Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 14

The Bar's strategic planning efforts have set
the stage for ongoing growth, and the planned
move to its new headquarters in 2018 will
further enhance opportunities.
The Bar membership's dedication to community
service is best exemplified by the D.C. Bar Pro Bono
Center. Through the Pro Bono Center, the Bar
served almost 17,000 D.C. residents last year.
Established in 1998 as a separate but affiliated nonprofit legal services organization, the Pro Bono
Center is supported by voluntary contributions
from D.C. Bar members and local law firms. The
Center provides low-income residents with full
representation by lawyer volunteers in family,
housing, consumer, public benefits, and health care
access matters. It also holds Saturday neighborhood
advice and referral clinics, serves pro se litigants at
three D.C. Superior Court resource centers, provides
pro bono counsel and legal training for nonprofits
and small businesses, and operates a legal information telephone help line and a self-help website for
people unable to pay for the legal help they need.
"There are a lot of legal services providers in D.C.,
but what distinguishes the Pro Bono Center is the
way it motivates and leverages the large number
of private attorneys and government attorneys
to donate their services," says Timothy Webster, a
partner at Sidley Austin LLP and past president of
the Bar. "It literally leverages a very small paid staff
to provide thousands and thousands of hours of
pro bono services through the legal community."
Supported by more than 1,500 volunteers, dozens
of law firms, and many federal government
agencies each year, the Pro Bono Center operates
clinics that help families avoid eviction, assist
parents to secure custody of their children, and help
individuals access health care, appeal disability and
social security decisions, file for bankruptcy protection, defend against personal injury claims, and
more.
To continue its pioneering work, the Pro Bono
Center paralleled the Bar's strategic planning
process with its own. It established a strategic
framework for how best to sustain its commitment
to providing legal services to the D.C. community.
"The Pro Bono Center did its own strategic plan to
look at how it's going to focus . . . on the areas of
most need," says Katherine A. Mazzaferri, who
retired in April as the Bar's chief executive officer
after 35 years of service. She says the Bar was

14

WASHINGTON LAWYER

* JULY 2017 *

looking to fill gaps where other groups couldn't.
"It is always a challenge to serve as many people as
you can."
The direct legal services provided by the Pro Bono
Center complement the critical efforts of the D.C.
Bar Foundation (DCBF), which distributes public and
private dollars to underwrite legal services for the
poor and to offset law school loans for attorneys
working with nonprofit organizations that provide
direct civil legal services to low-income
D.C. residents.
"The Foundation raises money from individuals
and law firms, and it is the largest grantor for legal
services in the District," says Mazzaferri. "It's a very
important player in this legal community."
Since its inception, the DCBF's DC Legal Services
Grants Program has leveraged private dollars to
provide more than $25 million in unrestricted
support to D.C. legal aid organizations to cover
operating expenses. These grants are underwritten
by private contributions and revenue received
through the District's Interest on Lawyers' Trust
Accounts (IOLTA) Program. The funds help D.C.
residents to address civil legal problems affecting
their basic needs.
The DCBF's Access to Justice grants ($4.5 million
to 33 recipients in 2017) are funded by the District
of Columbia Office of Victim Services and Justice
Grants and support three categories of assistance:
a shared legal services interpreter bank, underserved areas in D.C., and housing-related matters.
The DCBF also runs two loan repayment assistance
programs, funded by public and private dollars, to
help qualified attorneys working with indigent
clients to repay their student loans.

BUILDING COMMUNITIES,
MAKING CONNECTIONS
When it comes to connections, the Bar's 20
Communities, previously known as Sections, have
been an incomparable avenue for the Bar to ignite
networking and education. Their focus on a range
of practice areas, from criminal law and human rights
to environment, energy, and natural resources, have
fostered additional member interaction.

Each year Communities sponsor hundreds of lawrelated events and activities that offer lawyers
opportunities to network, be informed, and
become leaders in the Bar. In 2016 Communities
hosted 260 events that drew some 5,500
registrants.
"We have restructured the Sections into
Communities to maintain the practice areas, but to
make sure our members focus on their strengths,
which is the content," says Steward. "Our members
have told us they want us to provide more content,
and we can with our reconfigured Communities."
For any institution, 45 years would be a milestone.
As much as it is an occasion to celebrate the past, it
also is an opportunity to chart a path forward, say
Bar leaders. As the legal profession evolves in ways
that can only be imagined, the Bar will continue to
be both support and partner in those changes.
The Bar's strategic planning efforts have set the
stage for ongoing growth, and the planned move
to its new headquarters in 2018 will further enhance
opportunities. The Bar is envisioning its new home
- a 100,000-square-foot corner location in the
bustling Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood
- as a place for members to gather, network, and
learn. The state-of-the-art building will feature more
classrooms to accommodate programming, an
in-house production studio to expand the Bar's
capabilities in capturing events and member
knowledge and broadcasting them virtually to
members here and abroad, and member access
to additional space and valuable resources.
With four decades of work behind and potentially
exhilarating times ahead, the Bar is prepared for
what's next.
"I'm excited about our new headquarters and
what it means for the Bar," says Steward. "I hope
it becomes the gathering place we hope it to be,
a gathering place for the D.C. legal community, and
a gathering place for us to grow professionally and
personally."

Sarah Kellogg is a regular contributor to
Washington Lawyer.


http://www.dcbar.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - July 2017

Your Voice
From Our President
Calendar of Events
The Bar at 45
Annual Report 2016-17
1970s: Bar Beginnings
1980s: Reagan Reigns, Women Rise
1990s: Re-Envisioning & Expanding
2000s: Strength in the Face of Adversity
2010s: Solidifying the Bar's Future
The Founding of the D.C. Bar
A Conversation with Robert J. Spagnoletti
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 1
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 2
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 3
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 4
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 7
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 9
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 10
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 11
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 12
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 13
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - The Bar at 45
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Annual Report 2016-17
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 16
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 17
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 18
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 19
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 20
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 21
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 1970s: Bar Beginnings
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 23
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 24
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 25
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 1980s: Reagan Reigns, Women Rise
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 27
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 28
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 29
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 1990s: Re-Envisioning & Expanding
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 31
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 32
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 33
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 2000s: Strength in the Face of Adversity
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 35
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 36
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 37
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 2010s: Solidifying the Bar's Future
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 39
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 40
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 41
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - The Founding of the D.C. Bar
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 43
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 44
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 45
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - A Conversation with Robert J. Spagnoletti
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 47
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 48
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 49
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 51
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 53
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 55
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - Cover4
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