Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 6

FROM OUR PRESIDENT
The Greatest Time
to Give Is Now
By Chad T. Sarchio
A
nyone who has written on
deadline knows it can be a
tricky business. For example,
as I type these words on
a balmy August morning, I'm
trying to imagine what issues
we'll confront when you read this
magazine, focused on access to
justice and pro bono. As I sometimes
say around the office, my
crystal ball is as inadequate as
everyone else's, but I suppose
I'm obliged to tell you what I see
ahead. So I'll give it my best shot.
First, let me wish you happy holidays in this
season chock-full of them. I hope that you have
much to be thankful for regarding your health,
family, friends, and career. I hope that you will
receive the gift of time to cherish your relationships,
celebrate a year of good or even rising
fortune, and look ahead to better days. If those
hopes ring true, here's one more: that you
reflect seriously upon the privileges and advantages
that our profession provides you, with
an eye toward committing more of yourself to
members of our community facing significant
challenges.
Under-resourced communities need our
support right now. Pandemic relief programs,
like the eviction moratorium and student loan
repayment protections, offered a brief reprieve.
However, the aegis of coronavirus variants and
rising infection rates continue to challenge
many of our neighbors: small business owners,
workers trying to make ends meet or find new
employment, people living with health challenges
or disabilities, and seniors.
As our courts cautiously expand their in-person
operations, it is worth considering some
daunting statistics that reveal the depth and
breadth of the problems confronting so many
people when pursuing just treatment and
results in civil matters. Many lawyers might be
shocked to learn that:
* A District landlord pays just $15 to start an
eviction case - the lowest filing fee in the
country and $91 below the national average.
From 2014 to 2018, District landlords filed for
roughly 32,000 evictions each year, according
to a 2020 Georgetown University study.
* Tenants in subsidized housing comprise 23
percent of District renters facing eviction, and
more than 60 percent of executed evictions
take place east of the Anacostia River.
* A minimum-wage earner would have to work
78 hours per week to afford the fair market
rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the
District, according to the National Low
Income Housing Coalition.
* Historically 88 percent of litigants in Superior
Court divisions represent themselves, while
95 percent of landlords have counsel.
* Due to many barriers, Americans living on
low incomes seek counsel in only 20 percent
of their civil legal issues, and when they do,
86 percent report receiving inadequate or
no legal help, according to the Legal Services
Corporation.
These numbers paint a fairly bleak civil justice
picture. Although we need systemic, comprehensive,
and well-funded changes, it is also
true that individual lawyers have the power
right now to blunt the effects of the pandemic.
Echoing the general call to service I sent out
during the Bar's Celebration of Leadership, I ask
that every lawyer consider conscientiously
6 WASHINGTON LAWYER * NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021
whether they can represent a pro bono client
or at least advise people in a clinical setting.
Created more than 40 years ago, the D.C. Bar
Pro Bono Center has proven expert in helping
our members help others in such efforts. Pro
Bono Center staff specialize in training, mentoring,
and supporting attorney volunteers. All
one requires to assist meaningfully is the will,
the discipline to carve out some time, and the
solid judgment that comes from legal education
and practice. For those who doubt their
capacity to help in areas of law that may seem
foreign, or who fear the risk of providing less
than optimal counsel, just consider the doubt
and fear that unrepresented or unadvised litigants
must have. You can help save a home,
a family, or a future simply by sharing your time
and expertise.
I appreciate that not everyone can volunteer in
this way. For those who cannot, perhaps you
have in treasure what you lack in time. As you
consider year-end charitable contribution possibilities,
please opt to give generously to the
Pro Bono Center or to one of the many other
legal services organizations helping District
residents. These entities protect and serve
justice with little fanfare or acclaim, and generally
with inadequate resources.
Many Bar leaders have written eloquently
about the special obligations we have as
lawyers to ensure that our nation's legal
systems are available equally to all, operate
fairly, and reach equitable, just outcomes. If
there were ever a season in which to strive
to realize these ideals, it is now.
Connect with Chad at csarchio@dcbar.org.
Patrice Gilbert Photography

Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021

Letter to Members
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Practice Management
Toward Well-Being
Reforming Conservatorship: A Battle Over Best Interests
Legal Deserts: No-Man’s Land of Affordable Legal Help
The Unfinished Work of Equal Justice for All
Pro Bono Mentoring for High-Impact Help
The Afghanistan Fallout: Broken Promises & Processes
Taking the Stand
ABA Delegate’s Corner
On Further Review
The Learning Curve
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Attorney Briefs
Disciplinary Summaries
Speaking of Ethics
The Pro Bono Effect
A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 1
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 2
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 4
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Letter to Members
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Toward Well-Being
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Reforming Conservatorship: A Battle Over Best Interests
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 11
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 12
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 13
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Legal Deserts: No-Man’s Land of Affordable Legal Help
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 15
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 16
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 17
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 18
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 19
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Unfinished Work of Equal Justice for All
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 21
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 22
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 23
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Pro Bono Mentoring for High-Impact Help
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 25
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 26
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 27
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Afghanistan Fallout: Broken Promises & Processes
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 29
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 30
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 31
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Taking the Stand
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 33
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - ABA Delegate’s Corner
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - On Further Review
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Learning Curve
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 37
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 39
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 40
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 41
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 43
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 46
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 47
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Speaking of Ethics
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 49
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 50
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 51
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 52
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 53
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - 55
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - A Slice of Wry
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - November/December 2021 - Cover4
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