Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 29

FEATURE

GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
By Debra Bruno

veryone has a story about James Sandman.
What's unusual, though, is that the former head
of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), the
largest funder of civil legal aid programs in the
United States, is not the sort of person to seek out
the spotlight. In this world of braggadocio, we have
become almost immune to the self-promoting leaders
who seek to shine favorable light on themselves.
But face to face, Sandman, 68, is as low-key and unassuming as a tax
accountant.
That is, until he starts talking about the issue most dear to him: the
enormous gaps in legal representation in civil matters. Thanks to shows
like Law & Order, most people assume every American has the right to
a lawyer. That's only true in criminal cases.
When he's speaking before an audience, Sandman's voice takes on a
quaver. He speaks without notes and his blue eyes seek out individual
faces. He quotes Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. He talks
about justice. "Legal aid is about health and food and subsistence," he
told an audience at the American Bar Association's annual conference
last year.
Giving poor people the same kind of legal representation that more comfortable Americans have, he says, "will cost money, lots of it." Sandman
pauses dramatically. "But don't let anyone, ever, tell you that we can't
afford it."
The federally funded budget for the LSC is less than the amount that
Americans spend every year on Halloween costumes for their pets, he
says. As the audience chuckles uncomfortably, Sandman frowns.

Photos: Patrice Gilbert Photography

And with that, one can begin to understand just how anyone who has
had any amount of sustained contact with Sandman might have a story or
two to tell.
Philip Horton, a recently retired partner at Arnold & Porter where Sandman
worked for 30 years, 10 of them as managing partner, tells this one. When
Horton heard Sandman was leaving the corporate firm to take a job as
general counsel for the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS), he
picked up the phone and told Sandman, "Have you lost your mind? This
is the toughest legal job in America." Sandman took the job.
Finnegan partner Esther H. Lim remembers turning to Sandman, a former
president of the D.C. Bar, for advice on whether she should consider
running for Bar president. "He laughed out loud," she recalls. "He said,
'The answer is yes,' and then he went on to explain why I should run."
Lim asked Sandman to introduce her as a prospective candidate. First,
though, Sandman insisted on sitting down with her to get to know her a
little more. "I was crying on his sofa," Lim says. "I started telling him about
the importance of mentors in my life, random strangers who took a
chance on me and gave me opportunities."
LSC Chair John Levi recalls that after Sandman flew out to Chicago
to interview for the job of LSC president, he was so convinced that
Sandman would be the perfect pick that he used a flight tracking service
so he could call Sandman the minute his plane landed and make the
offer. "I just wanted to make sure he knew how much we wanted him,"
Levi says.
Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C.
Circuit, has known Sandman for 40 years, starting from when they both
practiced law at Arnold & Porter. In a speech honoring Sandman on his
retirement as chair of the D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference Committee on
Pro Bono Legal Services, Garland reminded the audience that Sandman's
work as a member of the committee "to ensure the provision of legal
services for the poor comes on top of his full-time job, which is - wait
for it - to ensure the provision of legal services for the poor."

JUNE 2020

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 29



Washington Lawyer - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2020

YOUR VOICE
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
ON FURTHER REVIEW
THE LEARNING CURVE
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - YOUR VOICE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE LEARNING CURVE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover4
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com