Bar Inaugurates Timothy K. Webster at Celebration of Leadership
June 18, 2015
On June 16 outgoing Bar president Brigida Benitez passed the gavel to Timothy K. Webster, a partner at Sidley Austin LLP, as he was sworn in as the 44th president of the D.C. Bar during the 2015 Celebration of Leadership. In addition to welcoming a new president, the Bar recognized outstanding individuals and programs in the District’s legal community.
In his opening remarks after taking the oath, Webster spoke about his charge as Bar president. “I’ll let [you] in on a little secret—being Bar president is not all christening ships and kissing babies,” he told the audience. “The fundamental work of the president is stewarding the unceasing process of change, both within the Bar . . . and the profession.”
Webster will pick up where Benitez left off by working together with the Bar’s Board of Governors to implement the strategic plans of both the Bar and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center.
In addition, Webster plans to oversee the completion of the work of the Global Legal Practice Task Force, which was initiated by Benitez. The task force was formed to explore the increasing globalization of the profession, including foreign lawyers interested in practicing in the District and Bar members interested in practicing abroad.
Finally, Webster will focus on the D.C. Bar sections by forming two working groups: One will explore how best to enhance the experience of section members, and the other will examine the sections leadership structure to assess leadership as an indirect means to drive member value.
The night also featured the Presidents’ Reception welcoming Webster and raising money for the Pro Bono Center. The reception, which annually generates more than one-third of the Pro Bono Center’s budget, raised $842,000. The funds will go to programs that provide legal assistance to economically disadvantaged residents in the District.
“Working together, we enable thousands of lawyers to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty in our community,” Benitez said at the reception. “Funds are so critical, but they are not enough. Your pro bono service and the services of so many of your colleagues are the pride of Washington.”
The evening also included the presentation of the Bar’s annual awards. The William J. Brennan Jr. Award went to James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation, for his commitment to the pursuit of equal justice and opportunity for all Americans. The Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service was presented to Daniel L. Koffsky, deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, for his dedication to public service and contributions to the legal profession.
The Bar also presented the D.C. Bar Administrative Law and Agency Practice Section with the Section of the Year Award; Dennis Lane of Stinson Leonard Street LLP and Gary Thompson of Reed Smith LLP with the Laura N. Rinaldi Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award; Covington & Burling LLP with the Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award; and the 16th Annual Youth Law Fair with the Frederick B. Abramson Award.