Washington Lawyer

Legal Beat

From Washington Lawyer, February 2008

By Julie Reynolds and Kathryn Alfisi

Brookins-Hudson Garners Rosenberg
Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, an attorney who has dedicated nearly 30 years of service to local and federal government, has been selected as the recipient of the 2008 Beatrice Rosenberg Award for Excellence in Government Service by the District of Columbia Bar.

brookins-hudsonThe award will be presented during the 2008 Judicial and Bar Conference on April 11. “I am proud and honored to have been a government lawyer for 30 years and to be named as the 2008 recipient of the award. Beatrice Rosenberg was a government lawyer … [and] I have tried to model my government service after her and many other lawyers like her,” says Brookins-Hudson.

The award is presented annually to a D.C. Bar member who personifies excellence in government service. In keeping with the exceptional accomplishments of Ms. Rosenberg, nominees should have demonstrated outstanding professional judgment throughout long-term government careers, worked intentionally to share their expertise as a mentor to younger government lawyers, and devoted significant personal energies to public or community service.

Brookins-Hudson served as the general counsel for the Council of the District of Columbia from 1995 until her retirement in January 2007. In 1991 she began her 16-year career with the Office of General Counsel as deputy general counsel/legislative counsel and went on to become the first general counsel to serve more than four terms. In 1995 she created the newsletter, Legalese, which provides insight into the legislative practice of law.

Before going to work for the D.C. Council, Brookins-Hudson served as assistant corporation counsel at the Office of the Corporation Counsel (now the Office of the Attorney General), and worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor. She has served as visiting lecturer on the legislative process at the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law and is a visiting professor of the Legislation Clinic for the spring semester.

Brookins-Hudson, a graduate of Northwestern University and Georgetown University Law Center, is involved in various community service activities and serves as senior strategy advisor for Pre-K for All DC, a public education and advocacy campaign. —K.A.

Sections Office Seeks Volunteers for Events in February, March
The D.C. Bar Sections Office is recruiting volunteers for events taking place in February and March.

The Intellectual Property Section needs judges to assist with the annual science fair at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. The fair will run from 8:30 a.m. to approximately 1 p.m. on February 28.

A science background is helpful but not necessary to participate. In March, various sections will participate in the production of the Ninth Annual Youth Law Fair.

The fair consists of students from local junior and senior high schools and teaches them about the legal system. The fair’s showcase event is a series of mock trials that bring together students and volunteer attorneys to analyze the legal ramifications of a fictional fact pattern. Students serve as prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges, and jury members, under the guidance of D.C. Bar members and Superior Court judges.

The Youth Law Fair will be held at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., on March 8.

For more information or to volunteer for these events, contact the D.C. Bar Sections Office at 202-626-3463 or sections@dcbar.org. —J.R.

lawyers_ committeeLawyers’ Committee Celebrates Work of Civil Rights Advocates
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law held its annual awards presentation on December 10, where it recognized the outstanding contributions of civil rights lawyers and the law firm of DLA Piper US LLP.

The Lawyers’ Committee was created in 1963 at the request of President Kennedy. It was tasked with the mission of fighting racial discrimination through the rule of law.

One lawyer who has dedicated his life to that mission is Clarence Dunnaville Jr., who received the Segal-Tweed Founders Award in recognition of his long-term commitment to civil rights.

In the 1950s Dunnaville began his involvement with the civil rights movement as an activist while attending college. In 1967 he served as a volunteer attorney for the Lawyers’ Committee in Jackson, Mississippi. Dunnaville also was appointed assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of New York by President Kennedy, and he cofounded the Oliver White Hill Foundation, which helps develop a new generation of civil rights attorneys.

For its pro bono contributions to the Lawyers’ Committee, DLA Piper US LLP received the Robert F. Mullen Pro Bono Award.

The firm contributed more than $1 million in pro bono assistance to the Lawyers’ Committee in 2006 and has participated in the organization’s Federal Emergency Management Agency Appeals Project and Election Protection efforts.

Constance Talmage was honored with the Edwin D. Wolf Award for her work as executive director of the Colorado Lawyers’ Committee, which has seen its number of volunteers triple under her leadership.

The Frank R. Parker Client Award was presented to Jather Whetstone and Conrad Scales, who were among the plaintiffs represented by lawyers from the Lawyers’ Committee (and several law firms) in a racial discrimination lawsuit against Tyson Foods, Inc.

The plaintiffs worked at a Tyson Foods plant in Ashland, Alabama, where African American workers routinely were subjected to racial harassment and retaliation, including the posting of a “whites only” sign on a bathroom door.

In 2006 the company submitted to a three-year consent decree that included substantial injunctive relief.

The final honor, the Whitney North Seymour Award, was presented to John Skilton, a shareholder at Heller Ehrman LLP and cochair of the Lawyers’ Committee’s board of directors.

Skilton has prepared amicus briefs in the United States Supreme Court case involving the affirmative action policy at the University of Michigan, established the Supreme Court Task Force, and helped achieve a settlement in the Pitt v. City of Portsmouth case involving discriminatory housing practices. —K.A.

District Court Seeks Nominations for Gribbon Pro Bono Award
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia is seeking nominations for the third annual Daniel M. Gribbon Pro Bono Advocacy Award.

Gribbon practiced law for more than 50 years with Covington & Burling LLP. The award honors Gribbon’s commitment to, and support of, pro bono legal services. Award nominees may be firms or individuals who have shown distinguished advocacy in pro bono matters before the district court, concluding between July 1, 2006, and December 31, 2007.

Nominations for last year’s award may be resubmitted provided the matter falls within the relevant time period. Self-nominations also are permitted.

Nominations must be in writing and not exceed six pages. They may include a brief description of the pro bono matter—no more than two pages—and letters of support. However, no pleadings or court filings may be included in the nomination package.

The two-page description of the pro bono matter must be received by noon on March 10. Letters of support must be received by noon on March 31.

Nomination materials may be submitted electronically to Scott A. Memmott at smemmott@sonnenschein.com. Alternatively, one original and 10 copies of the nomination may be sent to Scott A. Memmott, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, 1301 K Street NW, Suite 600, East Tower, Washington, DC 20005.

For further information about the award or the competition, contact Memmott at 202-408-9169.

The nominations process is being managed by the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services of the Judicial Conference of the District of Columbia Circuit. —J.R.

D.C. Bar Sections Announce Steering Committee Openings
The D.C. Bar Sections are seeking members interested in Steering Committee positions for all 21 sections. Section members wishing to be considered should submit a Candidate Interest Form and résumé to the Sections Office by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on February 7. Interest forms were sent by mail and also are available online.

Steering Committee vacancies are for three-year terms. Each section has either two or three available positions. The complete list of vacancies is located at www.dcbar.org/for_
lawyers/sections/ elections/vacancies.cfm.

The Sections’ Nominating Committees will consider all Candidate Interest Forms, seeking the best-qualified, diverse candidates. Two to three candidates will be chosen as nominees for each position. Previous leadership experience with voluntary bar associations or with the Bar’s sections is highly desirable.

The elections will take place in the spring of 2008, and the results announced in June. The winning candidates will assume their new Steering Committee roles on July 1, 2008.

For further information about the elections, visit www.dcbar.org/for_lawyers/sections/elections/index.cfm .—J.R.

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 District of Columbia practice offered by the D.C. Bar’s Continuing Legal Education Program.

D.C. Bar members who have been inactive, retired, or voluntarily resigned for five years or more are also 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 automatically suspends individuals who have not attended 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 course is $190. The next course dates are February 5, March 8, April 15, May 10, June 17, July 12, August 12, September 13, and October 7. Advanced registration is encouraged.

For more information or to register online, visit www.dcbar.org/mandatorycourse.

Three Local Law Students Receive 2008 Skadden Fellowships
Three graduating students from District of Columbia law schools have been awarded fellowships for 2008 from the Skadden Fellowship Foundation. Erin Schieck of the American University Washington College of Law and Thomas Smith and David Steib, both of the Georgetown University Law Center, will receive funding to enable their employment with public interest legal organizations.

Schieck and Steib will work for District-based organizations: Women Empowered Against Violence and the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, respectively. Smith will be employed by Greater Boston Legal Services in Massachusetts.

The Skadden Fellowship Foundation was established in 1988 for the purpose of funding graduating law students who are dedicated to public interest law. Fellows develop their own projects at their chosen public interest organizations. Fellowship awards are for one year with the expectation of renewal for another. Awardees receive a salary and fringe benefits and, if necessary, payment of the debt service for the tutition portion of their student loans for the fellowship’s duration.

For more information on the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, contact director Susan Butler Plum at 212-735-2956. —J.R.

Judge Smith Reid Among Olender Foundation Honorees
D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Inez Smith Reid and the public interest law firm Public Justice were among the honorees at the 22nd annual awards of the Olender Foundation on December 5 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

Judge Smith Reid received the Hero in the Law Award for her years of service on the bench and in the community.

The Champion of Justice Awards went to two advocacy organizations—Public Justice (formerly Trial Lawyers for Public Justice), which deals with litigation involving issues such as consumers’ rights, the environment, civil rights and liberties, and workers’ rights, and Public Citizen, a public interest watchdog group created by Ralph Nader.

The foundation presented its Unsung Hero Award to Ryan Kules, who lost his left leg and right arm in 2005 as an Army captain in Iraq. Kules is active in the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that helps seriously wounded veterans transition to civilian life.

The Olender Foundation is a nonprofit organization that seeks to counter poverty and violence and promote education and equal justice through its support of local and national organizations. The foundation is headed by attorney Jack Olender and his wife, Lovell.

Julie Reynolds and Kathryn Alfisi are staff writers with the D.C. Bar. They can be reached by e-mail at jreynolds@dcbar.org and kalfisi@dcbar.org.