of great leadership—her mentors were John Payton and John Pickering, both past presidents of the D.C. Bar and pillars of the legal community. “What I learned from them was the fulfillment one gets from being actively involved in the Bar, in this community, and the richness of contributing to the Bar,” she says. “I had the tremendous opportunity to sit as a student to these leaders of the Bar, who helped shape the Bar. For me, it’s a privilege to ask for the opportunity to carry that torch forward.”
If elected, Benitez would channel the Bar’s strengths to promote access to justice and legal services, enhance the organization’s professional development programs, and address the impact of an increasingly global profession.
To improve access to justice, Benitez can pull from her experience of helping to establish a Spanish–language Advice and Referral Clinic. As a member of the Bar’s Pro Bono Committee from 2002–06, Benitez, along with Judge Vanessa Ruiz of the D.C. Court of Appeals, assessed the needs of the community and noticed the demand for Spanish-speaking lawyers at the Bar’s Advice and Referral Clinic. Partnering with community organizations, including the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia, the clinic had its first session on May 22, 2004.
In addition, Benitez emphasizes the need to engage lawyers from all corners of the profession, from solo practitioners to large firm lawyers, and from new graduates to senior attorneys. She aims to boost the professional development offerings at the Bar, as well as to use technology to explore ways to create more meaningful interactions with its members. Some ideas include developing additional Webinars, increasing online conversations, and creating a possible D.C. Bar app.
As an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and American University (AU) Washington College of Law, Benitez sees firsthand the struggles law students experience as they attempt to break into the job market. She mentors many of them, offering references and networking opportunities, and she sees the Bar serving in a similar fashion on a much larger scale through programs that target new lawyers. “They are the lifeblood of our profession. We have to find ways, and I believe we will find ways, to do more for them because, ultimately, our success depends on their success. They are our future,” she says of new lawyers.
The third aspect of her plan for the Bar deals with the globalization of the legal industry. “The Bar has historically been at the forefront of cutting-edge issues and remains well positioned to take a leadership role on the impact of the globalization of the legal profession,” Benitez says. “We often talk about how we’re becoming more global, as if it’s an issue we’re going to have to deal with at some point, but it’s not. We are global. We need to address this issue now.”
Benitez has extensive experience in the global arena. She teaches international litigation at both AU and Georgetown. In addition, prior to working at Steptoe & Johnson, she worked at the Inter–American Development Bank, investigating potential fraud and corruption in Bank–financed activities spanning 26 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. She was also an equity partner at WilmerHale LLP, leading matters for multinational corporations in Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East.
That experience would help her to lead the Bar as it helps its members navigate these waters. She seeks to examine issues such as the admission of foreign attorneys in the District of Columbia and their practices, cross–border transactions, and the ethical concerns that may arise because of the blurred borders. Harnessing the Bar’s diversity includes geographical diversity, she notes. “The D.C. Bar has emphasized the value of its diversity, of having members with different perspectives, views, backgrounds, all parts of the world coming together to address legal issues,” Benitez says. “That makes us stronger.”
Benitez is a member of the D.C. Bar Board of Governors and serves on the Bar’s Budget Committee. She previously worked on the Bar’s Strategic Planning Committee, Nominations Committee, and the Steering Committee of the Bar’s Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice Section. She has also served as president of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia and as a member of the board of directors of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
Lorelie S. Masters
Lorelie S. Masters is a partner at Jenner & Block LLP, working in the firm’s insurance litigation and counseling practice.
While Masters has worked at Jenner & Block for the past 11 years, she also devotes much of her time to serving at numerous bar associations and volunteering for causes that are important to her. Throughout her career, she has taken on leadership roles with the D.C. Bar and the American Bar Association, and served as president of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia from 2007–08. Masters believes those experiences have honed her leadership skills and helped to create an extensive network in the D.C. community that will be key if she were elected president of the D.C. Bar.
If elected, among Masters’ top priorities will be to enhance and develop mentoring and training programs at the Bar. She hopes to repackage some of the sections programming and offer them to law firms to help train their less experienced attorneys. Masters notes the greater demands on partner time in recent years that have led to reduced opportunities to train young attorneys. More available training content could ease those constraints, benefitting all, she says.
In addition, Masters aims to leverage the expertise of senior attorneys to provide training to new lawyers. “I believe that if we could organize a program that would help match up lawyers who want to give more of their time to the community at a later stage in their career with younger lawyers to provide training, we could really benefit members of the Bar and the greater community,” she says.
Her efforts reach deeper, as she outlines an idea for a mentoring program for D.C. teens interested in a law career. She actively supports the annual Youth Law Fair, where she has engaged with youths just beginning their journey of finding their future careers. “Even if they have involved adults in their lives, the adults may not have that kind of background that the kids are looking for in terms of the college application process and what it takes to become a lawyer,” Masters says. “We could provide a real service then.”
Masters would also like to enhance access to justice and promote diversity and inclusion in the Bar. For Masters, taking on pro bono cases is an integral part of her work. In one case she helped a former prison inmate secure a visa and avoid permanent separation from his family. She also has represented victims of human trafficking, helping to establish precedent for damages under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
“It gave me a real sense of what lawyers can do to help an individual who has no voice,” she says. “Trafficked individuals and [those] who [have] been in prison—those are people who have the fewest entrees into the system and have a great need for someone to champion their interests and their needs.”
In terms of diversity, she hopes to ensure a level playing field for anyone who becomes a member of the Bar to enhance their opportunity to give and to develop their career, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation.
Another important initiative will be to create a formal method of capturing the history of the Bar. “From my perspective, the development of the D.C. Bar is inextricably linked to the changes in the governing structure in the District of Columbia. I think it has resonance, not only for the legal profession, but in the greater D.C. community,” Masters says.
Masters serves as a member of the D.C. Bar Board of Governors and chairs the Bar’s Screening Committee. Previously, she sat on the Bar’s Judicial Evaluation Committee, chaired the Nominations Committee, and served on and chaired the Steering Committee of the Bar’s Litigation Section. She served for more than three years on the D.C. Court of Appeals’ Committee on Admissions. She is a member of the board of directors of the Women’s Bar Association Foundation. She also volunteers at DC Appleseed, DC Vote, and the Historical Society of the District of Columbia Circuit.
D.C. Bar Nominations Committee Announces Candidates for Bar Office
The Nominations Committee also announced the selection of candidates for other Bar positions. Nominated for secretary are Michelle W. Cohen of Ifrah Law and Sara Kropf of the Law Office of Sara Kropf PLLC, and for treasurer are Steven N. Berk of Berk Law PLLC and Morton J. Posner of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The following are candidates for five vacancies on the Bar’s Board of Governors for three-year terms: Lily M. Garcia of Strayer University; Stephen I. Glover of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Kirra L. Jarratt of the American Bar Association; Susan M. Kovarovics of Bryan Cave LLP; Bridget Bailey Lipscomb of the U.S. Department of Justice; Richard J. Marks of DLA Piper US LLP; Thomas C. Mugavero of Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP; Daniel Schumack of Schumack Ryals PLLC; Bradley A. Thomas of the Law Offices of Bradley A. Thomas; Michelle C. Thomas of M. C. Thomas and Associates, PC; and Jonathan Tycko of Tycko & Zavareei LLP.
The Nominations Committee also announced candidates for the American Bar Association House of Delegates, including one position reserved for a candidate under the age of 35. Running for two regular seats are Arthur D. Burger of Jackson & Campbell, P.C.; Paul M. Smith of Jenner & Block LLP; D. Jean Veta of Covington & Burling LLP; and Christian A. Washington of Polsinelli Shughart PC.
Seeking the under-35 seat are Natalie S. Walker of Webster, Fredrickson, Correia & Puth, PLLC; Courtney L. Weiner of Lewis Baach PLLC; and Vladlen David Zvenyach of the Council of the District of Columbia.
Ballots and instructions for voting, by mail or online, were distributed to all active Bar members on April 30. The deadline to vote is May 24.
Sections Office AnnouncesSteering Committee Nominees
The following nominees are running for vacancies on the steering committees of the Bar’s 20 sections. For questions about the sections elections, contact the Sections Office at 202–626–3463.
D.C. Bar Sections 2013–14 Steering Committee Candidates
Administrative Law and Agency Practice (Three Vacancies): Leslie M. Hill, U.S. Department of Justice; Lisa E. Jones, Sidley Austin LLP; Steven P. Lehotsky, WilmerHale LLP; Justin A. Savage, U.S. Department of Justice; Lesleyanne Schaaff, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Antitrust and Consumer Law (Three Vacancies): Carrie M. Anderson, Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP; Craig L. Briskin, Mehri & Skalet, PLLC; John R. Ingrassia, Proskauer Rose LLP; Jeffrey D. Kaliel, Tycko & Zavareei LLP; Edward S. Keefe, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Heather M. Latino, Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia; Douglas B. Rathbun, U.S. Department of Justice; Steve Vieux, Federal Trade Commission.
Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law (Three Vacancies): Donald A. Fishman, Washington Capitals; Deneen Howell, Williams & Connolly LLP; Gregg P. Leslie, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; Donielle P. Powe, Attorney–at–Law; Lita T. Rosario, Wyz Girl Entertainment Consulting LLC; Craig A. Sperling, PBS.
Corporation, Finance and Securities Law (Three Vacancies): Rajib Chanda, Ropes & Gray LLP; Martha V. Clarke, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Stephen J. Crimmins, K&L Gates LLP; Frederic D. Firestone, McDermott Will & Emery LLP; Sara P. Hanks, CrowdCheck, Inc.; Adelaja K. Heyliger, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; Robert B. Kaplan, Debevoise and Plimpton LLP; Thomas H. Kim, Jenner & Block LLP; Charles R. Mills, K&L Gates LLP.
Courts, Lawyers and the Administration of Justice (Three Vacancies): Wyndell O. Banks, Howard University School of Law; Evelyn L. Becker, Attorney-at-Law; Barbara K. Kagan, Steptoe & Johnson LLP; Frederick V. Mulhauser, American Civil Liberties Union; Alessandro N. Terenzoni, U.S. Department of Education; Megan K. Whyte, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
Criminal Law and Individual Rights (Two Vacancies): Andrew J. Delehanty, Attorney–at–Law; Timothy J. Kelly, U.S. Department of Justice; Joanne D. Slaight, Attorney-at-Law; McGennis Williams, Law Office of McGennis Williams.
District of Columbia Affairs (Three Vacancies): James S. Bubar, Attorney–at–Law; Joel M. Cohn, D.C. Office of the Tenant Advocate; David L. Goldblatt, Goldblatt Martin Pozen LLP; Patricia A. Gracyalny, Office of the Chief Financial Officer for the District of Columbia; Ariel B. Levinson–Waldman, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia; Ram Y. Uppuluri, Friends of Choice in Urban Schools.
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (Three Vacancies): Dimple Chaudhary, Natural Resources Defense Council; Harmon L. Cooper, Sedgwick LLP; Emily M. Lamond, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Benjamin S. Lippard, Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.; Maureen E. Rudolph, U.S. Department of Justice; Rufus J. Smith, U.S. Department of Justice; Benjamin L. Snowden, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.
Estates, Trusts and Probate Law (Three Vacancies): Jennifer C. Concino, Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing; Lillian Y. Crawford-Abbensetts, Attorney–at–Law; Mark G. Griffin, Griffin & Murphy LLP; Sarah M. Johnson, Venable LLP; Andrew T. Richardson III, Law Office of Andrew Richardson; Katherine M. Wiedmann, Crowley Hoge & Fein PC.
Family Law (Three Vacancies): Lisa Fishberg, Schertler & Onorato LLP; Wesley P. Gelb, Ain & Bank, P.C.; Rebecca Goldfrank, The Children’s Law Center; Sheila J. Kadagathur, Hostetter Strent LLC; Allison Miles–Lee, Bread for the City; Robert D. Weinberg, Delaney McKinney LLP.
Government Contracts and Litigation (Two Vacancies): Lauren A. Brown, U.S. Postal Service; Julia M. Carpenter, Jenner & Block LLP; Thomas A. Coulter, LeClairRyan; Albert C. Lambert, The Boeing Company; Tina D. Reynolds, Morrison & Foerster LLP; Alexander W. Major, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.
Health Law (Three Vacancies): Rebecca L. Burke, Powers Pyles Sutter & Verville PC; Selina P. Coleman, Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.; Kathryn W. Feola, MedStar Health, Inc.; Jillanne M. Schulte, Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP; Terri A. Thompson, Howard University Hospital; Jeff J. Wurzburg, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Intellectual Property Law (Three Vacancies): David P. Emery, Sughrue Mion PLLC; Ryan M. Flandro, Venable LLP; Gary R. Greenstein, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati P.C.; Leslie L. Jacobs Jr., Dickstein Shapiro LLP; Robert J. Kimmer, Rader, Fishman & Grauer PLLC; Joseph W. Ricigliano, Perkins Coie, LLP; Brian P. O’Shaughnessy, RatnerPrestia; Mark A. Williamson, Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto; Damon W. Wright, Venable LLP.
International Law (Two Vacancies): Ignacio J. Alvarez, Alvarez Martinez Law Firm LLC; Parounag Astourian, Astourian and Associates; Mary Ann McGrail, Law Office of M. A. McGrail; Nancy L. Perkins, Arnold & Porter LLP.
Labor and Employment Law (Three Vacancies): Stephani L. Abramson, National Archives and Records Administration; Michelle F. Bercovici, Alden Law Group PLLC; Stephen D. Kong, The Kong Firm PLLC; Marcus C. Migliore, Airline Pilots Association; John M. Remy, Jackson Lewis LLP; Jason C. Schwartz, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP; Alexis P. Taylor, D.C. Office of Human Rights.
Law Practice Management (Three Vacancies): David M. Allred, Patton Boggs LLP; Sonya N. Armfield, Attorney–at–Law; Eileen Cohen Billinson, WilmerHale LLP; Harelda Mavis Gragg, BuckleySandler LLP; Elena Hung, Law Office of Elena Hung, PLLC; Barry E. Reiferson, Patton Boggs LLP; Ashley C. Scott, Attorney–at–Law; Taryn K. Williams, King & Spalding LLP.
Litigation (Three Vacancies): Jonathan G. Cedarbaum, WilmerHale LLP; Kevin M. Clark, TrustPoint International; Stephen W. Fung, Kalijarvi Chuzi & Newman; Kathleen R. Hartnett, Attorney–at–Law; Michael D. Kass, Hogan Lovells; Courtney L. Weiner, Lewis Baach PLLC.
Real Estate, Housing and Land Use (Two Vacancies): Marc A. Borbely, D.C. Tenants’ Rights Center; June L. Marshall, Eisen & Rome PC; Samantha L. Mazo, Linowes & Blocher LLP; John E. Reid, Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing.
Taxation (Three Vacancies): Joshua T. Brady, Ivins, Phillips & Barker, Chartered; Rachel D. Burke, Furey, Doolan & Abell, LLP; Michael J. Caballero, Covington & Burling LLP; Richard G. Larkins, Ernst & Young LLP; Eileen C. Marshall, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati P.C.; Christian M. McBurney, Nixon Peabody LLP.
Tort Law (Three Vacancies): Amy S. Griggs, Regan Zambri Long & Bertram PLLC; Molly P. Hoffman, Fay Kaplan Law, PA; Caragh F. Owens, Fay Kaplan Law, PA; Archie L. Rich II, The Rich Firm, PC; Samuel M. Shapiro, Attorney-at-Law; Daniel S. Singer, Schultz & Trombly, P.L.L.C.