Since the 1980s, alumni continue to find new ways to shape, improve, and leave their mark at the DC Bar.
On June 11, the District of Columbia Bar (DC Bar) swore in Susan M. Hoffman, JD '79, as president for the 2019-2020 term. Ms. Hoffman is the 48th president of the DC Bar and joins a long list of GW Law alumni who have also served as president. The organization is the second-largest unified bar in the country with approximately 100,000 members in all 50 states and more than 80 countries.
Ms. Hoffman, who is currently Crowell & Moring’s full-time pro bono partner, has dedicated her career to pro bono and community work. She became the nation’s first pro bono counsel in 1988 when she joined Crowell & Moring.
During her tenure as DC Bar President, Ms. Hoffman plans to focus on promoting pro bono legal services, engaging lawyers to enhance civic education in local schools, and hosting a two-day conference to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.
“The primary reason that I wanted to be your Bar president was to champion pro bono work and improve access to justice for all individuals regardless of income, position, or power,” Ms. Hoffman said at the DC Bar's Celebration of Leadership Awards Dinner and Annual Meeting. “It is often easy for us to navigate through our daily lives in a bubble of affluence where we commute from comfortable neighborhoods to well-appointed offices, without seeing this other side of DC.”
Ms. Hoffman joins many other GW Law alumni who have served as president over the last few decades. A few selected members shared their thoughts on GW Law's long-standing connection to this organization and the importance of serving in this role.
Most recently, Patrick McGlone, JD '86, served as the 46th president. Mr. McGlone, who serves as Ullico's senior vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer since 2012, focused on the pressing issues facing the legal practice and the Bar, from respecting the rule of law given the current political climate to defending an independent judiciary during his term in 2017-2018.
Andrea Ferster, JD '84, was the president from 2013-2014. During her tenure, she began a community-wide discussion about the need to address the legal problems faced by people who earn too much to qualify for free legal services but not enough to afford to hire a lawyer—and the role lawyers can play to address this gap by providing "low bono," (i.e., reduced fee and legal services) to modest means individuals. That effort, Ms. Ferster said, has now born fruit in the creation of several initiatives, including the DC Reduced Fee Lawyer and Mediator Referral Service, a new organization that she co-chairs, which has recently launched an online directory of reduced fee lawyers. As for her time as president, she said that being able to serve in that capacity was a significant "highlight" in her career.
Those who are involved with the organization support its mission and find ways to improve the legal system. According to an announcement, "At the core of the Bar's mission is the charge to not only assist members but to protect the public … Since its inception, the Bar has kept a fundamental commitment to protect the integrity of the profession."
Under Darrell Mottley's, JD '00, leadership, the DC Bar entered into the era of social media, and this led the organization to find new ways to communicate with its members. The first blog, DC Bar Voices, launched when he served as president. "I was pleased to start the blog with a post on pro bono service," he said. He served as president from 2011-2012. During Mr. Mottley's term, he supported the organization's pro bono efforts with service in various clinics in the DC Bar Pro Bono Center. He dedicated his time to get more lawyers involved in Bar service as well as in pro bono service in the District. Mr. Mottley described his time as president as "rewarding" and added that many alumni tend to stay in the DC area not only for their career, but because they also want to "give back" to the community.
Joan H. Strand, Professor Emeritus in Residence of Clinical Law and JD '75, served as president from 1999-2000. Professor Strand believes that GW Law has a strong connection to the organization because public service is an important value stressed by the law school. "I think that many of us who teach at GW Law want students to recognize that beyond getting jobs and repaying loans, lawyers have a responsibility to give back to the community and that there are many ways to do that," she said. "Taking on leadership roles in the Bar is another way to fulfill that obligation."
Additional Participation in the DC Bar
1982-83: Jacob A. Stein - Class of '48; GW Law Professorial Lecturer in Law
1990-91: Sara-Ann Determan - Class of '67
1991-92: James Robertson - Class of '65
2011-12: Darrel Hottley - Class of '00
2013-14: Andrea C. Fester - Class of '84
2016-17: Annamaria Steward - Class of '99
2017-18: Patrick McGlone - Class of '86
2019-20: Susan M. Hoffman - Class of '79
1978-79: Robert L. Weinberg - GW Law Professorial Lecturer in Law
1996-97: Myles V. Lynk - GW Law Visiting Professor
1999-2000: Joan H. Strand - Class of '75; GW Law Professor Emeritus in Residence of Clinical Law