By Kathryn Alfisi and Thai Phi Le
Superior Court Opens Southwest Juvenile Drop–In Center
A little rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of those in the community who came out on September 6 to celebrate the grand opening of the latest Balanced and Restorative Justice Drop–In Center (BARJ), this time, in Southwest, D.C.
The center, located along South Capitol Street, between N Street and M Street SW, was decorated with purple and yellow balloons. Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield of the D.C. Superior Court; Deputy Mayor Paul Quander; Councilmember Tommy Wells of Ward 6; Family Court Presiding Judge Zoe Bush; Terri Odom, director of the court's Family Court Social Services Division of the Superior Court; Andrew Fois, deputy D.C. attorney general for public safety; Ron McBee, Advisory Neighborhood Commission Ward 6 commissioner; Nancy M. Ware, director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency for the District of Columbia; and members of the Metropolitan Police Department were on hand to offer their congratulations during the ribbon–cutting ceremony.
"Often we demonize young people and we say, ‘One strike and we want you out.’ The problem is that they come back. This is their home. This is their neighborhood. Oftentimes they come back tougher, rougher, and ready to do worse," Councilmember Wells said. "We have to be smarter … This is a smart program."
The Southwest BARJ center can have up to 45 youth offenders on any given day participating in the numerous programs offered. It is the third center created by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in an attempt to find new methods for working with the juvenile offender population. The first opened in 2007 in Southeast.
All three centers in the Southeast, Northeast, and Southwest locations offer core programs for court–supervised youths. The centers are an alternative to detention for juvenile offenders waiting for their court date and who need increased supervision. Probation officers lead discussions on a variety of issues, including analysis of hip hop as it relates to crime, drug and health education, and anger management, as well as take them on field trips to see the city outside their neighborhood. Previous events at other centers included a day at the Washington Nationals ballpark and visits to historical District landmarks. In their downtime, youths enjoy the multipurpose room that houses ping pong tables, arcade games, and a television.
The Southwest center also is equipped as a vocational center, allowing kids to learn new skills that could help them in the future. Computers are on hand for those interested in learning Web design, while an entire room is full of silk screen equipment. There also is a large kitchen that will be home to the "Real Men and Women Cook" program, where the kids learn how to prepare meals from start to finish. The center is open Monday through Saturday.
"We cannot give up on the children of our city," added Fois, the deputy D.C. attorney general for public safety. "We're the prosecutors. People think of us as wanting to lock up the kids and put them in jail and throw away the key at least until they’re 21. Sometimes you have to do that, but most of the time, for the first exposure, we still have a chance to get to these kids and turn their lives around. That's what BARJ is all about."—T.L.
District of Columbia Practice Manual, 2012 Edition, Is Available for Purchase
The D.C. Bar and its sections have released the District of Columbia Practice Manual, 2012 Edition, a two–volume, soft–cover guide covering the basics of law in the District of Columbia.
Produced with the assistance of Thomson Reuters, this easy–to–use format brings together the collective knowledge of hundreds of experienced practitioners in 33 chapters.
A must–have resource and the starting point for every D.C. practitioner, the new manual has an introductory chapter on Finding the Law in the District of Columbia, followed by specific chapters covering Administrative Procedure, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Antitrust, Appellate Practice in the D.C. Court of Appeals, Art Law, Child Abuse and Neglect, Commercial Law, Consumer Protection, Corporate Practice, Criminal Law and Practice, Criminal Traffic Offenses, Domestic Relations, Employment Law, Environmental Law, Government Contracts, Health Maintenance Organization Act, Human Rights, Intervention Proceedings, Juvenile Law and Practice, Landlord and Tenant Practice, Legal Ethics and Lawyer Discipline, Mental Health Proceedings, Partnerships, Personal Injury, Real Property, Small Claims, Superior Court Civil Practice, Taxation, U.S. District Court Civil Practice, Wills and Estates, Workers' Compensation, and Zoning and Historic Preservation.
The title is available for $300 and may be ordered from the D.C. Bar Member Services Center, 1101 K Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005-4210. Credit card orders may be placed by secure fax to 202-942-9752. Individuals purchasing the new edition automatically qualify for subscription pricing discounts on subsequent editions.
For more information about the title, contact the D.C. Bar Communications Office at email@example.com.
Associates’ Campaign Raises $900,000 for Legal Aid
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, law firms aimed to raise $800,000 for the organization through the Generous Associates Campaign, a fundraiser run by law firm associates. By the end of the 2012 campaign, 70 firms combined to smash the goal, bringing in $901,000.
"It is truly extraordinary that D.C.’s generous associates are able to raise one–fifth of the operating budget of the District's largest general poverty law program," said Eric Angel, executive director of Legal Aid.
By sending personal e–mails encouraging donations and firm matches, associates led the campaign to its most successful year ever since it began 22 years ago. WilmerHale LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP had exceptional success at their firms, raising $90,000 and $80,000, respectively.
"More than one in three residents living East of the [Anacostia] River is living in poverty. And when we say poverty, we meant it: A single mother with a child making $15,200 a year is not considered poor according to federal poverty guidelines," Angel said. "The success of the Generous Associates Campaign will make a huge difference in our ability to make justice real for the District's most vulnerable residents."—T.L.
Two D.C. Lawyers Among 2012 Margaret Brent Awardees
On August 5 the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women in the Profession honored five lawyers, two of whom are from the Washington metropolitan area, who have shown great leadership in their respective fields and blazed the path for other female attorneys.
The commission presented its 2012 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award to Tani G. Cantil–Sakauye, chief justice of the Supreme Court of California; Marcia Devins Greenberger, founder and co–president of the National Women’s Law Center; Joan M. Hall, a retired partner at Jenner & Block LLP; Arlinda Locklear of Arlinda Locklear Law Office; and Amy W. Schulman, executive vice president and general counsel of Pfizer Inc. and president and general manager of Pfizer Nutrition. Both Greenberger and Locklear are members of the D.C. Bar.
The awardees were honored during the ABA annual meeting in Chicago.
Greenberger founded the National Women’s Law Center in 1972, devoting her career to advocating for women's rights. She has worked on major legislation that offered stronger legal protections for women, including the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and secured victories in numerous sexual discrimination cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I was absolutely thrilled to be selected as one of this year's Margaret Brent Award winners. Having admired and learned from so many Brent Award winners over the years, being part of such an extraordinary group was humbling at best. But, most important for me was that the award reflected the support I have received, both personal and professional, from lawyers in D.C. throughout the over 40 years that I have been a member of the Bar," Greenberger said. "The strong friendships, superb pro bono help, and gifted colleagues that the Bar has provided infuse the work of the National Women's Law Center and my own legal career in ways I could never adequately express." Locklear, part of the Lumbee Tribe, has dedicated more than 35 years of her career to Native American law. During the 1984 Solem v. Bartlett trial, she became the first Native American woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Margaret Brent Award was created in 1991 in honor of the first female lawyer in the United States. In an eight–year timespan, Brent tried and won all 124 cases in which she was involved.—T.L.
D.C. Bar Partners With Capital One for Exclusive Credit Card Offers
The D.C. Bar has recently partnered with Capital One, giving Bar members access to three exclusive credit card offers that feature different options to fit individual needs.
Capital One’s credit building card can help Bar members build credit through responsible use. The card comes with free fraud liability, low introductory APR, and manageable credit limits. The low introductory rate card allows Bar members to save more with its low introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers, nonexistent annual fee, and free fraud liability. With the rewards card, Bar members can earn 1.25 miles for every dollar spent on purchases. Miles earned are redeemable for flights, hotels, car rentals, and more.
Bar members can choose from three credit card designs, all of which featuring the D.C. Bar logo and name.
For more information, visit www.capitaloneconnect.com/dcbar.—K.A.
Washington Council of Lawyers Seek Nominations for Annual Awards
The Washington Council of Lawyers (WCL) is now accepting nominations for its 2012 Presidents’ Award and Outstanding Government Pro Bono Service Award that will both be presented at the organization’s annual Awards Reception on December 4.
The Presidents’ Award honors an individual whose work exemplifies the values of pro bono and public service that the WCL seeks to promote. It recognizes an individual whose work benefits low-income or marginalized residents of the Washington metropolitan area and supports the D.C. public interest community’s efforts to improve access to justice.
In particular, the WCL is looking for nominees who have worked to bring together the public interest, pro bono, and government legal communities to improve the quality and availability of free legal services.
For the Outstanding Government Pro Bono Service Award, the WCL is looking for government attorneys who have demonstrated a commitment to providing all types of pro bono service, including involvement in establishing or implementing an agency pro bono program, in increasing the level of pro bono service by agency attorneys through the promotion or facilitation of pro bono opportunities, in the mentoring or training of agency lawyers handling pro bono matters, in litigating cases or providing non–litigation legal services to low–income people or entities, or in participating regularly in pro bono clinics.
Nominations for both awards must be received by October 10. Submissions for the Presidents’ Award should include a one– to two–page statement describing the nominee, his or her work, and the reasons the nominee should receive the award. If possible, include the nominee’s résumé or curriculum vitae, or a general outline of his or her recent career. Nominations should be sent to WCL President Golda Philip at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions for the Pro Bono Service Award should include both the nominator’s and nominee’s contact information, including position title, agency name and division (if applicable), regular mail and e–mail addresses, and phone numbers. Submissions should also state the nominating person’s relationship to the nominee.
Nominations should include a description of the program or services upon which the nomination is based; the number of attorneys or other staff persons who participated and, if applicable, the clientele served; and the period covered by the pro bono activities. A description of the impact of the nominee’s work on the client(s), the community, or the agency should also be included. For nominations of individuals, attach a résumé if possible. E–mail Pro Bono Service Award nominations to WCL Executive Director Nancy Lopez at NALopez@wclawyers.org.
The WCL awards reception will be held at Arnold & Porter LLP, 555 12th Street NW, with Harold Koh, legal adviser to the U.S. Department of State, as keynote speaker.—K.A.
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 the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and 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 onsite fee is $279. Upcoming dates are October 16, November 17, and December 11. Advanced registration is encouraged.
For more information or to register online, visit www.dcbar.org/mandatorycourse.
Leventhal Lecture Tackles Legal Implications of Climate Change
Climate change is a hot button issue today, but will it continue to affect the legal industry a hundred years down the road? According to Professor Richard J. Pierce Jr. of The George Washington University School of Law, the answer is yes.
Pierce, who delivered this year's Harold Leventhal Lecture on August 22, spoke about the legal implications of climate change, focusing on the potential ways to alleviate the problem. "The task of effectively mitigating climate change is somewhere between extremely difficult and impossible," said Pierce at the beginning of the program. The biggest obstacles are political and economic, which are deeply intertwined.
Over the years several potential methods to mitigate climate change have been proposed, among them a carbon tax, litigation, regulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act, smart energy meters and real-time electricity pricing, mandatory efficiency requirements, subsidies and mandates for renewable fuels, using gas instead of coal, and reducing black carbon and methane emissions. Of these options, Pierce advocates for a carbon tax, noting that it is the "most effective and least expensive method of mitigation."
"There is an obvious impediment to a carbon tax that is high enough to be effective … a public aversion to taxes. That word is not a big seller at the moment. The U.S. now has one political party that says ‘I don’t want to tax anyone anywhere,’ and another that says 'I only want to tax millionaires, billionaires, and big oil companies,'" Pierce said. "A carbon tax would be paid by everyone." Implementing a carbon tax, however, would likely have to wait until global economies stabilize.
Pierce said developing countries play a key role in reducing climate change, but pointed out that until the United States adopts a method of its own, such as imposing a carbon tax, it will continue to lack credibility among and the ability to negotiate with other nations.
"Whatever path we take to address climate change, there is no doubt that climate change will be a dominant factor in the world of law for the foreseeable future," concluded Pierce. "Every lawyer in the country will encounter climate change and its legal implications in myriad contexts for at least a century."
The luncheon program was held in the ceremonial courtroom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It was sponsored by the D.C. Bar Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section and cosponsored by the Corporation, Finance and Securities Law Section; Family Law Section; International Law Section; Law Practice Management Section; Litigation Section; Taxation Section; and Tort Law Section.—T.L.
Study: Superior Court’s Community Court Cuts Recidivism by 60 Percent
The Superior Court of the District of Columbia’s East of the River Community Court (ERCC) has reduced recidivism by as much as 60 percent, according to a study by Westat, Inc. released in August.
The study tracked 4,046 defendants who entered the ERCC from 2007 to 2009, examining the rate of their successful completion of ERCC programs and their reoffending activity in D.C. and Maryland about a year later. Of those defendants, 21 percent participated in at least one of the ERCC diversion programs, out of which approximately 60 percent successfully completed their program. Nine percent of those who entered the ERCC were sent to other problem–solving courts, and 70 percent either opted out of or were not offered diversion programs or treatment courts.
The study also compared the defendants who successfully completed their ERCC diversion programs to a similar group of defendants in the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Fifth District. While their cases were ongoing, defendants participating in an ERCC diversion program were 60 percent less likely to reoffend compared to the MPD Fifth District defendants, and were 42 percent less likely to reoffend 12 months after their case is closed.
"When we saw the preliminary results of the study, we knew that we had to expand the community court to all neighborhoods in the city. This approach reduces recidivism, makes our neighborhoods safer, provides communities with restitution for the damage done, and helps address the underlying problems that cause defendants’ criminal behavior," D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield said in a press release.
The ERCC was created in 2002 as a pilot community court in response to high levels of poverty, crime, and disorder in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. It adjudicates all misdemeanor cases, except those involving domestic violence, in the MPD’s Sixth and Seventh districts (Wards 7 and 8).
In 2010 the Superior Court commissioned Westat to conduct the study to determine the effectiveness of the ERCC. Based on the success of the ERCC, Judge Satterfield expanded the community court program to all eight wards (seven police districts) of the city in January this year.
"We were pleased to be able to expand this approach to communities throughout the city and help reduce low-level crimes. Superior Court is part of this community and our role is not just to process cases, but to dispense justice in a way that improves the quality of life for all D.C. residents," Satterfield said.
Community courts act as an alternative to traditional case processing and offer defendants with minor offenses the opportunity to participate in diversion programs where they perform community service. These programs also try to address the underlying causes of crime such as homelessness, drug addiction, joblessness, and mental illness.
Bar Members Get Access to New Liability Coverage Option
USI Affinity, the D.C. Bar’s endorsed lawyers professional liability (LPL) broker, now offers a new liability coverage option for Bar members.
Through its Lawyers Professional Complete Program, USI Affinity offers Bar members access to insurance and benefit solutions not available to the general public. The program, which covers law practices of all sizes, provides comprehensive protection and affordable rates, limits of liability up to $10 million for qualified firms, and a number of available coverage enhancements. The new option is also backed by an A–rated insurance company.
"We are very excited to bring this new insurance offering to legal professionals in D.C. and the surrounding area. As the endorsed broker for the D.C. Bar, it is our goal to provide Bar members the best products and the very best possible service and guidance with their insurance decisions," said Arnie Kaplan, president of USI Affinity’s Professional Insurance Solutions Group. "We are already having good success this year in the D.C. area with the new program, saving firms at least 10 [percent] on their LPL coverage and often improving their protection at that same time."
For more information, contact USI Affinity at 855-874-0100 and enter 706 when prompted for your PIN code. Bar members can also send an e–mail to LPLCoverage@usiaffinity.com or visit www.mybarinsurance.com/dcbar.—K.A.
Council for Court Excellence Updates ‘Victim’s Guide’
The Council for Court Excellence has updated its booklet "A Victim’s Guide to the D.C. Criminal Justice System," which was last published in 2002.
The booklet outlines the steps involved in bringing a case to trial and the victim’s role in it, and it explains how the courts, defense, police, and prosecution work.
Booklets are distributed at libraries and at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia; they also can be viewed online at www.courtexcellence.org.—K.A.
Husch Blackwell Raises Starting Salaries for Associates in 8 Offices
In September Husch Blackwell LLP raised the starting salaries for associates at eight of its offices nationwide, including Washington, D.C.
"To effectively serve our great clients, we must also consistently attract and retain top talent. Toward that end, we regularly review associate salaries. Recently we determined that we needed to raise starting salaries in certain markets to assure that our compensation for associates is competitive," said Greg Smith, chief executive officer and managing partner at the firm, in a press release. "We have always been committed to attracting and keeping the very best talent, and these salary adjustments help to ensure our continued top performance for clients."
Sixteen recent law school graduates started at Husch Blackwell in September.
Associate compensation is also being evaluated firm–wide, and some associates will receive market increases. At its D.C. office, the starting salary for an associate rose to $150,000, one of the largest salary adjustments among the eight offices.
Like many firms, Husch Blackwell was affected by the recession, and in 2009 it lowered starting associate salaries in four of its markets and froze salary levels at the rest of its offices.
"The time is now right to step up our commitment to top talent. We're energized about our future, one that depends on our people, and we consider this an investment in our future," said Smith.
Other Husch Blackwell offices that saw an increase in starting salaries were Chattanooga and Memphis in Tennessee; Chicago; Kansas City and St. Louis in Missouri; Omaha, Nebraska; and Phoenix, Arizona.—K.A.
Kenyan Chief Justice Willy Mutunga (right) talks with Mark Bellamy, former U.S. ambassador to Kenya who recently stepped down as director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, at a reception held in September by the American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights and Steptoe & Johnson LLP to honor Mutunga. In his remarks, Mutunga talked about how the ABA and American lawyers have supported Kenyan attorneys and advocates working for democracy and rule of law in his country.—K.A.
Zuckerman Spaeder Starts Employment Disputes Blog
Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is examining issues that arise in disputes between companies and their senior executives in its new blog Suits by Suits at www.suitsbysuits.com.
"Our aim in launching Suits by Suits is to illuminate current issues involving … an area that has escaped the attention of other blogs on litigation and employment law. Our goal is to make this subject matter accessible and entertaining for both lawyers [and] readers without a legal background," said Ellen D. Marcus, a partner at the firm and contributing editor of the blog.
Fellow Zuckerman Spaeder attorneys Jason M. Knott, William A. Schreiner Jr., and P. Andrew Torrez also are contributing editors of Suits by Suits. The blog covers recent court cases and overlooked aspects of employee–employer disputes, particularly those involving high–level executives.
Blog topics include litigation over employment contracts, golden parachute agreements, severance and non–compete agreements, stock and other compensation plans, and issues related to executives’ fiduciary duties, indemnification, and directors’ and officers’ insurance. Contract and common law disputes as well as federal and state labor, antitrust, and nondiscrimination laws relevant to the executive–employment context are also explored in the blog.
"By concentrating on disputes involving companies and their top executives, Suits by Suits provides timely, insightful, and engaging analysis of the key issues at the heart of such sorts of conflicts," said firm chair and managing partner Graeme W. Bush. "The blog enables us to demonstrate and share the firm’s experience—not only in litigating disputes between top–level executives and companies but also in counseling companies and executives about how best to avoid disputes or work them out without having to resort to costly and protracted lawsuits—while at the same time educating readers on important and often subtle aspects of the intersection between litigation and employment law."
The blog’s contributing editors have extensive experience representing plaintiffs and defendants in complex civil litigation involving companies and corporate executives, as well as on issues that often arise in such disputes.—K.A.