Washington Lawyer - July 2017 - 37

established the Hurricane Katrina Pro Bono Legal
Relief Project to help evacuees who were being
taken in by the city of Washington.
"We had 300 or 400 individuals that we were
providing legal service to who were in D.C.
from New Orleans. But we also reached out to
the bar of Louisiana, and for a while we were
actually running their web page out of D.C.
and that was wonderful because that allowed
people to communicate with one another,"
Cruden recalls.
Defaults in the subprime mortgage business
triggered a financial crisis and led to the
2007-08 recession, the worst economic
downturn in the United States since The Great
Depression of 1929. Its impact on the legal
profession would be profound.
"During and after the recession, big law firms
began to hire significantly fewer new associates," Sandman says. "They found their clients
were no longer willing to pay big-firm associate
rates to have lawyers do document review. And
when big law firms, which used to soak up
dozens of new lawyers every year, cut back, it
had a big impact. Associate salaries stagnated.
"That had a big impact on the profession. It
took several years, but the word eventually
spread down to the colleges that law school
was no longer the ticket that it used to be,
and that there were significant numbers of
lawyers graduating without jobs after having

I tried to do
" What
was bring attention

to the breadth and
depth of the legal
talent that we have
in our community,
regardless of identity
group.

"

MELVIN WHITE
First Openly Gay D.C. Bar President,
2007-08

Bar officers Cynthia D. Hill, Wilbur Smallwood, Katherine A. Mazzaferri, John Payton, Cynthia Kuhn, and
Charles Lorenzetti witnessed a rapidly growing and changing Bar during their tenures.

incurred substantial debt. Law school applications and enrollment plummeted. We continue
to see the effects of that a decade later,"
Sandman says.
The recession had another effect. Poverty
levels increased in the District as elsewhere,
and housing troubles rose for the city's residents. In 2005, after years of collaborative work
among judges and public interest lawyers, the
D.C. Access to Justice Commission was founded
to provide leadership and cohesion for the
District's legal services community.
Jack C. Keeney Jr., D.C. Bar president in
2004-05, recalls that time: "What I remember,
particularly during the years when I was president, was the Bar working very closely with
then Chief Judge Annice M. Wagner of the D.C.
Court of Appeals to formulate and then implement what became the D.C. Access to Justice
Commission.
"That was a very important institutional change as it
brought together not only the resources of the Bar
but the resources of the court and the resources of
the community to essentially have a practical impact
on obtaining lawyers and legal representation for
many of the D.C. residents who just had no chance of
getting legal representation," Keeney says.

the LGBTQ community gained greater acceptance
within the Bar and the legal profession. White, who
served as the first openly gay Bar president in
2007-08, did a lot of speaking and writing about
diversity. He reached out to demographic groups
among the voluntary bars, groups like GAYLAW,
and worked to bring people into Bar activities.
"What I tried to do was bring attention to the
breadth and depth of the legal talent that we have
in our community, regardless of identity group,"
White says. "I'm gay and I never thought about
being openly gay in my law firm. I thought that was
the worst thing that could happen. But around
2007, times changed. Society opened up and the
legal profession opened up. What that did was, it
just brought a flood of different kinds of attorneys
- more people - into the fold. All of that gave us
more people to help with our programs, to do pro
bono. Because when people feel that they are
included, they naturally give back."
Today, White sees frustration among younger
lawyers who "are upset by a lack of progress and
they are impatient" with a recent backlash against
gay rights, but he cautions, "where this movement
was 10 years ago, there's been a lot of progress. It's
been a rousing success. You keep moving, keep
working and persuade people, one by one."

PATH TO INCLUSION
Melvin White, a partner at Berliner Corcoran Rowe
LLP, recalls the decade of the 2000s as a period when

William Roberts is a regular contributor to Washington
Lawyer.

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

JULY 2017 37


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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