Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 13

Note: Federal government attorneys volunteer
in their individual capacities only, not as
representatives of their respective agencies.

By Sarah Kellogg

P

ro bono service is deeply
embedded in the legal
profession in the United
States, from Big Law to solo
practices to federal agencies.
The work is more passion than
occupation, an inclination
toward public service, whether
an attorney counsels a nonprofit
organization, a fledgling small
business, or a vulnerable
individual in need of legal help.

Former D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center executive director Maureen Thornton Syracuse with federal
pro bono work pioneers Daniel F. Collopy (center) and John C. Cruden.

"Fundamentally, being a lawyer is a profession
and not a business," says Greg F. Jacob, the
former U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) solicitor
who was instrumental in building out the Federal
Government Pro Bono Program. "Your work ends
up having an impact on people's lives, and many
lawyers have a desire to make the world a better
place. Pro bono is an extension of that."

"I was raised with a strong sense of obligation to
the community," says Keveney, acting deputy
general counsel at the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services. "It's what drove me
to enter public service and has kept me there.
I've also felt that being a government employee
doesn't fully satisfy my obligation to serve, and
that's where my pro bono work comes in."

"I feel really lucky that I'm able to merge my professional work with my professional passion," says
Laura F. Klein, chair of the Federal Government
Pro Bono Program and manager of the U.S.
Department of Justice's Pro Bono Program.
"I truly believe that everyone should have access
to justice. How much you can pay should not
determine your ability to protect yourself legally,
whether it's from an eviction or a child custody
battle. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law,
but we have to make sure everyone has equal
access to the protections of the law."

Keveney is one of thousands of attorneys
employed by the federal government who
have volunteered with the D.C. Bar Pro Bono
Center and other legal services providers. They
offer their time and expertise to pro bono
clients who have housing, probate, family,
guardianship, and personal injury cases,
among others.

Whether securing a temporary restraining
order to prevent an eviction or resolving child
custody issues in a divorce, federal attorney
Sean R. Keveney thinks of his pro bono work
as community service, with the chief benefit
of helping his clients find justice.
LEFT: Federal

*
Faced with strict federal rules and directives
- and fewer resources than those in private
law firms - government attorneys like Keveney
regularly volunteer their services at brief advice
legal clinics and in direct representation.
"You encounter altruistic, good-hearted people
every day in my job," says Klein. "Government
attorneys do this on their own time. They're not
going to get any credit for it. They're doing it as
a community service."

Government Pro Bono Program Chair Laura F. Klein.

Federal attorneys have
populated countless
clinics and represented
thousands of people in
the last 25 years.

Today, some 50 federal departments and
agencies are part of the Federal Government
Pro Bono Program, which operates out of the
Justice Department and administers government-wide pro bono activities not only in
Washington, D.C., but also in Chicago, New York
City, San Francisco, Denver, and Dallas. In most
agencies, a pro bono coordinator works with
a committee to oversee the process and
recruit volunteers.
That this human resource went untapped -
or severely underutilized - for many years is
unfortunate, say observers. Federal attorneys in
Washington, D.C., number in the tens of thousands, and their service through the Pro Bono
Center and other legal services providers is
essential to help address the access-to-justice
crisis in the region.

A WEALTH OF TALENT
Initially, large law firms were the main source
of attorney volunteers for the D.C. Bar Pro
Bono Center and other local legal aid providers.
Many District-based firms had a history of pro
bono work, and they used it as a factor in
personnel evaluations and associate recruitment efforts. Furthermore, ABA Model Rule

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019

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WASHINGTON LAWYER

13



Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Going Above and Beyond feature
On Safer Ground feature
Casa Ruby Profile
Pro Bono Effect
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Going Above and Beyond feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - On Safer Ground feature
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 22
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Casa Ruby Profile
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 28
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 30
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 34
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 36
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 38
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 46
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2019 - Cover4
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