District of Columbia Chapter History

The District of Columbia Chapter was founded on July 31, 1952.

District of Columbia Chapter Presidents
1952 - Present

2018-Present: Ruth Vernet
2017-2018: Brian Murphy
2016-2017: Frances A. Sclafani
2015-2016: Frances A. Sclafani
2014-2015: T. Cary Devorsetz
2013-2014: T. Cary Devorsetz
2012-2013: Steve Miller
2011-2012: Steve Miller
2010-2011: Robie A. Beatty
2009-2010: Robie A. Beatty
2008-2009: Ronald C. Crump
2007-2008: Silvio Krvaric
2006-2007: Silvio Krvaric
2005-2006: T. Cary Devorsetz
2004-2005: Hon. Ronnie A. Yoder
2003-2004: Hon. Ronnie A. Yoder
2002-2003: Dr. Ann H. Clarke
2001-2002: Kathleen A. Duignan
2000-2001: Kevin Judd
1999-2000: Michael H. Stein
1998-1999: Miles F. Ryan, III
1997-1998: Eugene I. Kane
1996-1997: Rosalyn L. Wilcots
1995-1996: Gwyn Ann Taylor
1994-1995: Patricia D. Ryan
1993-1994: Louis G. Ferrand
1992-1993: Claire Whitaker
1991-1992: Ronald C. Crump
1990-1991: Brian C. Murphy
1989-1990: John F. Connolly
1988-1989: Bonnie L. Gay
1987-1988: Marsha A. Echols
1986-1987: Sarah Hertz
1985-1986: Lauren L. Fuller
1984-1985: Arthur L. Burnett
1983-1984: Romulo L. Diaz, Jr.
1982-1983: Thomas J. Madden
1981-1982: Julian A. Wilhelm
1980-1981: Karen S. Lee
1979-1980: Jeanus B. Parks, Jr.
1978-1979: Roscoe E. Long
1977-1978: Eileen C. O’Connor
1976-1977: Mark R. Joelson
1975-1976: Justin Dingfelder
1974-1975: L. Barry Costilo
1973-1974: George A. Avery
1972-1973: Mary M. Garner
1971-1972: Sherman L. Cohn
1970-1971: William G. Malone
1969-1970: Louis J. Frana
1968-1969: E. Bonnie Mills
1967-1968: Joseph F. Spaniol, Jr.
1966-1967: Simon H. Trevas
1965-1966: Carl F. Paul, Jr.
1964-1965: A. Donald Mileur
1963-1964: Cyril F. Brickfield
1962-1963: Leo N. Pellerzi
1961-1962: Paul E. Treusch
1960-1961: Laurie M. Streeter
1959-1960: Frank G. Millard
1958-1959: Theodore H. Haas
1957-1958: Larry D. Gilbertson
1956-1957: Robert W. Minor
1955-1956: Bernard B. Smyth
1954-1955: F. Trowbridge vom Baur
1953-1954: Joe E. Moody
1952-1953: F. Joseph Donoghue

A little over 30 years after the establishment of the Federal Bar Association, the District of Columbia Chapter was founded on July 31, 1952. Previously, the Association’s constitution outright sanctioned chapter establishment in the District of Columbia. It was not until the first National convention met in 1949 that an amendment was sponsored, and successfully passed, to omit the prohibitive language. While a chapter in the nation’s capital seemed feasible, there was still apprehension due to the duality of authority and the possibility of overlapping functions. Nonetheless, the advantages of a chapter outweighed doubts, and in 1951 a general overhaul of the constitution provided the means to implement a local DC Chapter. During this constitutional renovation, the pathway to this new chapter was further supported when it was determined compulsory, as a matter of national policy, to provide for chapters to uniformly organize. Thus, a District of Columbia Chapter charter and constitution were proposed, and in July 1952, at an organization meeting held in the Archives Building Auditorium, a motion was passed founding the new chapter.

Tasked with the responsibility to host a program of luncheons, dinners, social meetings, and local symposia, the first chapter function, held in conjunction with the Inter-American Bar Association in September 1952, was a champagne dinner attended by chapter members and highly-ranked associates of the judiciary and diplomatic corps. Additionally, in further accordance with the delineation of functions, the committee of agency representatives was transferred from the National organization to the District Chapter. Perhaps the most notorious event was an FBA and DC Chapter sponsored panel of four speakers on the Bricker Amendment. As a result of the debate, two panelists in support and two panelists in opposition, the Federal Bar Association’s Committee in International Law took a stand and vocally opposed the Revised Senate Joint Resolution.

In 1960, the DC Chapter bolstered its reputation by establishing the Justice Tom C. Clark Award for Outstanding Government Lawyer. The prestigious award recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of career service lawyers employed by the United States Government and U.S. Military in the District of Columbia. The award is named in memory of Justice Clark, who served as Attorney General of the United States, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and as the first Director of the Federal Judicial Center. Paul A. Sweeney from the U.S. Department of Justice was the inaugural recipient in 1960.

The Chapter maintains an illustrious social calendar, and has consequently received innumerable Federal Bar Association awards, including the Association's Chapter Activity Award, Newsletter Recognition Award, and the Ilene and Michael Shaw Younger Lawyer Public Service Grant. With over 650 members, the Chapter continues to provide social and educational events for the DC legal community through a series of Leadership Luncheons, workshops, symposia, and award opportunities open to both members and the public.
Recent Activities of The District of Columbia Chapter:

The Chapter regularly [usually on a monthly basis] sponsors, along with the FBA Immigration Law Section, the Immigration Leadership Leadership Luncheon Series, featuring notable speakers on notable emergent issues in Immigration Law and Practice. The cost of attendance is kept low, and the venue, Tapas Restaurant, in downtown Washington, D.C., is readily accessible.

Also each month, the Chapter co-sponsors, along with judges of our U.S. Federal Bench [D.D.C.] the Admissions and Welcoming Ceremony for newly-admitted attorneys to the bar of the Federal District Court. Normally, Chapter representative[s] offer welcoming remarks, followed by a reception with the presiding judge and the Chapter representatives. This occasion also provides an opportunity for Chapter membership recruitment and retention.

The Chapter has taken a leadership role in bringing SOLACE [Support for Lawyers, Judges and Legal Personnel—All Concern Encouraged] to the Washington, D.C.-area legal community. SOLACE affords a unique opportunity for members of our legal community to respond to sometimes-dire personal needs, such as for help with health-related matters, dealing with so-called “natural disasters” [such as floods, violent weather], and the like.

The Chapter sponsors annually the signal Tom C. Clark Award Ceremony for Outstanding Federal Lawyer, convening a panel of distinguished judges and eminent practitioners, with the award normally presented in the presence of D.D.C. jurists in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the U.S. Courthouse.

The Chapter also participates in the Annual Immigration Ceremony, welcoming newly-naturalized U.S. Citizens, also in concert with the judges of the U.S. Federal Bench of D.D.C.

The Chapter also sponsors or co-spoinsors a broad range of CLE programs and other community service events, in service to the Federal Legal Profession.

Membership recruitment and retention has long been a focus of the Chapter, with members of the D.C. Chapter Board of Directors regularly contacting, on an individual basis, former FBA members of the Chapter, whose membership may have lapsed, and also individually contacting those who have recently become members, to welcome them and encourage their active involvement in Chapter activities.
District of Columbia Chapter's FBA Awards

Chapter Activity Awards
- 2015 (Presidential Achievement)
- 2014 (Presidential Achievement)
- 2013 (Presidential Achievement)
- 2011 (Presidential Achievement)
- 2009 (Presidential Excellence & Presidential Citation)
- 2008 (Presidential Citation)
- 2004 (Presidential Achievement)
- 1978
- 1976
- 1975

Newsletter Recognition Awards
- 2014 (Meritorious)
- 2013 (Meritorious)
- 2012 (Meritorious)
- 2011 (Outstanding)
- 2010 (Meritorious)


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