Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 28

CELEBRATING
YEARS
A Steady March Toward
By June S. Phillips
W
hen the District of Columbia Court of Appeals
created the city's first unified bar in 1972,
it realized a vision where lawyers would
advance professional standards, promote
a more effective attorney discipline system, and help
bridge the racial and gender divide within the
profession.
E. BARRETT
PRETTYMAN JR.
At first, expectations for the new D.C.
Bar were modest, focusing primarily on
licensing and discipline, but many saw
its formation as an opportunity for
change. Marna S. Tucker, founder of
Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP and
the D.C. Bar's first woman president,
was among several young attorneys
passionate about pro bono and public
interest work who banded together to
ensure they had a voice in the nominating
committee charged with
selecting the Bar's first set of leaders.
" We had a telephone tree. We called
every young lawyer in the city and
. . . 1,300 lawyers showed up, " Tucker says of that meeting one night in
April 1972. " We were hoping to select one or two members of the nominating
committee. We voted in the entire slate! "
The resulting inaugural Board of Governors was an unexpected combination
of progressive and establishment lawyers who began to chart
the course for what is now the largest unified bar in the country. It fell
to prominent Washington attorney E. Barrett Prettyman Jr., the Bar's first
president, to create a cohesive organization with an initial 15,000-plus
members.
" My board was an eclectic one, with strong-willed personalities of
various and diverse viewpoints, not shy of expressing themselves on any
subject. In fact, my biggest task during this first year was to bring a sense
of calm and reason to our meetings, " Prettyman recalled in a 1997
Washington Lawyer interview marking the Bar's 25th anniversary.
By year two, the Bar was focused on foundation building and " selfdefinition, "
as Charles T. Duncan, the Bar's first African American president,
put it. " Who were we and what was our role to be in the legal
community? "
28 WASHINGTON LAWYER * JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022
Fifty years later, the Bar is 111,000 members strong and remains as
committed as it was to protecting the integrity of the legal profession,
maintaining high ideals of standards of conduct among its members,
helping to improve the administration of justice, and enhancing the
delivery of legal services to those in need.
COMMITMENT TO ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Influenced by its first leaders, the D.C. Bar is defined in part by its spirit of
volunteerism, which frequently takes the form of pro bono representation.
For today's members, the Bar's strong stance on pro bono work
seems immutable, but its outsize role in the delivery of free civil legal aid
in the District was made possible by persistent efforts by members to
make pro bono a part of the Bar's identity.
Tucker remembers a referendum that passed shortly before her tenure
in 1984-1985 prohibiting the use of Bar dues for pro bono and public
interest programs. " That referendum created a real split in the Bar . . . and
I became president [when] the referendum was put into place, " Tucker
says. " So, my challenge at the time was to figure out ways to keep public
service programs going, to keep lawyers involved in pro bono efforts. "
Tucker, one of 9 women in a class of 180 students at Georgetown
University Law Center in the 1960s, was no stranger to overcoming
barriers. " What I learned from that experience was how to guide people
through a difficult time, where people were dug in on both sides of an
issue. I had to be the leader during that period of strife and get something
done. Frankly, the skill set that I learned with the help of many
lawyers at the Bar at that time has helped guide me to this day. "
The referendum was a " blip " in the Bar's history, Tucker says, but she and
other Bar leaders pressed forward. " People may have forgotten the
history of the pro bono movement, but when I look at the strength of
the D.C. Bar and the strength of pro bono efforts across the nation, I am
really proud to have been a part of that from the very beginning, " Tucker
says.
Judge Peter H. Wolf, who served on D.C. Superior Court for four decades
until his retirement in 2019, also was a witness to the evolution of the Bar
over the years. " The primary reason for the compulsory Bar was to have
better attorney discipline. So, we jumped right in and started doing what
we had to do, " Wolf says.
Wolf was already active in volunteer work when he became the first
secretary of the D.C. Bar in 1972. " I remember well the words of Dean
Erwin Griswold at my first-year convocation at Harvard Law School in
1959 when he encouraged us to volunteer, " says Wolf. " I have always
considered it an obligation and a privilege. "
Prior to becoming D.C. Bar secretary, Wolf had served as chair of the
Young Lawyers Section of the voluntary Bar Association of the District of
Roberts Pedegree/AP Images

Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022

From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Protecting the Integrity of the Profession: A Conversation on Legal Ethics
How Far Should You Go? Frivolous Claims & Litigation Ethics
The Solo/Small Firm Life: Lean, Mean Business Machine
Upping Your Game With Professional Coaching
The Founding of the D.C. Bar
Taking the Stand
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Speaking of Ethics
Disciplinary Summaries
ABA Delegate’s Corner
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Intro
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - A
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - B
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 1
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 2
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 4
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 5
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Protecting the Integrity of the Profession: A Conversation on Legal Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 11
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 12
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 13
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 14
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 15
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - How Far Should You Go? Frivolous Claims & Litigation Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 17
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 18
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 19
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - The Solo/Small Firm Life: Lean, Mean Business Machine
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 21
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 22
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 23
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Upping Your Game With Professional Coaching
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 25
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 26
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 27
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - The Founding of the D.C. Bar
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 29
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 31
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 32
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 33
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 37
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 39
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 41
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 43
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - ABA Delegate’s Corner
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - 47
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - January/February 2022 - Cover4
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https://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
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http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
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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
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