Remarks for the Deputy Attorney General D.C. Bar Luncheon Announcement of Assistance to Corporation Counsel Wednesday, March 6, 1996 12:30 p.m. Thank you. It is always an honor to rejoin the D.C. Bar for occasions like this one. The Attorney General means every word of her endorsement of community service. She demonstrates her commitment by devoting several hours a month of her own very precious time: she has adopted a public elementary school in the District and schedules regular visits with the students there. She reads to the children, and has taught them science and history classes. During her most recent visit, she conducted a class on the importance of black history month. Her service is a model for all of us to follow. As Newt Gingrich stated last year: "Real leadership starts by setting the agenda and by being a symbol of what matters. For example, Attorney General Reno going to visit the schools is a very good thing to do. It's symbolically powerful." Thanks to the Attorney General's example, we have broad bipartisan support for our pro bono efforts. As part of the Department's contribution to the District, I am pleased to announce a plan to provide assistance to the District of Columbia Office of Corporation Counsel. Corporation Counsel Chuck Ruff is performing a marvelous service to the District of Columbia by making the most of his many connections to private law firms and federal officials to bring new resources and support to Corporation Counsel. Chuck approached me several months ago with a plea for assistance. After hearing about the inadequate resources and tremendous infrastructure needs of his office, I agreed to explore ways in which the Department could share its resources and expertise to assist Corporation Counsel, consistent with our ethical guidelines and resource limitations. We have identified several means of assistance that I believe will go a long way toward improving Corporation Counsel's ability to provide quality legal services to the District. First, we will help improve Corporation Counsel's office infrastructure. The Department is sending technical experts to review Corporation Counsel's computer systems and provide guidance on the costs and feasibility of installing appropriate software, electronic and voice mail systems, and network servers for personal computers. We are prepared to share the Department's case management systems and related software to enable Corporation Counsel to record and track caseload information more effectively. We are also providing twenty surplus standalone personal computers and a dozen laptop computers to the office. These resources will make all Corporation Counsel attorneys more efficient, and the improvements in the office's computer and communications networks will be particularly valuable management tools. Second, the Department will help improve training for Corporation Counsel attorneys. Our training experts will help design basic and advanced level training courses for Corporation Counsel attorneys. In addition, Corporation Counsel attorneys will be able to enroll in Justice Department training classes and share our extensive training videotape collection. Third, we will encourage Justice Department attorneys to provide time and expertise to Corporation Counsel. In an effort similar to the pro bono program that Mr. Ruff has developed with the law firms -- which he explained to some of you in yesterday's presentation -- we will encourage Justice Department attorneys to take certain cases on a pro bono basis for Corporation Counsel. We will also recruit a small number of attorneys who are interested in gaining litigation experience to take on individual civil litigation matters for the Office, which has a far greater caseload than it can handle. Finally, we can offer guidance in particular cases or areas of need where Justice Department's expertise is strong. These steps will build a partnership between the Justice Department and the Office of Corporation Counsel that will be tremendously beneficial to both partners and to the city. Corporation Counsel will receive badly needed assistance in critical areas, and the federal government will benefit from having a Corporation Counsel that functions well and supports the legal needs of the D.C. government and its citizens. I applaud Chuck for taking the initiative to ask the Department for this assistance and look forward to working with him in establishing this unique partnership. I now want to introduce a person with a long and distinguished career of service to the D. C. government and to this Bar: Corporation Counsel Charles Ruff. NOTE: The Deputy Attorney General may have departed from the prepared text. However, she stands by the text as printed.