Crime, Legal Related


A public-interest voice in the legal community.

Washington, DC   |


We are a voluntary bar association seeking to help our justice system serve everyone, including those who are poor or marginalized. Our members represent the legal community’s diversity: They come from law firms, law schools, private and nonprofit organizations, and the government. We promote pro bono and public-interest law—by building partnerships between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors; volunteering to provide legal services to those who need them; training and mentoring the next generation of public-interest advocates; and supporting policies that expand access to justice.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Nancy Lopez

Main address

601 Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 5409

Washington, DC 20001 USA

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Cause area (NTEE code) info

Legal Services (I80)

Professional Societies, Associations (I03)

Public Interest Law/Litigation (I83)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Pro Bono for Government Attorneys

Our annual Government Pro Bono Roundtable will answer your questions about doing pro bono work as a federal or local government lawyer. Pro bono work can be a rewarding part of a government career; you just need to be familiar with the resources, policies, and strategies that allow you to do the work effectively. At this lively panel discussion, you'll learn about established pro bono programs for federal government lawyers as well as emerging opportunities for doing pro bono work as a lawyer for the D.C. government.

Population(s) Served

Spend a Saturday volunteering with us at the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center’s Advice & Referral Clinic. The clinic provides free advice (and referrals) for people with questions about a variety of subjects, including bankruptcy and debt collection, consumer law, employment law, family law, health law, housing law, personal injury, probate, public benefits, and tax law. Most people have fairly basic questions, and you need not be familiar with every area of law; program staff and expert mentors will be on hand to offer guidance and supervision. You’ll arrive at the clinic by 9:30 am for a brief orientation, plus bagels and coffee. (Non-lawyer volunteers are asked to arrive at 9:15 am to get ready to greet early-arriving individuals.) Dress is casual. You should be prepared to stay until the last client is served (usually around 2:30 or 3:00 pm). There is no ongoing time commitment beyond the day of the clinic.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Our annual Summer Pro Bono and Public Interest Forum encourages summer associates and summer interns to make pro bono or public-interest work a part of their legal careers, and provides an introduction to several different types of public-interest practice.

Population(s) Served

Litigation Skills Training Sessions provides opportunities to develop or improve trial skills. These interactive courses use lecture, demonstration, and small-group sessions to teach taking depositions, opening and closing statements, direct- and cross-examination, witness impeachment, moving documents into evidence, and more—with lots of individual attention and feedback.

Population(s) Served

Best Practices in Pro Bono offers an opportunity to share tips for increasing the effectiveness of your pro bono program. Through a facilitated discussion, pro bono coordinators at law firms, corporations and legal services and advocacy organizations exchange ideas and share their experiences to improve the delivery of pro bono legal services. Our conversations focus both on the experiences of pro bono volunteers and the clients who receive free legal assistance.

Population(s) Served

We provide many opportunities for public-interest lawyers and law students to come together and share ideas, including Happy Hours, Dinner & Discussions, Dining for Justice and more.

Population(s) Served

Each fall, as part of the annual National Pro Bono celebration, we organize DC Pro Bono Week. DC Pro Bono Week takes place each October and offers lots of opportunities to do pro bono work, learn new pro bono skills, meet other pro bono lawyers, and expand your pro bono horizons.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Learn how in-house lawyers can do pro bono work. The panel will (1) discuss the benefits of pro bono for in-house lawyers—whether they are new to legal practice or have been at it for years; (2) identify a variety of legal-services organizations with strong pro bono programs and explore different pro bono partnership models; (3) answer thorny questions about conflicts of interest, malpractice insurance, and the unauthorized practice of law.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of briefings or presentations held

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served


Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

Includes our Best Practices in Pro Bono Programs, Litigation Skills Trainings, Racial Justice Series, Perspectives on Poverty Law from the Bench, Pro Bono Week events, & other presentations.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

A. WCL will work to engage more law firm attorneys in the WCL's work and membership. <br/><br/>B. The WCL will also work to support public interest lawyers by 1) providing programming on the career pathways that exist for public interest lawyers and 2) working to create a community of public interest lawyers in DC. <br/><br/>C. The WCL will endeavor to keep its members informed of issues pertinent to its mission and highlight public interest and pro bono legal successes. <br/><br/>D. The WCL will provide high-quality, low cost trainings for public interest advocates, such as the Litigation Skills training. The WCL will endeavor to create trainings that cover different types of work such as policy or media work.<br/><br/>E. The WCL will, as is deemed appropriate, revise and reorganize its Board and Committee structure to ensure that the resources within its membership are used to their maximum potential. Additionally, the WCL will evaluate whether its current paid staffing is appropriate for the amount of programming and work that it plans to accomplish.

WCL will provide training and support for public interest minded attorneys in Washington, DC.<br/><br/>WCL will maintain programming geared toward law firm attorneys interested in pro bono work:<br/><br/>WCL will operate a mentoring program for new public interest lawyers.<br/><br/>WCL will promote education/information exchange through its newsletter and other channels. With this goal in mind, the WCL will, where appropriate, endorse DC judicial candidates and candidates for the DC Bar. Additionally, the WCL will take a position on issues central to its mission where the WCL can make a contribution. The WCL will occasionally sponsor, preferably in collaboration with other organizations, speakers and panels on issues related to its mission, and will use the Annual Awards Reception as an opportunity to celebrate public interest and pro bono contributions. The WCL will, continue contributing to amicus briefs, drafting letters to elected officials and policy makers, and using other advocacy channels to further the goals of its mission when and where appropriate.

We offer a wide variety of programs that bring the legal community together to promote the access to justice in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

A. Membership list and statistics.<br/><br/>B. Records of programming.<br/><br/>C. Records of programming, endorsements, and letters. <br/><br/>D. Records of programming.<br/><br/>E. Board Meeting minutes, records of Board Structure.

WCL reaches a broad range of potential members through the Public Interest Job Clearinghouse, its monthly newsletters, event invitations and membership outreach during events. <br/><br/>WCL continues its annual Mentoring Program, with a number of events each year to promote community and education for new public interest attorneys. <br/><br/>WCL has advertised events, awards and endorsements to do with public service to its members and continues to endorse judicial candidates. <br/><br/>WCL offers a Litigation Skills Training Series to public-interest-minded attorneys in Washington, DC. <br/><br/>WCL hosts an annual Summer Pro Bono & Public Interest Forum each year to highlight the importance of pro bono and public interest work for summer associates and summer interns.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
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Board of directors
as of 12/11/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Kelly Voss

Covington & Burling LLP

Julie Abbate

Civil Rights Division, US Department of Justice

Nicole Austin-Hillery

Human Rights Watch

Nancy Drane

DC Access to Justice Commission

Karen Grisez

Fried Frank Harris Shriver and Jacobson LLP

Susan Hoffman

Crowell and Moring LLP

Steven Hollman

Hogan Lovells LLP

Allison Holt

Hogan Lovells LLP

Philip Horton

Arnold and Porter LLP

Barbara Kagan

Steptoe and Johnson LLP

Amelia Kegan

Bread for the World

Mary Kennedy

Arnold and Porter LLP

Anne King

Georgetown University Law Center

Mark Kovner

Kirkland and Ellis LLP

Chinh Le

Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Greg Lipper

Clinton Brook & Peed

Marcia Maack

Mayer Brown LLP

Joy Moses

Robin Murphy

Disability Rights Maryland

Taryn Null

Jaya Saxena

George Washington University Law Office of Professional Development and Career Strategy

Lawrence Schneider

Arnold and Porter LLP

Amy Senier

Patty Stasco

Department of Justice

David Steib


Jennifer Swedish

Department of Justice

Jennifer Tschirch

Georgetown University Law Center

Marsha Tucker

Arnold and Porter LLP

Kelly Voss

Covington and Burling LLP

David Zvenyach

Council of the District of Columbia

Rebecca Goldfrank

Children's Law Center

Emily Batt

Michael Lukens

CAIR Coalition

Sarah Marcus

Mia Sussman

Equal Justice Works

Katie Dilks

Georgetown University Law Center

Melinda Cooperman

Children's Law Center

Alexis Applegate

Jack Keeney

Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Paul Lee

Dechert LLP

Gwendolyn Washington

Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia

Erich Veitenheimer

Cooley LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/02/2019

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/02/2019

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


voluntary bar association pro bono legal services