News

The D.C. Bar Says Goodbye to Monika Kalra Varma

September 16, 2016

Monika Kalra VarmaMonika Kalra Varma, executive director of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, is relocating to California.

Prior to joining the Pro Bono Center, Varma served as legal officer at the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal and was the director of the Center for Human Rights at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (renamed Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights). Varma also received the South Asian Bar Association's 2016 Public Interest Achievement Award for her work on human rights and social justice issues.

"In her five years as executive director, Monika has taken the Pro Bono Center to the next level. Under her leadership, revenue has increased by over 20 percent and she embarked on the first strategic assessment since 1993, resulting in a roadmap and strategic priorities for the Center," said Katherine A. Mazzaferri, chief executive officer of the D.C. Bar. "Most importantly, under Monika's guidance, the Pro Bono Center continued to develop innovative initiatives to leverage the tremendous D.C. pro bono culture to serve our low-income community in the most impactful ways possible." 

Varma has been a truly visionary leader—leadership that will be missed.

"Monika inspires everyone around her—her staff, volunteers, legal services providers, and donors—to give more of themselves, to be better and to continue to deliver a higher quality and quantity of critical legal services to our most vulnerable residents of the District," said Amy L. Bess, who serves as chair of the Pro Bono Committee under Varma's leadership. "She will be sorely missed, but will leave the Pro Bono Center a stronger and more relevant organization that is better equipped to tackle the challenges of the future than when she came on board five years ago."

The D.C. Bar thanks Varma for her service to the Washington, D.C., community. Monika will be working as a consultant and exploring starting a new nonprofit organization after serving five years with the Bar. The D.C. Bar family wishes her great success in her new venture.