March 03, 2020

Family Law Career Development Program Launched in D.C.

Washington Council of Lawyers & D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force Announce Launch of Family Law Career Development Program

Program seeks to foster strong mentoring relationships and promote a culture of pro bono service.

Washington Council of Lawyers and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force are collaborating to bring a new initiative to family law practitioners in D.C. this September. The Family Law Career Development Program is a 12-month intensive mentoring experience for newer family law practitioners and a way for family law attorneys to give back to their community by providing critical pro bono representation to D.C. families unable to afford a lawyer.

"We are excited to launch the Family Law Career Development Program," says Nancy Lopez, Executive Director of the Washington Council of Lawyers, the voluntary bar association that is coordinating the program. "Too many families in D.C. face their legal problems alone. Pro se litigants can have trouble navigating complicated issues of child custody, visitation, and child support because they are understandably unfamiliar with the law, courtroom procedures, and the rules of evidence. The presence of a skilled lawyer is important to ensure cases are correctly decided, parties feel the legal process was fair, and that the judges have heard the evidence and arguments on both sides of each case."

The goal of the Family Law Career Development Program is to provide an intensive professional development experience to family law practitioners in the District of Columbia and to foster a commitment to pro bono service. The participating attorneys will agree to take on two family law pro bono cases and will be paired with a supportive Mentoring Law Firm.

Some of the most respected and knowledgeable family law practitioners in the area will serve as Mentoring Law Firms: Delaney McKinney LLP, and Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP.

"The Family Law Career Development Program will help fulfill the core goal of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force - increasing access to justice by expanding the number of lawyers providing pro bono representation in our local courts," says Ronald S. Flagg, Chair of the Task Force. "It combines two key elements that the Task Force is seeking to promote - innovative pro bono programs and leadership to initiate and carry out that innovation. Many thanks to the Washington Council of Lawyers and the Mentoring Law Firms of Delaney McKinney LLP and Feldesman Tucker Liefer Fidell LLP for providing the leadership for the Program."

The Family Law Career Development Program is a great way for anyone practicing family law, or considering a career in family law, to expand their subject matter expertise while also giving back to their community.

Lawyers who wish to apply to participate in the Family Law Career Development Program can do so here. Applications are due by Friday, September 27.   

About the Washington Council of Lawyers

Washington Council of Lawyers is the public-interest bar association for the District of Columbia. We are committed to ensuring that our legal system treats everyone fairly, regardless of money, position, or power. We have over 450 members, representing the full diversity of the legal community: our members come from law firms, law schools, private and nonprofit organizations, and the government, and span the full range of experience levels, from law students through retired lawyers. 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.

 About the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force

The D.C. Bar Pro Bono Task Force was convened by Esther Lim, the 47th President of the D.C. Bar, the largest unified bar in the United States, and is continuing its work with the support of current D.C. Bar President, Susie Hoffman. The Task Force aims to seek out ways to increase access to justice by expanding the number of lawyers who provide pro bono representation to people appearing in our local courts and is comprised of three subcommittees: Appeals, Domestic Relations, and Landlord & Tenant. Leaders in the legal community from law firms, legal services providers, and other organizations have come together to seek to foster greater participation in pro bono cases by local lawyers.

Nancy Lopez

Executive Director, Washington Council of Lawyers