Bar Leaders Establish Mazzaferri Emerging Legal Needs Fund in Honor of Outgoing CEO

By Tracy Schorn

January 26, 2017



Retiring D.C. Bar CEO Katherine Mazzaferri was celebrated January 25 for her 35 years of service with the establishment of a pro bono fund named in her honor.

Mazzaferri, who plans to retire in April, was surprised with the announcement at a small fete at Sidley Austin LLP, where former Bar president Tim Webster presented her with an oversized check payable to the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center for $105,000. The amount was raised from about 50 donors, including friends and colleagues of Mazzaferri, among them past presidents of the D.C. Bar and other current and former Bar leaders.

 Tim Webster surprises Katherine Mazzaferri with check“This is an incredible gift,” said Mazzaferri. “I’m surprised and touched.” By the end of the celebration, the fund had increased even more to $107,000.

The Mazzaferri Emerging Legal Needs Fund is a permanent, dedicated-use fund that will help the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center meet the expanding needs for legal services in the D.C. community. It honors Mazzaferri’s “extraordinary contributions to the District of Columbia legal community and the Pro Bono Center, which she has championed during its evolution over the past three decades.” The Center serves nearly 20,000 D.C. residents, local nonprofit organizations, and small businesses annually.

In addition to Webster, former Bar presidents Brigida Benitez, Kim Keenan, John W. Nields Jr., Stephen Pollak, and James J. Sandman had spearheaded the effort to create the special fund named for Mazzaferri, soliciting contributions from an initial group of her friends and Bar leaders. Donations ranged from $250 to $10,000.

“Her service knows no bounds,” said Sandman. Her leadership has “safeguarded the reputation of the D.C. Bar.”

Pollak, who served on the first D.C. Bar Board of Governors in 1972, said “the single best decision” he made in his 45 years as a volunteer with the Bar was “the selection of Katherine Mazzaferri as executive director.”

Upon presenting her with the check, Webster compared Mazzaferri’s excellence and long career run to that of Cal Ripken’s. He also noted that Mazzaferri doesn’t like surprises, but they made an exception.

“You got me,” laughed Mazzaferri. “I'm touched and honored by the creation of this fund. Thank you.”

For more information on the Mazzaferri Emerging Legal Needs Fund and how you can donate, contact Angela Boone, development manager, D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, at 202-942-9759 or [email protected].