WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF LAWYERS

A public-interest voice in the legal community.

Washington, DC   |  http://www.wclawyers.org/

Mission

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

1974

Executive Director

Nancy Lopez

Main address

601 Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 5402

Washington, DC 20001 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7226323

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.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We are a voluntary bar association committed to ensuring that our legal system treats everyone fairly, regardless of money, position, or power. 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.

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
Adults

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 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
Adults

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
Adults

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
Adults

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
Adults

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 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 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

Adults

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

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.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Washington Council of Lawyers aims to accomplish these goals:

1. Provide High-Quality Affordable Training

2. Develop Leaders

3. Expand Our Advocacy

4. Build Community

In order to advance our mission and maintain our role as the public-interest bar association for lawyers from all sectors of the local legal community, we will pursue these goals:

1. Training
We will expand the number of high-quality, affordable skills trainings that we offer to equip and empower pro bono and public-interest lawyers to serve their clients well. Right now, there are not enough of such trainings available in our community. To fill this gap, we will increase the number of opportunities for pro bono and public-interest lawyers to gain professional skills and practical knowledge that will allow them to provide high-quality legal services to low-income clients, advance their careers, and adapt to changes in the legal profession.

2. Developing Leaders
We will recruit, mentor, and inspire new pro bono and public-interest advocates and support leadership development for mid-level advocates. To maintain the vibrant community of legal advocates in the local community, new leaders must continue to grow and develop. We aim to prepare and nurture the next generation of pro bono and public-interest lawyers through our work.

3. Advocacy
We will use our voice and status in the legal community to amplify and advocate for access to justice issues, particularly those in the District of Columbia. We should continue to develop and expand our unique voice for the District’s pro bono and public-interest legal community—to advocate for improved access to justice, support for pro bono and public-interest lawyers, and a fair justice system for everyone, including the poor and marginalized. We will focus our advocacy on issues where we think our voice lends a unique perspective, carries particular impact, or when the issue is central to our identity and focus.

4. Building Community
We will develop and support a strong and diverse network of public-interest-minded lawyers, law students, and legal professionals from all sectors of the legal community, through both social and substantive programming. We will cultivate relationships, collaborate, and co-sponsor programs with bar associations and other diverse groups. Our goal is to provide a forum and create a community where local pro bono and public-interest-minded lawyers, law students, and legal professionals can meet, learn from one another, and grow as professionals.

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. We have a vibrant working board of directors and dedicated staff to implement our programs and make our vision a reality.

Washington Council of Lawyers reaches a broad range of potential members through the Public Interest Job Clearinghouse, its monthly newsletters, event invitations and membership outreach during events.

Washington Council of Lawyers continues its annual Mentoring Program, with a number of events each year to promote community and education for new public interest attorneys.

Washington Council of Lawyers has advertised events, awards and endorsements to do with public service to its members and continues to endorse judicial candidates.

Washington Council of Lawyers offers a Litigation Skills Training Series to public-interest-minded attorneys in Washington, DC.

Washington Council of LawyersWCL 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.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF LAWYERS
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

WASHINGTON COUNCIL OF LAWYERS

Board of directors
as of 2/10/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mark Kovner

Kirkland & Ellis, LLP

Julie Abbate

Just Detention International

Lise Adams

D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center

Alexis Applegate

D.C. Office of Human Rights

Nicole Austin-Hillery

Human Rights Watch

Deborah Birnbaum

U.S. Department of Labor

Raziyah Brumfield

U.S. Department of Education

Deborah Cuevas Hill

Legal Counsel for the Elderly

Aoife Delargy Lowe

Equal Justice Works

Premal Dharia

Defender Impact Initiative

Nancy Drane

DC Access to Justice Commission

Dana Fisher-Livne

National Health Law Program

Henry Floyd, Jr.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis LLP

Karen Grisez

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Susan Hoffman

Crowell & Moring LLP

Philip Horton

Arnold & Porter LLP

Jack Keeney, Jr.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums

Ameila Kegan

Friends Committee on National Legislation

Mary Kennedy

Arnold & Porter LLP

Mark Kovner

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Paul Lee

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Carolyn Lerner

US Courts for the Distric of Columbia Circuit

Gregory Lipper

Clinton Brock & Peed

Michael Lukens

Capitol Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition

Jenifer Masi

Childrens Law Center

Sebastien Monzon Rueda

AARP, Legal Counsel for the Elderly

Robin Murphy

Disability Rights Maryland

Taryn Wilgus Null

USDOJ, Civil Rights Division

Rachel Rintelmann

Housing Law Unit, Legal Aid Society

Tiana Russell

Crowell & Moring LLP

Lawrence Schneider

Arnold & Porter LLP

Prianka Sharma

U.S. Small Business Administration

David Steib

Ayuda

Mia Sussman

Equal Justice Works

Jennifer Swedish

USDOJ, Civil Rights Division

Elizabeth Symonds

Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission

Alessandro Terenzoni

USDOJ

Etienne Toussaint

UDC David A. Clarke School of Law

Jennifer Tschirch

Georgetown University Law Center

Marsha Tucker

Arnold & Porter LLP

Keeshea Turner Roberts

Howard University School of Law, Fair Housing Clinic

Kelly Voss

Covington & Burling LLP

Gwendolyn Washington

Legal Counsel for the Elderly

Melissa Weberman

Arnold & Porter LLP

Stephon Woods

Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

Raziya Brumfield

U.S. Department of Education

Raziya Brumfield

U.S. Department of Education

Raziya Brumfield

U.S. Department of Education

Raziya Brumfield

U.S. Department of Education

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? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/08/2021

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

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/08/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
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.