Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 55

THE PRO BONO EFFEC T

In the fall of 2019, the Pro Bono Center, the
Legal Aid Society, and DC Affordable Law Firm
partnered to form the Family Law Assistance
Network (FLAN) to provide on-site, limitedscope services in the Domestic Relations
Branch of D.C. Superior Court. The project
was in response to the D.C. Access to Justice
Commission's finding that 83 percent of plaintiffs and 93 percent of respondents in divorce,
custody, and miscellaneous cases appear pro se
in Family Court. This innovative program was
about to launch when the mayor declared the
public health emergency in March. We nevertheless forged ahead, knowing that the need
would not disappear during the pandemic and
could become more desperate. Working closely
with the court, the FLAN partners established a
phone line to connect litigants with emergency
family law matters to a FLAN attorney. FLAN
lawyers are now serving family law clients on
the phone and online, as well as appearing on
their behalf in emergency hearings conducted
remotely.
Small businesses and nonprofits in the District
also have been affected severely by the
pandemic, particularly black-owned small
businesses. The Pro Bono Center's Nonprofit
& Small Business Legal Assistance Programs
(NPSB) immediately rose to the challenge,
quickly offering new programs and taking
unprecedented steps to serve nonprofits and
small businesses on issues confronting them
in the wake of COVID-19. Within weeks of the
start of the crisis, NPSB:

legal alerts to help nonprofits and
*	 Created
small businesses understand D.C. legislation
and federal financial relief programs;

with law firm and commu*	 Innitycollaboration
partners, presented webinars on

Courtesy of Darren Skinner

Responding to concerns about the pandemic's
effect on tenants' ability to pay rent and the
likelihood that housing conditions will worsen
when landlords do not receive rent payments,
six legal services organizations - Bread for the
City, the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, the Legal Aid
Society of the District of Columbia, Legal
Counsel for the Elderly, Neighborhood Legal
Services Program, and Rising for Justice -
came together to answer calls in housing cases.
The partnership, called the Landlord Tenant
Legal Assistance Network, or LTLAN, launched
its live help services on June 1, using the same
line we established in March for Landlord
Tenant Resource Center calls, to serve as a
central point of intake for housing matters.

Arnold & Porter LLP partner Darren Skinner meets with a client during the April 2020 virtual Small
Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic.
emerging legal issues. Topics included
employment law, commercial leases,
contract review, and business bankruptcy;

remote brief advice clinics for the first
*	 Offered
time to both nonprofits and small businesses.
These clinics offered one-on-one consultations with attorney volunteers to review contracts and commercial leases, as well as advice
on financial relief programs. These clinics had
served 208 organizations by the end of June
with the help of 190 attorneys from 40 law
firms;

our Small Business Brief
*	 Transitioned
Advice Legal Clinic from a once-a-month,

in-person clinic to a weekly virtual one.
During one week in May, 20 volunteers from
13 law firms and corporate legal departments
met with 41 small businesses to discuss legal
topics relevant to their organizations'
operations; and

a COVID-19 resource center for orga*	 Created
nizations at lawhelp.org/dc/ced to highlight
the Pro Bono Center's legal alerts. The
website also hosts recordings of pandemicrelated webinars and resources from other
pro bono business law organizations
relevant to D.C. organizations.
The changes we made to reach our clients
during the pandemic have taught us different
ways to deliver legal services. We are learning
that remote services may be the most effective
way to serve clients who face transportation,
time, and other obstacles that make it difficult

to appear at a lawyer's office or participate in
a clinic. The courts also are learning that it
may not be necessary for parties to appear
in person, that some matters can easily be
resolved by phone or video conference. We
hope the pandemic prompts us all to adopt
permanently many innovations that show that
access to justice can take many forms - we
can deliver justice in ways that accommodate
the needs of the less privileged members of
our community.
The Pro Bono Center's ability to adapt to our
drastically changed environment has been
remarkable. I could not be prouder to work
with a staff who has shown such amazing resilience and determination to reach our clients in
spite of all the obstacles. Their extraordinary
creativity and commitment to the community
we serve inspire me every day.
We also thank the members of the community
who support and volunteer with us for making
this work possible. The people we serve will
be feeling the impact of the pandemic for
years to come, but we will continue to help
those who depend on us in times of crisis.
While the challenge is great, your support is
greater. Our D.C. neighbors rely on us, and we
rely on you.

Rebecca K. Troth is executive director of the D.C.
Bar Pro Bono Center.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2020

*

WASHINGTON LAWYER 55


http://www.lawhelp.org/dc/ced

Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
ABA Delegates Corner
Calendar of Events
Re-Envisioning the Bar Exam feature
The New Normal in Legal Education feature
On Shaky Ground feature
How the Pandemic Has Transformed Courts Feature
The Science of Why Clients Ignore Counsel's Advice feature
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight - Susan Biniaz
Member Spotlight - Whit Washington
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - ABA Delegates Corner
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Re-Envisioning the Bar Exam feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The New Normal in Legal Education feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - On Shaky Ground feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 24
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - How the Pandemic Has Transformed Courts Feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 28
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The Science of Why Clients Ignore Counsel's Advice feature
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 34
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 36
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 43
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Member Spotlight - Susan Biniaz
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Member Spotlight - Whit Washington
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 50
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 53
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - 55
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - September/October 2020 - Cover4
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