This year’s Pro Bono Goes Local kickoff celebration marking the start of DC Pro Bono Week was held on Monday, October 26. The event is an opportunity to gather the legal community together to celebrate pro bono service and emphasize the importance of directing that service locally to help District residents in need of representation in our local courts. DC Pro Bono Week is organized each year by the Washington Council of Lawyers (WCL) and a committee of pro bono professionals representing legal services organizations, law firms, and law schools from around the city.
This year’s Pro Bono Goes Local virtual program was moderated by WCL’s Executive Director Nancy Lopez. Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby of the D.C. Court of Appeals and Chief Judge Anita Josey-Herring of the D.C. Superior Court provided opening remarks where they extended their gratitude to those who have handled local pro cases and emphasized that now more than ever- due in part to the challenges that DC residents are experiencing as a result of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic- DC residents need pro bono attorneys.
The Chief Judges’ remarks were followed by two pro bono “all stars” who shared reflections on their personal experiences representing DC residents in local pro bono matters: Josephine “Jo” Bahn, a federal government attorney at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation who has volunteered in her personal capacity with Legal Aid and other local legal services organizations, and Keith Matthews, of the law firm Wiley Rein. The event concluded with a preview of the week’s events and ways to get involved, including through DC Represents, an exciting new pro bono initiative.
If you missed today's Pro Bono Goes Local event, you may view the recording here (access passcode: KgWX$97?). There are still plenty of upcoming Pro Bono Week activities, so be sure to check out the full schedule of events and affiliated trainings.
You can also read a Pro Bono Week profile about how the law firm of Arnold & Porter is partnering with Legal Aid to help DC workers affected by the COVID-19 unemployment crisis secure the unemployment benefits to which they are entitled.
We here at Legal Aid want to thank all of the dedicated lawyers who devote their time and talent to representing pro bono clients in our local courts and agencies. By helping us expand our resources to serve more clients, you are vital partners in Legal Aid’s mission to make justice real in individual and systemic ways for persons living in poverty in the District.