Letter From The Pro Bono Community Service Chair Of The Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association

2008-09-01 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

During the past two years, WMACCA has embarked on an initiative to increase in-house counsel involvement in activities outside of our normal practice by engaging in community service and pro bono work as an organization.We call it "In HouseIn the Community."The message to our 1600-plus members - the largest chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel in the world - is that we have more than just great CLE and networking events for the professional development of our members.Our members have responded to that message with flying colors.

Community Service Events

In April 2007 and April 2008, WMACCA has participated in the Potomac Watershed Cleanup Day sponsored the Alice Ferguson Foundation.We also contribute to revitalization of our National Park lands in Great Falls, Virginia every September, as part of the ACC Annual Public Lands Day.

In May 2007, we gathered several groups of in-house attorneys to paint and restore Hine Junior High School in Southeast DC, prepare and deliver meals for the DC Central Kitchen, and volunteer at SOME (So Others Might Eat), as part of the Annual DC Cares Servathon in 2007.

In June 2007 and 2008, we fielded teams of runners and walkers for the Lawyers Have a Heart 10k Run/3k Walk in Washington, DC.

Beginning this Fall 2008, we will offer our members some new opportunities as well:

We are starting to gather volunteers for local Habitat for Humanity build days in the Maryland and Northern Virginia area for 2008-09.

We also are embarking on new causes with our local area schools.The first is the Street Law program (www.streetlaw.org), working with high school students at Park View High School in Loudoun County (the most racially diverse high school in that county), starting in September 2008.For 30 years, Street Law, Inc.'s programs and curricula have promoted knowledge of legal rights and responsibilities, engagement in the democratic process, and belief in the rule of law, among both youth and adults.The second is Geoplunge (www.geoplunge.com), an award-winning game created by Arent Fox attorney Alan Fishel to encourage students to learn about U.S. geography in a fun, competitive way.The Washington Lawyers' Committee's D.C. Public School Partnerships Project works with Arent Fox LLP and the Office of the D.C. Public Schools Chancellor to organize this annual tournament in November of each year, and we will be encouraging our members to get involved as coaches, judges and supporters of this worthwhile program for our kids.

Finally, on October 29, 2008, our WMACCA Annual Corporate Counsel Awards Reception will be more than just awards and networking.The Awards Reception comes at a crucial time for food donations (when isn't it a crucial time?), and this year, WMACCA aims to help.We will conduct a food drive that evening, giving all attendees an opportunity to participate in even the smallest way, by bringing non-perishable food items with you to the event.This is our most highly-attended event of the year, and we look forward to gathering a substantial supply of food for those in need in our area, in support of Bread for the City (www.breadforthecity.org), in Washington, DC.

Pro Bono Activity

On May 20 and June 27, 2008, WMACCA embarked on a partnership with the Law Firm of Womble Carlyle for the "When Duty Calls" Veterans Clinic , to provide pro bono legal assistance to veterans filing disability applications with the Department of Veterans Affairs.This program, which we fittingly embarked upon just before Memorial Day, will be our chance to assist those who have served our country with honor.We will have additional clinics scheduled beginning in Fall 2008.

We encourage our members to engage in other forms of pro bono activity as well, including the Small Business Brief Legal Advice Clinic , which is part of the Community Economic Development Project for the DC Bar Pro Bono Program (www.dcbar.org/probono). We are always keeping our eyes and ears open for new pro bono opportunities beyond our day jobs, for which our in-house membership is best suited.We list such opportunities on our website at http://www.acc.com/php/chapters/index.php?chapter=wmacca.

Our members already know that WMACCA is the best bargain in town when it comes to professional development and networking among legal colleagues.For those of you who are unaware of these additional advantages of WMACCA membership, remember this:

We are not just in-house - We are "In-HouseIn The Community" as well.

Bob Gans

VP, External Affairs

Pro Bono/Community Service Chair

Washington Metropolitan

Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA)