What Will I Do? 

From the moment I was nominated, I identified three key areas that will be my top priorities if I am elected.  Most importantly, we need a sense of urgency about the need to provide access to justice for those in our community and to do justice within our profession by achieving real diversity, equity, and inclusion, and removing artificial barriers to entry and advancement based on race, gender, or other immutable characteristics.  

 

Those issues will be even more important in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.  Legal services providers already are working overtime to help those affected by the virus or its effect on the economy, and local organizations have been compelled to condemn COVID-19 related racism and xenophobia.   Unfortunately, this is only the beginning – diversity and inclusion efforts typically are among the first casualties of a crisis or economic slowdown, and  diverse lawyers are often disproportionately impacted. 

Charlie with his dog Maddy. 

We need leaders who will make preventing that outcome their top priority.   

 

Within that framework, and without carving anything in stone until I have spent more time with the various stakeholders, I have identified three key areas that will be at the top of my priority list:

  • Diversity, inclusion, and advancement: The COVID-19 crisis and its aftermath likely will present challenges – and opportunities – that we cannot possibly anticipate today.  If I were taking office today, I would establish a working group of voluntary bars and other stakeholders to analyze the innovation that the profession has been forced to undertake and to determine how to retain and build upon the advances that are beneficial to diversity and diverse attorneys.  Just as an example, we have long advocated for flexible work schedules that permit working caregivers – who most often are women – to work from home without sacrificing pay and career opportunities.  We have had little success because law firms and other organizations insisted that a lawyer can’t be as effective if they are not in the office.  Now, everyone is working remotely, and law firms are assuring their clients that they can do just as good a job working from home as from their office.  Many firms will want to go back to the old ways when the virus has ebbed, but we need to make sure that doesn’t happen. 

  • Legal services for individuals of limited or no means: COVID-19 has forced the profession to innovate in ways that legal services providers have been advocating for years - simplified court procedures, automation, and rule changes to make it easier to provide access to justice.  If I were taking office today, I would establish a working group to identify advances in court procedures, rules, automation, and other areas that present an opportunity to support the legal services providers in their critical mission.  I intend to begin by spending considerable time and energy working with the dedicated people already doing great work in this area; the legal services providers for people who cannot afford to pay any legal fees, and providers like DC Refers and the DC Affordable Law Firm that are trying to serve those who cannot afford traditional legal representation but who make too much money to qualify for free legal services.  I intend to work with them and support them by helping them find the resources they need to succeed and to support sustainable access to justice efforts. 

  • Service to Bar members: One of the best parts of my job is working with other lawyers to help them take on challenging, rewarding work within ethical bounds.  I have learned through that experience that the D.C. Bar is eager to help, and it offers beneficial resources in areas like wellness, practice management assistance, and continuing education.  But many lawyers will be negatively affected by COVID-19 and its aftermath, and their needs will change in ways that cannot accurately be predicted.  I intend to work with Bar members, DC Bar Communities, and other stakeholders to ensure that the Bar anticipates and responds to the needs of all members by offering the services that they want and will need in order to thrive over the next few years. 

 

These are the primary focus areas I have identified, but I will always be open to hearing from members about other concerns.  I urge you to vote for me and then to join me in making the Bar and the profession stronger, more diverse and inclusive, and more capable of fulfilling its obligation to serve those who cannot afford to pay. 

Endorsements

 Past DC Bar Presidents

  • Andrea C. Ferster

  • Ronald S. Flagg

  • George W. Jones, Jr.

  • John "Jack" C. Keeney, Jr.

  • Carolyn B. Lamm

  • Myles V. Lynk

  • Andrew H. Marks

  • Patrick McGlone

  • John W. Nields, Jr.

  • Stephen J. Pollak

  • James J. Sandman

  • Annamaria Steward

  • Joan H. Strand

  • Robert N. Weiner

  • Melvin White

 Other Bar leaders

 

  • Rod Boggs

  • Edgar Class

  • Jill Dash

  • Marc Fleischaker

  • Ann K. Ford

  • Mark Herzog

  • Bridget Bailey Lipscomb

  • Amy Nelson

  • Kendra Norwood

  • Allen Orr, Jr.

  • Lee Petro

  • Jessica Rosenbaum

 Organizations

  • National Bar Association Region XII

  • DC Consortium of Legal Service Providers 

  • Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (GWAC)

  • Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia (HBA-DC)

  • Asian Pacific American Bar Association of the Greater Washington, D.C. Area, Inc. (APABA-DC) 

  • South Asian Bar Association of Washington, DC (SABA-DC) 

  • Washington Bar Association (WBA) 

  • Washington Council of Lawyers 

Let's Connect

clemley@wiley.law

202.719.7354

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