2002 Founders' Celebration Events

Public Interest Panorama: Options for Every Law Graduate

Monday, February 25, 2002

This workshop explored the many issues related to sustaining a career involving the representation of under-served clients -- what is traditionally referred to as public interest law. We explored and compared different models of practice through which lawyers combine their desire to pursue justice in their legal careers with their need to make a sustainable living for the long term, including not only nonprofit public interest organizations, but also private sector options that combine fee-for-service client representation with social justice goals or that offer opportunities to do pro bono work.

After an introductory plenary session, participants had the opportunity to take part in a smaller break-out group focusing on one of several types of practice arrangements:

  • public interest law firms
  • solo and near solo practitioners
  • pro bono work in (or outside) large and mid-size law firm practice
  • traditional nonprofit organizations.

WCL alumni and others who have practiced in one or more of these environments will explore the relative benefits and drawbacks of these and other practice models. We will also discuss practical issues such as firm economics, personal budgeting and debt management.

Participants

Moderator

Nancy Segal, Legal Director, Program on Gender, Work & Family

Solo and Near-Solo Public Interest Practitioners

  • Rupal G. Kothari (WCL), Law Office of Rupal G. Kothari P.C. (Washington, DC), Practice Area: Immigration

  • Jordan Yaeger (WCL), Yaeger & Boockvar (Bethlehem, PA), Practice Area: Civil Rights

  • Michelle Zavos, Law Office of Michelle Zavos (Washington, DC), Practice Area: Estate Planning

  • Jeffrey Zimmerman (WCL), Law Office of Jeffrey Zimmerman (Alexandria, VA), Practice Area: Criminal Defense

Public Interest Law Firms

  • David Lansner, Founding Partner, Lansner & Kubitschek (New York, NY), Practice Area: Civil Rights, Family Law

  • Ari Wilkenfield, Associate, Bernabei & Katz, PLLC (Washington, DC), Practice Area: Employee Rights, Health Care

  • Daniel Wolf, Partner, Sprenger & Lang, PLLC (Washington, DC), Practice Area: International Human Rights, Employment Discrimination

Large and Mid-Size Law Firms/ Pro Bono Work

  • Elizabeth Dewey (WCL), Pro Bono Director, Piper Marbury, Rudnick & Wolfe (Washington, DC)

  • Elisabeth R. Myers-Kerbal (WCL), Associate, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, L.L.P. (Washington, DC), President, Washington Council of Lawyers

  • Joyce E. Taber (WCL), Associate, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. (Washington, DC)

Nonprofits

  • Sue Huhta, Director, Equal Employment Opportunity Project, Washington Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (Washington, DC)

  • Leslie Rubin Klein (WCL), Staff Attorney, Legal Action Project, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence (Washington, DC)

  • Susheela Varky, Women Empowered Against Violence (WEAVE), Inc. (Washington, DC)