Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 28

Many Americans remember the Reagan era fondly
as a time of prosperity, compassion, and strength.
But the decade was a challenging time for public
interest lawyers and activists working on behalf
of minorities, women, and poor people, according
to Maureen Thornton Syracuse, who served as
executive director of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center
in 1992-2011.
"The election [of Reagan] changed everything,"
Syracuse says. "It was a real attack on the social
safety net for low-income people and on civil
rights."

"

Democrats were
not exactly sanguine
about a Reagan
appointee; nevertheless, there was a lot
of cheering among
women lawyers when
Justice O'Connor
was nominated. She
brought a perspective
that was previously
missing on the Court.
JAMIE S. GORELICK
D.C. Bar President, 1992-93

"

Meanwhile, the legal industry underwent its own
changes as more and more lawyers entered the
market. Locally, the D.C. Bar experienced growing
pains as it struggled to define its mission.
"There were questions about how active the Bar
should be in the name of its members, and how
much of the dues should support such advocacy,"
says Jamie S. Gorelick, D.C. Bar president in 1992-93
and chair of WilmerHale LLP's regulatory and government affairs department.

LAWYERS, STRESS
& ALCOHOL
For lawyers in the D.C. area, the '80s was a decade
of shifting job opportunities. In a market tightly
linked to the federal government, Democratic
lawyers were out, and Republican lawyers had
administration positions from which to choose.
"It was a long Democratic drought," says Gorelick,
adding that the Reagan administration's emphasis

on deregulation also forced some lawyers in the
D.C. area to reinvent themselves.
"There was a strong reaction against the regulatory
impulses of the Carter administration, so there were
many changes in how much the government regulated industries," Gorelick says. "This led to a change
in the legal profession. For example, the antitrust
practice in Washington, which had been quite
robust in the 1970s, shrank in the 1980s. Many
people had to recycle themselves into other areas."
But Reagan wasn't the only catalyst for change in
the legal industry in the 1980s. Lawyers coped with
increased competition as new lawyers flooded the
market. At the start of the decade, there were
574,810 lawyers in the United States. By the end
of decade, there were 725,579 lawyers, according
to the American Bar Association.
In addition, the legal industry's methods of doing
business morphed over the decade. Where lawyers
once worked in small to mid-size general practice
firms, now they congregated in larger firms.
Lawyers also were increasingly expected to develop
an area of expertise.
The 1980s also brought a raised awareness of the
level of alcohol addiction in this country, specifically
among lawyers. In June of 1981, the D.C. Bar's Board
of Governors established a special committee to
develop and implement a program aimed at
helping lawyers struggling with alcohol addiction.
Four years later, the Bar established a program, now
called the Lawyer Assistance Program, to help
lawyers cope with alcoholism. The free, confidential
program is still available to lawyers, judges, and law

1989
Judge Robert Bork is sworn in to testify
before the Senate Judiciary Committee
on his nomination to be a Supreme
Court justice.

George H. W. Bush begins serving as
the 41st U.S. president.

1986
The Washington Legal Clinic for the
Homeless is founded through the
support of the D.C. Bar and D.C. Bar
Foundation.

1987
President Reagan nominates Robert
Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court; U.S.
Senate rejects nomination.
28 WASHINGTON LAWYER

* JULY 2017 *

Jamie S. Gorelick, courtesy of the D.C. Bar; Robert Bork, Wally McNamee/Corbis
Historical/Getty Images; George H. W. Bush, David Hume Kennerly/Archive
Images/Getty Images; Marcia D. Greenberger, Patrice Gilbert Photography;
WBA members, courtesy of Katherine A. Mazzaferri


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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