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The WCLs Lunchtime Speaker Series highlights the most timely topics and critical issues facing the public service community and the private bar that serves it. We bring the experts in to address the community with information ranging from the practical to the provocative.

Our UPCOMING FORUMS include:

On May 21, 2003, the Council will present a brownbag lunch entitled: "School Vouchers: Good Policy for Washington, D.C.?" In June 2002, the United States Supreme Court decided that school vouchers are constitutional. The policy debate, however, rages on. Now, the Bush Administration and some Members of Congress want to institute a school voucher program in Washington, D.C. and local government officials are divided. Panelists will discuss whether school vouchers are sound policy generally, and whether they are right for the District of Columbia. The Panelists will include: Hon. Adrien Fenty, Councilmember, D.C. City Council; Gregory McCarthy, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Legislative Affairs, Executive Office of the Mayor of Washington, D.C.; Elliot Mincberg, People for the American Way and Clark Neily, Institute for Justice. Additional panelists to be announced. This will be a brownbag lunch to be held at Steptoe & Johnson, 1330 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Conference Center, Lower Level. The cost is $10; $7 for Council members and public interest; $3 for students. Click here for PDF flyer and registration form.


Our PAST FORUMS have included:


In October, 2001, the Council sponsored a program entitled: "Responding to Terrorism: Safeguarding our Communities and Our Civil Liberties." An expert panel discussed how to reconcile current efforts to protect our security with the need to guarantee fundamental civil liberties. The panelists were David Cole, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center, and Author, Terrorism and the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security; Viet Dinh, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Policy; Elliot Mincberg, Vice President and Legal Director, People for the American Way; and Stuart Taylor, National Journal Columnist and Newsweek Contributor. The moderator was Louis Bograd, Senior Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union. The program addressed topics of concern including the immigration, privacy and criminal justice implications of the Patriot Act, as well as the security objectives the legislation was designed to meet.

In January, 2002, the Council held a follow up event to our October, 2001 panel entitled "Responding to Terrorism II: Military Tribunals, Attorney-Client Privilege, and Other Controversies." The panel provided a variety of perspectives on how to reconcile current efforts to protect our security with the need to guarantee fundamental civil liberties. Panelists focused on some of the policies that have emerged since October 25th, including those concerning military tribunals and the attorney-client privilege. The panelists were: Bruce Fein, Senior Fellow for the Study of Terrorism, Potomac Institute, and constitutional and international law attorney; Eugene R. Fidell, Partner, Feldesman, Tucker, Leifer, Fidell & Bank LLP and President, National Institute of Military Justice; Kate Martin, Director, Center for National Security Studies, and General Counsel, National Security Archive; Jennifer Newstead, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy; Moderator: Ronald Weich, Partner, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP.

On February 27, 2002, the Washington Council of Lawyers and the D.C. Affairs Section of the D.C. Bar held a brownbag lunch forum entitled "D.C. Voting Rights: New Strategies for Self-Determination." The panel discussed new strategies for providing Washington, D.C. residents with full representation in Congress, including litigation, a proposed constitutional amendment, and new legislative strategies. The panelists were Mark Plotkin, Political Commentator, WAMU 88.5 FM; Jamin Raskin, Professor of Constitutional Law, American University; Walter A. Smith, Jr., Executive Director, D.C. Appleseed Center; and Roger Wilkins, Professor, George Mason University; and Appointed Member, District of Columbia Board of Education. The moderator was Nkechi Taifa, Director, Equal Justice Program, Howard University Law School.


On March 21, 2002, the Washington Council of Lawyers and the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association (MWELA) presented a forum entitled "Litigating Parenthood: Using Employment and Civil Rights Laws to Protect Family Caregivers in the Workplace." Speakers Joan Williams and Nancy Segal from the Program on Gender, Work and Family discussed the problems faced by workers trying to fulfill their job and family caregiving responsibilities and the current state of the law in this newly developing area. Their just-completed survey of employment case law has revealed a new trend: mothers -- and fathers -- are having increasing success in suits brought to protect their rights in the workplace, and in some instances, significant monetary damages have been awarded.

On September 25, 2002, the Council sponsored a brownbag lunch entitled: "Will Bakke Survive?: The University of Michigan Affirmative Action Case." On May 14, 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld the University of Michigan Law Schools race-conscious admissions policy. A petition for certiorari is pending before the Supreme Court. John Payton, Counsel for the University of Michigan, provided a fascinating account of his representation of the University, and intriguing insights into the case. Payton was joined by a distinguished panel of Supreme Court practitioners and constitutional experts, who posed thought-provoking questions about the case, and joined Payton in an informative dialogue on affirmative action in higher education. The Panelists were: John Payton, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, Counsel for University of Michigan; Beth S. Brinkmann, Morrison & Foerster LLP; E. Barrett Prettyman, Jr., Hogan & Hartson; and Paul M. Smith, Jenner & Block.

On October 23, 2002,the Council presented a brownbag lunch entitled: "Caught in the Crossfire: Gun Control and the Second Amendment." In May, 2002, the U.S. Department of Justice reignited the debate over gun control, by stating in two Supreme Court briefs that the Administration has adopted a broader view of the protections provided by the Second Amendment. The panelists examined the impact of the Administrations recent shift in position, including efforts by the defense bar to use the Government's new interpretation of the Second Amendment on behalf of their clients. The Panelists were: Stephen Halbrook, Attorney in Private Practice, Clients include the National Rifle Assoc.; Jonathan Lowy, Senior Attorney, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence; Matthew Nosanchuk, Litigation Director/Legislative Counsel, Violence Policy Center; Gregory Poe, Assistant Federal Public Defender for the U.S. District Court for D.C.

On October 29, 2002, the Council co-hosted with the National Conference of Black Lawyers and the Drug Policy Alliance a program entitled: "Lawyers Look at D.C.'s 'Treatment Instead of Jail' Measure 62." This program was an informational session in which a panel of experts explained the ballot initiative Measure 62 and its implications. The moderator was Nkechi Taifa of the Open Society Institute/Open Society Policy Center, and the panelists were Angela Arboleda, National Council of La Raza; Laura Hankins, Legal Director, D.C. Public Defender Service; William McColl, D.C. Campaign for Treatment; and Opio Sokoni, Measure 62 Campaign Coordinator. On November 5, 2002, D.C. residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of this ballot initiative.

On December 11, 2002, the Council presented a brownbag lunch entitled "Judicial Nominations in a Partisan Era." An expert panel explored the roles of the President in selecting judicial nominees and of the Senate in providing "advice and consent" on the nominations. Panelists also examined which qualifications and criteria the President and the Senate should consider when evaluating a particular candidate. The panelists were: Nan Aron, President, Alliance for Justice; Jeff Berman, Chief Counsel, Senator Chuck Schumer; C. Boyden Gray, Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering; and Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Counsel to President George W. Bush. The moderator was Richard B. Jerome, President, Richard Jerome, PC.

On January 15, 2003, the Council held a brownbag lunch entitled "Shredding Documents and Other Bad Advice: Legal Ethics in the Age of Enron." The panelists explored the impact of recent corporate scandals on attorneys and legal ethics. They focused on legal ethics considerations in examining the role attorneys have played in creating and compounding these corporate scandals. The panelists were: Stephen Cutler, Director of Enforcement, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Michael Frisch, Ethics Counsel and Adjunct Professor of Professional Responsibility, Georgetown University Law Center; Ernie Lindberg, Director of Legal Ethics, District of Columbia Bar; and Judge Stanley Sporkin, Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Former U.S. District Court Judge.

In February, 2003 the Council presented a brownbag lunch in honor of Black History Month entitled "Reparations for African Americans: Compelling Goal or Insurmountable Challenge?" This event was co-sponsored by the Washington Bar Association and the National Conference of Black Lawyers. Panelists discussed legislative and litigation initiatives seeking reparations for African Americans and the feasibility of such endeavors. The panelists were: Richard America, Georgetown University School of Business; Gilda Sherrod Ali, Litigation Team, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America; Keenan Keller, Democratic Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee; Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, Corporate Restitution Activist; Moderator: Nkechi Taifa, Washington Council of Lawyers, National Conference of Black Lawyers, and Washington Bar Association.

On March 5, 2003, the Council held "Going Public," a forum to educate lawyers contemplating a move to full time jobs in public interest and public service. Panelists were all be former law firm lawyers who have switched to full time public interest careers. They shared their experiences and offered advice to attendees who are planning such a career change. The panelists were: David Colodny, Staff Attorney, D.C. Employment Justice Center; Da'aga Hill-Bowman, Director of Foundation Outreach and Public Information, Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs; Jonathan Meyer, Counsel to Senator Biden, Senate Judiciary Committee; Scott Moore, Deputy Chief, Employment Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Dept. of Justice; Moderator: Julia Gordon, Senior Staff Attorney, Center for Law & Social Policy.

On April 9, 2003, the Council presented a brownbag lunch entitled "Reentry Roadblocks: The Obstacles Ex-Offenders Face." People reentering society from prison and seeking to lead productive lives face numerous obstacles. These reentry roadblocks are in areas essential to successful rehabilitation and range from public housing and public benefits to education, employment, and voting. The panelists discussed this range of barriers and how they may be overcome. The Panelists were: Patricia Allard, Policy Analyst, The Sentencing Project; Cedric Hendricks, Associate Director, Office of Legislative Intergovernmental & Public Affairs of Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA); Kelly Poff Salzmann, Staff Attorney, Community Defender Program, Public Defender Service; Kemba Smith, Reentry Issues Advocate; Jeremy Travis, Senior Fellow, The Urban Institute; Co-Chair of the Reentry Roundtable; Moderator: Nkechi Taifa, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society Institute Washington Office.


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Washington Council of Lawyers
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