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NOTHING IMPROPER IN D.C. BAR’S ACTIONS To the editor:On Feb. 6, the board of directors of the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program adopted a conflict-of-interest policy modeled on one recommended, but not required, by the Internal Revenue Service and now being adopted by many nonprofits. The board sought the advice of its counsel on the policy in executive session, just as any prudent board would. There was nothing remarkable in this, despite the story in your Feb. 12 issue [" D.C. Bar Decides Conflict Policy in Private," Page 3]. The policy the board adopted was provided to your reporter before the meeting (a fact not mentioned in your story), was approved without change, and is available to the public. Your insinuation of some link between the adoption of this policy and the D.C. government’s appropriation of $3.2 million for legal services for the poor was irresponsible. If your reporter had only asked, she would have known that the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Program has no connection whatsoever to those funds. James J. Sandman President District of Columbia Bar
NEED ASSOCIATES? THINK MIDDLE-AGED As I was researching an article on age discrimination, I happened upon Alexia Garamfalvi’s article “ Modest Growth for Most Firms” [Oct. 30, 2006, Page 48]. I was surprised to read that some law firms and personnel specialists are concerned about a “talent shortage” in the recruitment of associates. One major reason for this alleged problem may be age discrimination. The only immutable trait shared by humanity is the aging process — persons get older or they die. The working population in the industrial world is graying, yet workers in their 40s, 50s, and 60s today are far healthier and will live longer than their predecessors. Unfortunately, some law firms behave as if only the young can be trained for a particular position. Knowledge and experience are frequently undervalued or ignored. Many firms will not hire individuals past a certain age for jobs they are perfectly capable of performing. Ironically, this is probably illegal under both the D.C. Human Rights Act and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. It may also harm the employers and their clients. Perhaps many of the recent corporate governance scandals would not have occurred if law firms had retained more experienced professionals with a sufficient dose of informed skepticism to detect such wrongdoing. Ethan S. Burger Scholar in Residence School of International Service American University Adjunct Professor Georgetown University Law Center Washington, D.C.

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