Recognition from the Court
OPEN LETTER TO THE 2017 CAPITAL PRO BONO HONOR ROLL REGISTRANTS FROM CHIEF JUDGE ANNA BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY AND CHIEF JUDGE ROBERT MORIN
On behalf of the District of Columbia Courts, we want to express our profound appreciation to each of you who qualified for recognition on the 2017 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll. As you may know, the Courts have recognized attorneys who have contributed fifty hours or more of pro bono work to those who cannot afford legal counsel since 2011. As Chief Judges, we are acutely aware of the severe hardships faced by indigent individuals who all too often must represent themselves in proceedings in the DC Courts, often when the opposing party is represented. We salute you for using your talents and expertise to help those unable to afford an attorney, to ensure that they too have equal access to justice. Your compassion and dedication, as evidenced by your pro bono service, have helped to level the playing field.
Each year we are deeply moved by the incredible number of registrants for the Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll and this year a new record was achieved. In 2017, 4,838 attorneys registered for the Honor Roll, with 2,931 providing one hundred hours or more of pro bono service and thus qualifying for the High Honor Roll. It is deeply gratifying to see that the DC Bar members’ commitment to pro bono spans across all different aspects of practice. The 2017 Honor Roll members represent all sectors of our diverse legal community, hailing from 155 law firms and individual practices, as well as federal and local government agencies, corporations, associations, law schools and public interest organizations.
We are tremendously proud of the robust tradition of pro bono service by attorneys in the District of Columbia. We applaud those who embrace their ethical obligation, as contained in Rule 6.1 of the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct, to perform at least fifty hours of pro bono work annually (or to contribute to organizations that provide legal representation to those unable to afford counsel). The District of Columbia is fortunate to have a truly extraordinary cadre of legal services organizations whose attorneys work tirelessly every day to make access to justice a reality. Because of the severity and urgency of the need, the dedicated work of pro bono counsel is simply indispensable to our civil justice system. It will take all of us, working together, to make our civil justice system truly accessible to all.
Thank you for answering – and in many cases exceeding – the call to service embodied by Rule 6.1. We know that your service is based not only from a commitment to your ethical obligations but also on your principled belief in equal access to justice. We are proud to recognize your dedication by the addition of your name to this year’s Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll.
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
Superior Court of the District of Columbia